We all want to be blessed and we seize every opportunity to pray for blessings. We do everything we consider needful and helpful for us to be blessed. However, in spite of all these, many do not receive the blessings they are longing for. Can we really do something and be assured of God’s blessings? Certainly! In Psalm 67, the psalmist started by saying “May God be gracious unto us and bless us…” (v. 1). While he was praying for blessings, he gave God the prerogative to release such blessings. He was actually implying that he has no control over the blessings that he will receive. He just has to trust in God’s favour. However, as the psalmist ended, he revealed the secret by which we can all be assured of God’s blessings. He said, “May the people praise you, O God; may all the people praise you. Then the land will yield its harvest, and God, our God, will bless us” (v. 6).
Living a life of praise is the key to being assured of God’s blessings. This is the reason the Book of Psalms ended with the command, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord” (Psalm 150:6). Certainly, those who choose to complain and murmur will not be blessed. The Israelites learned this truth the hard way when they were wandering in the desert on their way to the Promised Land. While God promised to bless them, they were not content with God’s daily provisions. They did not praise him or give glory to his name for his marvellous act of providing manna day after day. Rather, they complained and murmured and were not blessed. They were denied entry into the Promised Land.
Since we do not know what lies ahead and what blessings are waiting for us, it is necessary that we walk by faith and not by sight. The apostle Paul said, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25). To keep in step with the Holy Spirit is to always be sensitive to his leading so that we do not do anything on our own. He directs our steps and all we need to do is to follow. Keeping in step with the Holy Spirit can best be illustrated by the way God led Israel in the desert. The visible symbol of God’s presence while the Israelites were in the desert was the cloud that hovered above the Tabernacle. God led them along the desert so that “whenever the cloud lifted from above the Tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped. At the Lord’s command the Israelites set out, and at his command they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp” (Num. 9:17-18). Whether day or night, the Lord was with them—”the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night” (Ex. 13:21).
The patience of the Israelites in keeping in step with the Holy Spirit was fully tested in their journey to the Promised Land. They made many stops along the way: “When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the Lord’s order and did not set out. Sometimes the cloud was over the tabernacle only a few days…sometimes the cloud stayed only from evening till morning, and when it lifted in the morning, they set out. Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out” (Num. 9:19-22). Those who persevered and obeyed the Lord’s command were able to enter the Promised Land. However, those who murmured and complained failed to enter, for they died in the desert.
As a spiritual family, God will bless us as we continue to offer our sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving to him, even as we live a life of praise. Also, let us keep in step with the Holy Spirit. Since we started, we had made many stops. Recently, the cloud has lifted from our home for 11 years, 2250 Midland Avenue, and is moving closer to our permanent home at 181 Nugget Avenue. It will temporarily stop at the auditorium of Lester B Pearson Collegiate for few months, while our new home is being renovated. Meantime, let us praise the Lord for his marvellous act of giving us a new home. Let us all live a life of praise. Remember: “God will bless us, and all the ends of the earth will fear him” (Psalm 67:7). Praise the Lord!