”Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ.”Ephesians 1:3
I am convinced that the Devil delights in detouring the Lord’s servants from spending more time reflecting upon the manifold blessings of God. Someone once said that, ”The Lord Jesus spreads a large table every day!” There have been some days in ministry that I didn’t even see the table let alone the blessings! Oh, my friend, we have been so blessed! Even through the treacherous times of turbulent turmoil ‑ among family, friends and flock ‑ we are so blessed. And how do we know? Well, the answer is found in that simple chorus that we teach our little children, ”Because the Bible tells me so!”Ephesians 1:3 is just one verification. More often than not, the physical facets of life have clouded the spiritual heritage that I have in the Lord. They have caused me, all too many times, to withdraw and reflect more upon what is happening in the present than pondering upon all that I have in Christ.
As to spiritual blessings, Matthew Henry was a master at recognizing them early in life, as well as throughout life. Henry died in 1714 when only fifty‑two years of age, but his influence thus far has spanned three centuries, chiefly through the Bible Commentary that bears his name. I have read where he began this massive work in November, 1704, and the first volume was published four years later. Four other volumes followed, and by his death he had completed his expositions through the book of Acts. After his death, thirteen scholars worked from his notes to finish the epistles and Revelation. The complete edition of his great work appeared on bookstore shelves in 1811. Matthew Henry’s rich heart and mind were in evidence even at age thirteen. Recorded in his journal, October 18, 1675, under the heading, “A Catalogue of the Mercies of God,” were these words: “For Spiritual Mercies; for the Lord Jesus Christ, His incarnation, life, death, resurrection, ascension and intercession, for grace, pardon, peace, for the Word, the means of grace, for prayer, for good instructions, for the good I have got at any time under the Word, for any succour and help from God under temptation, for brokenness of heart, for an enlightening Lord Jesus, I bless Thee for Thy Word, for good parents, for good education, I give Thee thanks, that I am Thine and will be Thine. I think it was three years ago that I began to be convinced, hearing a sermon by my Father on Psalm 51:17, ‘the sacrifices of God are a broken Spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.’ I think it was this that melted me, afterwards, I began to inquire after Christ. “What Matthew Henry had disciplined himself to do early in life was to ponder often upon the spiritual blessings that were his in Christ.
For years I had on my shelf some of the works of F.E. Marsh, one of which included a list of some of God’s spiritual blessings for his children: An acceptance that can never be questioned (Eph. 1:6); an inheritance that can never be lost ( I Pet. 1:3‑5); a deliverance that can never be excelled (2 Cor. 1:10); a grace that can never be limited (2 Cor. 12:9); a hope that can never be disappointed (Heb. 6:18‑19); a bounty that can never be withdrawn (Col. 3:21‑13); a joy that need never be diminished (John 15:11); a nearness to God that can never be reversed (Eph. 2:13); a peace that can never be disturbed (John 14:27); a righteousness that can never be tarnished (2 Cor. 5:21); and a salvation that can never be canceled (Heb. 5:9).It was A. W. Tozer who said, ”The goodness of God is the drive behind all the blessings He daily bestows upon us.” Friend, we need to step back from time to time, look up, and realize that the Goodness of God is acting on our behalf every day! Yes, even today!!!! We must not allow the Devil to detour us from reflecting “daily” upon the manifold blessings of God. The “table” of His spiritual blessings has been spread, we must but come. And as we come, let us do it with a song of gratitude in our hearts.
When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
when you are discouraged, thinking all is lost.
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
and it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, ev’ry doubt will fly,
and you will be singing as the days go by.
When you look at others with their lands and gold,
think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings money cannot buy,
your reward in heaven, nor your home on high!
So, amid the conflict, whether great or small,
do not be discouraged, God is over all,
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
help and comfort give you to your journey’s end
Count your many blessings, name them one by one;
count your many blessings, see what God hath done.
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.
‑J. Oatman, Jr.