I feel sharp pains in my soul whenever I listen to anything on hope. I’m still on the road to recovery when it comes to anything about hope that promises good. I heard a sermon today based on Psalms 128. It talks about the one who walks in obedience will experience God’s blessing. Blessing interns of family life.
The one who fears the Lord that is walk in obedience according to his ways is promised blessing. Blessing comes in the form of prospering in his work and that pours down to peace and abundant life in the family. That’s how it reads basically.
The sermon was good. No made up doctrines there. But I find it lacking some form of realism. Although the general belief stands, with obedience comes blessings, what about situations when obedience is met with hardships and something other than blessing?
Of course not all the Psalms were written with only this perspective. We also find that in the bible, not all obedience is rewarded with blessings. Hebrews 11:36-39 is a good example. If the whole picture of the bible is taken into account, we would get a more realistic picture of what we generally face in life. While obedience would generally merit blessing, in the real world, sometimes it’s not true. If we just stick with the math equation that says obedience=blessing then we are not really being faithful in relaying the message to people. I find that sermons would be better if the question of deterred blessing comes into the message.
So, what kind of message would come out of this if this question would be incorporated in the sermon? While the psalm relays a fact, that obedience merits blessing, is the motive behind the call of obedience the promise of blessing? If that is the case then our obedience is only something fickle. Something conjured with the thought of only receiving something in return. I would reckon that the psalmist was trying to instill the belief in obedience. Our love for God alone should be the prerequisite. But in that devotion to God, benefits will come.
Take for example a relationship. We don’t love someone for the sake of getting something in return. If that is the case then our love comes with a notion of false motives. We “love” because we want returns to our love. Sure, love should be returned. But for love to return back love it must be in itself pure. It is so with help as well. If we help with the notion of the other repaying back our help then in some ways we haven’t been sincere in our acts of helping. We have other motives behind our love.
So I would say that the psalmist was advocating the outcome of devotion. We are called to love God, and what comes with it, spills out of our love for God are blessings. But that should not deter us; receiving blessing.
It’s sort of like saying, “I love my wife period. I’d even die for her. And the amazing part of this my devotion for her is that she would do the same thing for me as well.” if our devotion is true, then, some form of outcome will come out of it.