There are people in our lives who have had a much bigger impact upon us than they ever realized. They say or do something that resonates deeply within us, without them even having a clue that they have done it.
Such was the case for Carolyn, a woman who spoke to a roomful of prison inmates and outside volunteers (like me) around twenty years ago in DeQuincy, Louisiana.
First, she told the inmates with a warm, loving smile that God loves them, and that He keeps His jewels under lock and key. Then she went on to teach them about some of the “Blessings of Abraham” written about in Deuteronomy 28.
28 “Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. 2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God:
3 “Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.
4 “Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks.
5 “Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.
6 “Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.
7 “The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.
8 “The Lord will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you. Deuteronomy 28:1-8 NKJV
These blessings were among those generously offered to the Israelites as they were about to enter the Promised Land. They were given these tremendous blessings because they were descendants of Abraham, and were a people called out to be a kingdom of priests to the world. What terrific blessings! Who would ever want to turn these down!
The problem is, there was a catch. The blessings were conditional upon the recipient “diligently obeying” the voice of the Lord.
The blessings sounded wonderful, but none of the inmates or volunteers from the outside listening that day could have laid claim to the conditional promise of having “diligently obeyed” the voice of God. We had all fallen well short of such a condition. Second, we were Gentiles, not descendants of Abraham, so these great blessings would not belong to us, anyway.
That is when Carolyn’s resonating good news came in! She told us about Paul’s letter to the Galatians, which tells us that Jesus became a curse for us disobedient Gentiles so that we, too, might receive these tremendous blessings of Abraham.
13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Galatians 3:13-14 NKJV
Jesus hung upon the tree, the cross, to bear all our sins and disobedience, and took upon Himself the curse that we deserve. By doing so, He has brought all believers in the entire world under the blessing of Abraham, all who have or will receive the loving and generous sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Which of the above blessings of Abraham appeals to you the most right now? May the Lord bless you with each one of these as you seek to follow Him.
Who in your life has been a blessing to you without even realizing it? Is it too late to let them know?
Do you know anyone who is currently incarcerated? God seeks out each one of them in love and is calling to them with an offer of salvation and forgiveness. Remember them in your prayers and consider writing a letter of encouragement.