Biblically speaking, a blessing is a gift or favor bestowed on us by God.
Do you like to be blessed? I sure do! Being blessed makes us feel loved and valued. It’s great to have blessings from our friends and family, but it’s even better to receive blessings from God! We all want God to bless us, right? When He blesses us, we feel His presence and know He is near.
So how do we receive maximum blessings from the Father? Is there anything we can do to earn blessings? As a matter of fact, there is!
As children of God, we believe that the entire Word of God, from Genesis to Revelation, was given to us for our learning and instruction. Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness (doing what is right in God’s eyes), that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. In His Word, God promises to bless us… when we are obedient to Him. Take a look below at Deuteronomy 28:1-14 and Leviticus 26:3-12.
“And if you faithfully obey the voice of the LORD your God, being careful to do ALL His commandments that I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the LORD your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out. The LORD will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you. They shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways. The LORD will command the blessing on you in your barns and in all that you undertake. And He will bless you in the land that the LORD your God is giving you. The LORD will establish you as a people Holy to Himself, as He has sworn to you, IF you keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in His ways. And all the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they shall be afraid of you. And the LORD will make you abound in prosperity, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your livestock and in the fruit of your ground, within the land that the LORD swore to your fathers to give you. The LORD will open to you His good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands. And you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. And the LORD will make you the head and not the tail, and you shall only go up and not down, IF you obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, being careful to do them, and if you do not turn aside from ANY of the words that I command you today, to the right hand or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.” Deuteronomy 28:1-14
IF you walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them, THEN I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Your threshing shall last to the time of the grape harvest, and the grape harvest shall last to the time for sowing. And you shall eat your bread to the full and dwell in your land securely. I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid. And I will remove harmful beasts from the land, and the sword shall not go through your land. You shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall chase ten thousand, and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. I will turn to you and make you fruitful and multiply you and will confirm my covenant with you. You shall eat old store long kept, and you shall clear out the old to make way for the new. I will make my dwelling among you, and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people. Leviticus 26:3-12
Isn’t that amazing? What wonderful blessings He has for those who obey Him! God says that He will confirm His covenant with us, will not hate us and will walk among us when we obey Him. Notice though, the “if, then” statements. Whether we receive blessings or not depends on us. Blessings are dependent on our obedience. “If” we will obey, “then” He will bless us. It doesn’t say if we just “love Him with our thoughts/mind” that He will bless us. We need to love Him with our actions. We have to be “careful to do ALL His commandments” and “not turn aside from ANY of the words He command us.”
Let’s look at some other verses that talk about blessings. Notice the connections between doing His commandments and receiving the blessings.
Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses My servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. Joshua 1:7
Tell the righteous that it shall be well with them, for they shall eat the fruit of their deeds. Isaiah 3:10
But this command I gave them: ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.’ Jeremiah 7:23
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night. Psalms 1:1-3
All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep His covenant and His testimonies. Psalms 25:10
But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep His covenant and remember to do His commandments. Psalms 103:17-18
Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in His commandments! His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever. Psalms 112:1-3
Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD! Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with their whole heart, who also do no wrong, but walk in His ways! You have commanded Your precepts to be kept diligently. Psalms 119:1-4
My son, do not forget My teaching, but let your heart keep My commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. The LORD’s curse is on the house of the wicked, but He blesses the dwelling of the righteous. Proverbs 3:1-2, 33
Blessings are on the head of the righteous, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence. Proverbs 10:6
Whoever despises the Word brings destruction on himself, but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded. Proverbs 13:13
Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law. Proverbs 29:18
But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. James 1:25
And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do what pleases Him. 1 John 3:22
From the verses above, we see that God grants fruitfulness, blessings, success, love, faithfulness, length of days, life, peace and rewards when we keep His commandments and walk in righteousness (doing what is right in God’s eyes). He even says that He will give us what we ask for when we keep His commandments and do what pleases Him! Can you imagine an earthly life with those kind of blessings? I can! My family and I are living these blessing today because of our obedience to His instructions!
Abraham was blessed because He obeyed God’s voice. God made him great among the people and gave him wealth and status. God took care of his every need. God multiplied his offspring and he became the father of God’s chosen people. The Messiah came from his family lineage! He even blessed Abraham’s offspring because of Abraham’s obedience. If only we had the heart of Abraham!
“And in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” Genesis 22:18
“I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands. And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.” Genesis 26:4-5
“Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness (doing what is right in God’s eyes, keeping His laws) and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has promised him.” Genesis 18:17-19
God’s plan is to bless us in this life so that other’s will see our blessings and want to know our God. That was His plan with Israel. He wanted Israel to be so prosperous and wise, that all nations looked to them and their God for wisdom and guidance. Sadly, Israel failed. God gave them two choices: Blessings or curses. They chose curses.
The second part of Deuteronomy 28 focuses on the curses for disobedience. In contrast to fourteen verses of blessings, there are fifty-three verses of curses. To save space I am going to bullet point some of them for you. (Please read Deuteronomy 28 and Leviticus 26 on your own to get the full effect of God’s wrath on those who disobey Him.)
- Curses, confusion and frustration in all that you undertake to do until you are destroyed and perish quickly on account of the evil of your deeds.
- Pestilence will stick to you until He has consumed you off the land.
- He will strike you with wasting disease and with fever, inflammation and fiery heat, and with drought and with blight and with mildew.
- Rain of your land will be powder. From heaven dust shall come down on you until you are destroyed.
- He will cause you to be defeated before your enemies.
- Your dead body shall be food for all birds of the air and for the beasts of the earth.
- He will strike you with madness and blindness and confusion of mind, and you shall grope at noonday, as the blind grope in darkness, and you shall not prosper in your ways.
- You shall be only oppressed and robbed continually.
- You shall betroth a wife, but another man shall ravish her. You shall build a house, but you shall not dwell in it. You shall plant a vineyard, but you shall not enjoy its fruit.
- A nation that you have not known shall eat up the fruit of your ground and of all your labors, and you shall be only oppressed and crushed continually, so that you are driven mad by the sights that your eyes see.
- He will strike you on the knees and on the legs with grievous boils of which you cannot be healed, from the sole of your foot to the crown of your head.
- You shall carry much seed into the field and shall gather in little, for the locust shall consume it.
- The sojourner who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower.
- If you are not careful to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and awesome Name, the LORD your God, then the LORD will bring on you and your offspring extraordinary afflictions, afflictions severe and lasting, and sicknesses grievous and lasting.
- Your life shall hang in doubt before you. Night and day you shall be in dread and have no assurance of your life.
Wow! Those are some serious penalties for not obeying His commandments! God was certainly not kidding when He demanded obedience. God was patient with Israel for a long time. He gave them many opportunities to repent, but Israel eventually ended up receiving all of these curses when they went into captivity!
Many of the above curses are worded for the way of life back then, but think about how some of those things affect us today – such as infidelity, kidnapping, sex trafficking, pestilence on our crops, drought, famine, oppression, illness, disease, depression, anxiety, sickness, theft, confusion, doubt, etc. Do those sound familiar? We are living those same curses today! As a nation, we are disobedient to God’s laws and we are reaping the curses that God promised to those who disobeyed Him!
The Father gives each of us a choice. We can live by the world’s standards or we can live by His standards. His ways are not the world’s ways. His ways are higher and better. His ways bring blessings. The world’s ways bring curses. Each one of us needs to make a choice to either serve the Father or to serve the world.
“See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, IF you obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, and the curse, IF you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known.” Deuteronomy 11:26-28
Seek the LORD while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near; let the wicked forsake His way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that He may have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9
What are the Father’s ways? How do we know how to live a life pleasing to the Father? He tell us very clearly in His Word. He lays it all out in black and white (and red if your Bible has the words of Yeshua printed in red). He gives us all the rules that we need to live by to have a blessed life. His rules are for our safety and protection. His rules keep us healthy. His rules teach us how to love Him and how to love others – the two greatest commandments. The rest of the commandments hang on/fall under those two categories. His rules are pure and holy. His rules are eternal and forever. His rules are His own ways – and they are not hard!
Look at it this way… if you were given a short list of things to do that would bring you closer to God and bring you more blessings, peace and joy than you could imagine, would you do them? Of course you would! Who wouldn’t want that? Well… guess what? God gave us that very list!
God is the same forever. One of the key biblical aspects of God is that He doesn’t change. So we can trust that He will bless us when we obey. He promises us blessing upon blessing for obedience. Unfortunately though, He promises us curses for disobedience too. He is our loving parent who rewards good behavior with blessings and punishes bad behavior with curses.
In addition to the above curses, there are other punishments that we receive when we reject and disobey the Father’s commandments: our prayers are an abomination to Him, we are eaten by the sword, we are consumed, good is kept from us, disaster comes upon us, our wickedness will be upon us and we will be paid back for the wrong we have done. Wow! Talk about serious penalties!
If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination. Proverbs 28:9
If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken. Isaiah 1:19-20
But rebels and sinners shall be broken together, and those who forsake the LORD shall be consumed. Isaiah 1:28
Your iniquities have turned these away, and your sins have kept good from you. Jeremiah 5:25
Hear, O earth; behold, I am bringing disaster upon this people, the fruit of their devices, because they have not paid attention to My words; and as for My law, they have rejected it. Jeremiah 6:19
The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself. Ezekiel 18:20
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality. Colossians 3:23-25
Yeshua came to the earth to show us how to live a holy (set-apart), righteous, law-abiding life that reaps blessings. Many people believe that He took all the curses away so that there is nothing to worry about – but that is far from truth. He offers us forgiveness and takes away the death penalty for our sins when we repent, or turn away, from them. (Remember that sin, as defined by the Bible, is lawlessness.) But if we continue to live in our sin/lawlessness, then we are still getting cursed because of our lawless behavior. In order to be free from the curses of lawlessness, we have to turn from our wicked ways and obey the instructions the Father gave us in His Word. Thank goodness when we believe in Yeshua Messiah, His Spirit gives us the strength to be free from sin that leads to death, so we can obey the law of God that leads to freedom, life and blessings.
Let me share our personal story with you. I (Carmela) thought I had a good life. I have great parents, even though they divorced when I was 12. I have never been without food or clothes. I have a college education and have had good jobs. I am married to a great man and have two wonderful children. I have struggles like everybody else, but I thought my life was as blessed as it could be in this corrupt world.
Praise God, He gave me an amazing step-dad who is a pastor. His passion for the Word was contagious and ultimately fueled my fire for a closer relationship with God. That fire led me on the journey of a lifetime!
Several years ago, while reading through the Bible together as a family, we felt God calling us to be obedient to His Commandments – all of them – the food laws, the agricultural laws, the Sabbath, the Biblical Holy Days, etc. What happened after we started doing things His way was amazing! Our health physical improved, our mental health improved, my son’s autism improved, God gave us wisdom on natural healing, our marriage improved, our faith grew stronger and our peace and joy increased!
If that wasn’t enough, when we closed our car dealership in obedience to the Sabbath command, we really started to feel His Presence. Closing on the Sabbath was a huge leap of faith for us. Saturday is one of the busiest days in the car business, but we wanted to please God and do what was right in His eyes. Starting January 1, 2019, we were no longer open on Saturday. We thought it would make life tough, but that’s when the major blessings started rolling in: Business was steady the entire year – no bad months. We sold over and above our needed monthly quota of cars – in fewer days. The cars we are buying are in good shape. Our employees are being blessed. God even gave us another business that we didn’t even ask for – just to bless us for our faithfulness! But that’s not all! The best part is that we FEEL His Presence. We KNOW He is near. We KNOW He is taking care of us. We see our prayers answered daily. We are experienced peace, joy and love like we have never experienced them before. Don’t get me wrong, our life is not perfect. We have bad days just like everybody else, and we fail often to live up to His standards. But we know, without a doubt, that we are being blessed for our willingness to be obedient. It has humbled us. It brings tears to our eyes. How can a God that is so big care so much and feel so near?
Sound crazy? It’s not. It’s not just “all in our head.” There are people all over the world who are humbling themselves and choosing to be obedient to God’s instructions. They are also experiencing His abundant blessings. Ask anyone in the Torah community and they will tell you the same thing. It is available to ANYONE and EVERYONE! It’s God’s plan for each of us – for us to humble ourselves and draw near to Him so that He can draw near to us. James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” We draw near to Him first by cleansing ourselves (repenting) of our sin and turning away from our sin/lawlessness (not doing it anymore). We purify our hearts in love and give Him our obedience. THEN He draws near to us. He wants to bless us. He wants our light to shine before men so that they see our good works (obedience) and glorify our Father in Heaven. He keeps His promises.
So what do you choose? Blessings and life or curses and death?
“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. IF you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in His ways, and by keeping His commandments and His statutes and His rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. But if you heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying His voice and holding fast to Him, for He is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Please note: Although I may not completely agree with the entire philosophy of my resources, the specific content shared has been reviewed and is found to be Biblically sound.
Video: If You Diligently Obey, by Rabbi Steve Berkson, MTOI