Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
303-665-6105
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Lent 1 – February 17 – Deut. 26:1-11 – “Recognize God’s Blessings”

Introduction:  Grace be to you and peace, from God our Father, and from our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Our text is the Old Testament Lesson just read, from Deut. 26.  We begin with prayer. 

Dear fellow disciples of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ: 

  • One of the most difficult things in life is to actually “see” and “recognize” God’s blessings.  Our tendency is to believe that our ability to work, our wise management of life, our cleverness, is the direct cause of the “quality of life” that we’re able to experience.  At least this is the case when life is going good for us and we’re succeeding and doing well and enjoying life.  However, when things go bad for us we tend not to blame ourselves, but rather others around us, or nature, or “bad luck,” or perhaps in our darker moments, even God. 
  • This mentality assumes a lot – particularly that all of the good things around us are just a part of “nature,” part of what we deserve.  This makes it virtually impossible to identify anything as “a blessing from God.”  Indeed, to the degree that we are infected with this kind of “self-determining delusion,” to that degree we find it impossible to “RECOGNIZE GOD’S BLESSINGS.”  And if this is the case, then we will hardly be thankful to God, and will likely not give Him much praise and worship.
  • If this is the case with us, it certainly does not change the reality that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.”  [James 1:17]  All that it does is make us ingrates and malcontents, or worse yet pompous and arrogant.  And we’ve all had “dealings” with such people – stuck on themselves, attributing greatness to themselves, and demeaning everyone who has less than them as inferior.  Lord, have mercy!  Surely, this is not how we want to be – toward God, our great Benefactor, nor toward others.  So it is essential that we “RECOGNIZE GOD’S BLESSINGS.” 

 

I.  We Must First Remember That We All Start Out With Nothing [Like Abraham, We Too Are “Wandering Arameans” – few in number, poor, enslaved in sin]

 

Text:  “You shall make response before the LORD your God, ‘A wandering Aramean was my father.  And he went down into Egypt and sojourned there, few in number, and there he became a nation, great, mighty and populous.  And the Egyptians treated us harshly and humiliated us and laid on us hard labor.”

 

1 Timothy 6:7  “We brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.”

 

Statement:  It is not that difficult to remember back to the early days of our lives – first when we were entirely dependent upon our parents for life, and all of life’s necessities, and then when we started out as young adults, taking care of ourselves.  We had little to nothing – and yes, we worked, but no harder than others, and less hard than some poor people in other parts of the world who work every day just to have food and survive.  We can look around and see that many young people are in the same circumstances today. 

 

And of course we have lived our entire lives struggling with the enslaving forces of our sinful nature – and surely we recognize that apart from God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness, there would be no hope for any of us.  So how is it that we have come to know and believe God’s great love for us, and that there is any good to be found in our lives?  It is purely the gift of God – just as all of our possessions, all of the things that we are able to enjoy in life “come down from above, from the Father of lights.”  Is this not what we assert when we sing the common “doxology” – “praise God from Whom all blessings flow?”

 

Application:  So what do you say?  Is it not proper for us to “RECOGNIZE GOD’S BLESSINGS,” and to acknowledge the reality – that we are utterly and completely dependent upon God for every good thing in life?  And though we have often failed at this, and have been arrogant and presumptuous in our thinking:

 

II.  God Has Blessed Us With His Gracious Love In Christ Jesus – With Forgiveness, Life, And Salvation

 

Text:  “Then we cried to the LORD, the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression.  And the LORD brought  us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great deeds of terror, with signs and wonders.  And He brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.”

 

Statement:  All of us know what God has done for us in Christ Jesus, how He is the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world, so that in Him we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins!  We know that we only have a future because He has determined that “he that believes the Son has everlasting life . . . and shall not come into condemnation, but has passed from death to life.”  This is certainly not something that we earned or accomplished, or ever could have done on our own, but rather “by grace you are saved through faith, and that, not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” 

 

Application:  It is this gracious mercy of God, His gift of salvation, that delivers us from our “affliction, toil, and oppression” under the condemnation of sin.  It is His gracious salvation alone that brings us “out of the land of bondage” and into His own blessed freedom and life.  Surely we RECOGNIZE all of this – and embrace it!  And so we also give all thanks and praise, all glory and honor to God!

 

Transition:  But all of the other good things that we enjoy come to us in the same way, by God’s gracious goodness and mercy, for:

 

III.  All That We Have Comes From His Blessing And Love

 

James 1:17  “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.”

 

Psalm 145:14-16  “The LORD upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.  The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food in due season.   You open Your hand; You satisfy the desire of every living thing.”

 

Statement:  So whether we recognize it or not, everything that we have comes from the hand of God – He opens His hand and satisfies the desire of every living thing.”  Yes, we still receive these blessings through work – which is an incredible blessing, as those without work can attest.  However, it is still His hand which so richly blesses our labor – and it is a huge blessing to “recognize” this, to “RECOGNIZE GOD’S BLESSINGS.”  For then we are also blessed to be spared from arrogance, haughtiness, pride, and foolishness!

 

Application:  It is hard to properly regard and describe how blessed it is for people to live in humble faith and trust in God, to genuinely pray “Give us this day our daily bread.”  Certainly the contrasting way of life, the attitudes, demeanor, and wickedness of the proud and arrogant who “earn” their daily bread, helps us to see the blessedness of those who “RECOGNIZE GOD’S BLESSINGS.”  And so God provides and encourages this blessedness – for our great good and benefit! 

 

Transition:  And those who have been thus blessed by God, to “RECOGNIZE” His blessing, also know that:

 

IV.  Surely We Should Thank And Praise Him, And Faithfully Worship Him, And Live To Please Him

 

Text:  “And behold, now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground, which You, O LORD, have given me.”

 

Statement:  Such a prayer, and such an offering, which is well-pleasing to God, can only be made by a humble, sincere, grateful person who “RECOGNIZES GOD’S BLESSINGS” and understands that we have nothing other than what God in His goodness has bestowed upon us! 

 

Application:  Such a believer, a humble and repentant person who trusts in God alone, also is eager and joyful to worship God, to thank and praise Him!


Conclusion:  Through His Word God enables us to grasp reality – that He is God and we are His beloved creatures, whom He has loved and redeemed; and that the cosmos belongs to Him, and its fruits are His gifts to us as well!  Those who “RECOGNIZE GOD’S BLESSINGS” rejoice to humbly return thanks to God, and to do so with offerings of the first-fruits of their labors.  God grant such blessedness to each of us, Amen.

 

Votum:  And the peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in the true faith, which is in Christ Jesus, even unto life everlasting, Amen.