and all these blessings shall come on you and overtake you, if you will listen to the voice of YHWH your God. Deuteronomy 28:2
Overtake – There is no magic formula. In a world dominated by self-reliance and self-control, realizing that there is no magic formula is critically important. It’s so easy to be seduced into thinking that I can manipulate God into delivering His blessings when I want them. That’s the problem with the “name it and claim it” crowd. They believe that they control the heavenly rate of return. They don’t understand the Hebrew verb nasag (to overtake).
Take another look at this verse. It implies that the blessings are not under your command. God’s blessings are designed to overtake you when you are doing something else. In other words, blessings arrive at their own rate when you are being obedient to God’s voice in other matters. If you pursue the blessing, you focus on the wrong objective. You don’t control the speed of the approaching blessing. Your job is to stand in the path of the coming heavenly cargo. How do you do that? By obeying God’s voice in all the trivial things of living.
Does that mean that there is no place for self-interest? Not at all! It is always in my best interest to do God’s will. In fact, God wants me to do what is in my own self-interest, because when I do, I am aligned with His interests too. There would be no reason for God to tell me that He intends His blessings to overtake me unless He knew that I would be motivated by the result. Self-interest is perfectly scriptural. Of course, self-interest is not the same as selfish interest. The difference is this. Self-interest is being motivated by what is ultimately best for me. Since my ultimate best is to be in perfect harmony with my Maker, I submit to His instructions about what is the right thing to do. In other words, I can’t rely on my own perception of self-interest because I know that my perspective has been tainted with selfish interest, and selfish interest (even though it might appear to be the best way to achieve my goal) always moves me off the center of the target. Consequently, selfish interest causes God’s blessings to miss me.
Since I know that I can’t trust my own perceptions (remember that Proverb about not leaning on your own understanding), I have to rely on God to tell me how to act in my own self-interest. Don’t get confused. So often the reason that we rebel and resist is that we think God’s instructions are opposed to our self-interest. We hear the “deny yourself” sermons and we assume that God’s ways are tough and restrictive. What we fail to realize is that Jesus wants us to deny our selfish interest, the things that stand in opposition to God’s true instructions about the way to get in the center of the target. Selfish interest keeps me out of the bull’s eye. The paradox of selfish interest is that I think I am getting the most out of life when the truth is that I am standing outside the focus of God’s blessings.
Do you want your best possible life? Of course you do. Then put aside your own methodology for getting there. You don’t know what you’re doing anyway. You can’t see the biggest picture. Put yourself in the path of God’s blessings, not by seeking the blessing itself but by doing what God tells us to do in His instruction book for living. Then watch out! Blessings are likely to sneak up on you out of nowhere and run you down.
Topical Index: Blessings