20 It was by faith that Isaac promised blessings for the future to his sons, Jacob and Esau.
21 It was by faith that Jacob, when he was old and dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons and bowed in worship as he leaned on his staff.
Hebrews 11:20-21 (NLT)
Welcome to the fourteenth installment on my study of faith from Hebrews 11. This time we are going to look at the other direction of faith. If you have been reading the previous articles, you will be able to understand that faith is needed for us to receive blessings from God. In the above verses, God wants to know that faith is also needed for us to extend blessings to others. God is not just interested to bless us, he wants us to be channels of his blessings. In other words, God wants us to be his representatives in blessing others and in answering the prayers of others. We need faith to do those as well.
“What if I tell you that I am only interested in receiving blessings? I am not interested in helping others.”
First, you can say that now because you have not fully taken up the nature of God. In my previous article entitled “We Are Gods.” I used the analogy of a newborn puppy to show that a newborn puppy is a complete dog even if it does not behave like one. As long as it continues to drink milk, it will grow up. One day it will behave like a dog.
Likewise, you may not have the same desire as God but if you were born again, you are god. You have his nature. As long as you continue to “drink his milk” which mean spending time with God, listening to faith messages and meditating on the Word of God, one day you will exhibit his nature. You will have the desire to give and bless others. You will delight in answering the prayers of others. If you refuse to “drink his milk” you will not be able to receive his blessings in the first place.
Secondly, Jesus said it is more blessed to give than to receive. What does that mean? Think of it this way. When a disaster happened, there will be many victims and aid workers helping them. Which side would you like to be in? Here is more. Which roles will you want to fill?
The one who seeks employment or the one who gives employment?
The one who receives a huge bonus or the one who gives huge bonus?
The one who seeks treatment of a disease or the one who gives the treatment?
The one who receives a million dollars or the one who gives a million dollars?
What is the message here? The giver is always in a better position than the receiver. If you are in the position of giving a million dollars, you must have more than a million dollars in the first place. Not only that, the harvest from seed worth a million dollars is definitely a lot more than that.
In addition, your desire to give will reinforce you faith in receiving greater wealth from God. Let me give you an example. You may be so poor now that you are suffering from hunger. You have nothing to eat. If you have the mentality of a receiver, you will just pray for God to send food to you. However, if you have the mentality of a giver, you will realize that there must be many people who are suffering hunger like you. You will care for them and want to help them even though you are not much better yourself. Then you will resolve to trust God to put you in the position to provide food for 100 poor families. You will have to be quite rich to do that and God will make sure you do.
After you have reached the position where you can afford to feed 100 poor families, you may want to give more and start to use your faith to feed 1,000 poor families. If this process keeps repeating, one day you will be able to feed millions of poor people. The desire to give has helped you to be far richer than you have ever dared to dream of. So, if you want to be exceeding rich, develop the desire to give. Be a giver and you will find yourself far richer than you thought you could.
Let us get back to the above verses. Hebrews 11:20 tells us that it was by faith that Isaac promised blessings for the future to his sons, Jacob and Esau. The blessings from Isaac were not empty words. They worked. They showed results. Jacob got the firstborn blessings through deceit but that did not stop the blessings to work. In fact he got rich not from the inheritance of Isaac’s estate.
When Esau realized that Jacob had got the firstborn blessings, he got so angry that he wanted to kill Jacob. Jacob had to flee and worked for his uncle. The entire family assets were left in Esau’s hands. Jocob got nothing. Yet this did not stop Jacob from getting rich.
41 Whenever the stronger females were in heat, Jacob would place the branches in the troughs in front of the animals so they would mate near the branches,
42 but if the animals were weak, he would not place them there. So the weak animals went to Laban and the strong ones to Jacob.
43 In this way the man grew exceedingly prosperous and came to own large flocks, and maidservants and menservants, and camels and donkeys.
Jacob was not just rich. The Bible says he was exceedingly prosperous and came to own large flocks, and maidservants and menservants, and camels and donkeys. God showed him how to get rich. Jacob started from nothing other than the firstborn blessing and ended up exceedingly prosperous. Where is the firstborn blessing today? It is in Jesus. Jesus is God’s first born. If you are a Christian, you are in him, you have the firstborn blessing. You may have nothing now but as long as you have the firstborn blessing you will be exceedingly prosperous. All you need is to believe.
How about Esau? He got a lesser blessing but it was not bad.
9 “My brother, I have plenty,” Esau answered. “Keep what you have for yourself.”
Genesis 33:9 (NLT)
Esau was not only rich, he had 400 men who could fight and he established his own city, which later grew into a nation. Even the leftover blessings from Isaac can deliver great results because of his faith.
In Hebrews 11: 21, Jacob blessed Joseph’s sons in faith. What do you think will happen to them?
20 So Jacob blessed the boys that day with this blessing: “The people of Israel will use your names when they give a blessing. They will say, ‘May God make you as prosperous as Ephraim and Manasseh.’”
Genesis 48:20 (NLT)
13 Moses said this about the tribes of Joseph: “May their land be blessed by the Lord with the precious gift of dew from the heavens and water from beneath the earth;
14 with the rich fruit that grows in the sun, and the rich harvest produced each month;
15 with the finest crops of the ancient mountains, and the abundance from the everlasting hills;
16 with the best gifts of the earth and its bounty, and the favor of the one who appeared in the burning bush. May these blessings rest on Joseph’s head, crowning the brow of the prince among his brothers.
Deuteronomy 33:13-16 (NLT)
They got the best real estate when the Israelites reclaimed their land. Their reputation was linked to prosperity.
In conclusion, if you want to get the best in life, get in faith to receive and to give. Faith will not only give you the best blessings, it will also enable you to extend the same blessings to your descendents. Your prosperity will outlast you and benefit your descendents as well.