February 9, Friday

 Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Freely Given”

Genesis 44:1-2

Then he commanded the steward of his house, “Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man’s money in the mouth of his sack, 2 and put my cup, the silver cup, in the mouth of the sack of the youngest, with his money for the grain.” And he did as Joseph told him.

Joseph is being tricky. He is purposely trying to get Benjamin in trouble so that he can see his brothers protect Benjamin. In a sense, he wants to see if his brothers will treat Benjamin in a similar way to how they had treated Joseph before he ended up in Egypt. Still, Joseph returned their money and gave them more food than they paid for, though he secretly put his silver cup in Benjamin’s pack. All this made his brothers nervous and made them wonder what Joseph was really up to.

Though Joseph was actually being tricky, in our culture, we can often be skeptical when someone tries to give us something for free. We feel like there is a catch. At Symphony Church, we often do something called “servant evangelism,” where we hand out granola bars or water bottles to people as a simple act of service; yet, many people are skeptical, thinking there must be a catch. But there isn’t—we just want to bless them! But still, many people think we must be up to something, that we are being tricky in some way.

This attitude can even bleed into our relationship with God. Free things make us nervous, so we do not accept free grace. We often operate under an attitude of needing to earn this grace. We think, “It can’t really be free!” But it is! Unlike Joseph, God is not tricky. He does not give us grace in a self-interested way. He gives grace at the cost of His Son. And even more, the Bible tells us that God gives us “every spiritual blessing” (Ephesians 1:3). He gives us more than we could imagine. Though Joseph was being tricky when he gave his brothers more than enough food, God freely gives us more than enough.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, that You freely bless me with every spiritual blessing. Many times, I find it difficult to accept this, yet still You give and give to me. Lord, You truly are a wonderful Father who gives every good and perfect gift. May I continually give thanks for all that You continually give to me. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Numbers 29


Lunch Break Study 

Read Ephesians 1:3-4: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.

Questions to Consider

  1. In this passage, what is the reason Paul is blessing God?
  2. What do you think it means that God has blessed us “with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places”?
  3. What is the end result of receiving these blessings from God?

Notes

  1. Because God has blessed us! Similar to how John says that “we love because God first loved us” (1 John 4:19), we bless God because He first blessed us! Our worship of God is an overflow of the abundant blessings that God has poured out on us. Let’s worship God today because of the immense blessing He continually pours out on us!
  2. First off, we need to recognize that the grounding of these blessings is “in Christ.” We receive this blessing because we are in Christ. Jesus, as God’s beloved Son, is blessed by God because of this immense love God has for His Son. Similarly, in Christ, we are called “children of God,” so this spiritual blessing is similar to that immense love God has for Jesus. Jesus, in the heavenly places, is eternally loved by His Father and we enter into this great love relationship as we are called children of God. As children, we receive more blessing than we could ever imagine! We receive perfect, eternal love.
  3. We are transformed! We may read this and think, Oh, Paul says that we need to be holy and blameless. Suddenly, this leads us to think we are only loved by God when we actually are holy and blameless, as if this is something we need to do. But that is not what Paul is saying! He is saying that as we receive this blessing, it demonstrates that God has called us His own and this results in us being transformed. We become holy and blameless not by our strength but by receiving the blessings from God.

Evening Reflection

Tonight, spend some time in thanksgiving. God has given you blessing upon blessing, though often we do not notice or we take it for granted. Let’s consciously thank God for all that He has given us.

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