The Blessing of the Lord
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

Open your Bibles to Proverbs, chapter 10. In our study of the book of Proverbs, we have spent quite a bit of time in the second section, beginning with chapter 10 and ending with verse 16 of chapter 22. We have followed the suggestion of selecting a principle of truth presented in one of the proverbs and then gathering the other proverbs which illustrate that principle around it for the sake of emphasis. Then we discovered a number of proverbs which did not lend themselves to that sort of treatment because they were individual proverbs which we referred to as selected texts. We use that phrase because through the years they have been used as special texts for special sermons which men of God have been led of the Lord to bring, to the blessing of the hearer.

I remember the first time I ever used the text that we are now going to use. I used it at a funeral service about 25 years ago, and as I have been meditating upon it—not the same way that we used it at the funeral service necessarily—I have discovered that the truth of it is just as real now as it was then. Proverbs, chapter 10, verse 22:

Proverbs 10:

22 The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.

I would like to read the words again so that they might be firmly fixed in your mind:

Proverbs 10:

22 The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.

From time to time when we bring you certain passages of Scripture from the Word, we call to your attention other renderings of the verse that we might make emphasis upon certain truths which are not made in the King James version. We try to use the word renderings because in most instances these to which we refer are not actually translations. In the interest of accuracy we like to emphasize that fact and suggest that they are renderings of the actual text, which bring out truths that are not always found in the King James text, and in some instances is an improvement, believe it or not, on that text itself.

The reason for our presenting other renderings in this particular verse is the last statement: “and he addeth no sorrow with it.” The first part of the verse is pretty well understood to everybody, but the last statement is a source of discussion among Bible scholars.

I would like for you to notice the Living Bible rendering of the verse which says: “The LORD'S blessing is our greatest wealth. All our work adds nothing to it.” I would like for you to notice that statement, “all our work adds nothing to it.” You may say that it is too much of a paraphrase. “Where in the world do you get, ‘all our work adds nothing to it,' out of ‘He addeth no sorrow to it'?” You don't get it out of that. You recognize that there are two manuscripts, at least, from which this particular portion of the book of Proverbs is translated. Those manuscripts each have a different word in the latter part of the text. We will be calling your attention to what that word is by and by.

If you follow one of the manuscripts you will come out with this rendering here: “and all our work adds nothing to it.” If you follow the manuscripts which the Vulgate followed, from which our King James is taken, the manuscripts which the Septuagint followed from which the Vulgate was taken, you come out with the King James version which reads:

Proverbs 10:

22 The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.

You may be wondering which manuscript is correct. I don't know, but both truths are correct, and I like the way the Amplified rendering presents it, playing it safe, presenting both translations because both translations are true. We read in the Amplified : “The blessing of the LORD makes us truly rich. He adds no sorrow to it, neither does toiling increase it.” You will notice in the last part of the verse the two thoughts are included: “He adds no sorrow to it, and toiling is not going to increase it.”

Having clarified the verse as far as the actual translation is concerned, I would like for us to pick it apart a bit here, digest it and get as much out of it as we possibly can. The first thing that comes to my attention is a reference to the phrase, “the blessing of the LORD.” If I were to ask you, “What blessing is he talking about in the statement, ‘the blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich'?”, I suppose that nearly all of us would say, “If I had to pick one blessing above every other blessing, I would have to say the experience of salvation, God's redeeming grace. It makes us truly rich. It brings no regrets in relation to it, and all of your work can add nothing to it.” The text does not select one blessing to emphasize, so I would like to suggest to you as we consider this phrase, “the blessing of the LORD,” that we look at it from a twofold standpoint.

The Source of Spiritual Blessing

First, let's consider it spiritually. Turn to the book of Ephesians, chapter 1, and notice a familiar verse of Scripture, in verse 3:

Ephesians 1:

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

You will notice the phrase, “all spiritual blessings.” God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, has blessed us with every spiritual blessing that we will ever need. You will notice as you look at that verse that the word places is in italics, and that means it is not in the original text. I think in this instance we are better off without it because people who are not Bible oriented immediately think about receiving the blessing in a heavenly place up above the skies somewhere, but that isn't the thought of the verse. If we had to put a word in there, we might put the word relationship . “He has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly relationship in Christ,” or, we might say, “in the heavenlies,” in the light of what you find in the last part of the first chapter of the Ephesian letter, where you are told that when Christ was raised from the dead and raised up to sit at the right hand of God, you were raised up there with Him. That is the source of every spiritual blessing we have.

Beloved, you may not at the moment be enjoying, in the sense that you are in possession of your spiritual blessings, but God has blessed you with them. He has made them available to you, and if there is any spiritual blessing that you don't have, get it. God has already written the check for it, and all you need to do is cash the check. The blessing of the Lord makes you rich, and it adds no sorrow to it.

He Provides Material Blessings

We would not be doing justice to the text if we did not consider these blessings from a material standpoint because I personally believe that our God is interested in our material needs as well as in our spiritual needs. Many people don't realize that. They think that God wants to bless spiritually, but He couldn't care less about the material things. Turn, please, to Matthew, chapter 6, and notice what the Lord Jesus Christ had to say about material things:

Matthew 6:

24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

He is saying, “You had better make up your mind in the early days of your Christian experience whether you are going to put God first or whether you are going to put material things first.” Immediately someone comes along and says, “Well, that is what I don't like about being a Christian. You have to give up everything.” No, you don't. “The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich.” That applies to material as well as spiritual things. Notice verse 25:

Matthew 6:

25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

When the verse says, “take no thought for your life,” it doesn't mean to get on the best federal aid program you can and go to sleep. You ought to take thought for your life. You ought to be concerned about your responsibilities to your family. The passage would be more accurate if we read it, “Take no anxious thought for your life, what ye shall eat, what ye shall drink, for your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than meat and the body more than raiment?” Don't worry about what you are going to eat, where you are going to live, what you are going to wear. Notice verse 26:

Matthew 6:

26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

You know, this verse is the best cure for worry I know anything about. How many of you have grown eighteen inches taller by wishing you could? How many of you have grown eighteen inches taller by lying awake all night and worrying about the fact that you were shorter than you wanted to be? Well, the very ridiculousness of the idea should emphasize the very ridiculousness of worrying. You cannot make yourself short or tall by worrying about it, so verse 28 says:

Matthew 6:

28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

If you are listening you know we are talking about things pretty material. There is not much of anything any more material than the clothes you wear, the food you eat and the place you stay. Notice verse 31:

Matthew 6:

31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles [it would be better to say the unsaved] seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

Did you realize that? He knows that you need it. Look at the next verse:

Matthew 6:

33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Put God first and God will add the food, the clothing and the place to stay. Verse 34:

Matthew 6:

34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

What are we saying? We are saying to you that the blessing of the Lord that maketh rich includes every spiritual blessing that you will ever need, and it includes every material blessing as well. But there is one thing that you and I are going to have to keep in mind, one place where the emphasis ought to be placed, and that is that the blessing is from the Lord. Will you remember that? That is the reason you ought to thank God before you eat. The food you eat came from Him. You may say, “Oh, no, it didn't. I worked hard and earned it.” Well, you get flat on your back one of these days, and you will find out how easy it is to earn food. You will find out where it comes from. It all comes from the Lord.

Turn back to Proverbs, chapter 10. I would like to re-emphasize that by calling to your attention one of the words in our text, the word blessing . That word blessing comes from a root word brak which means “to kneel in thanksgiving.” There is no word for blessing in Hebrew. They said, “How can we convey the idea of what we are talking about?” They said, “Why don't we use a word that describes a man who is kneeling down in thanksgiving to God, and that will let you know what blessing is.” Every blessing you have comes from Him.

Blessings of God Never Meager

Let's look at the immediate word from which this word blessing comes. You see, you are able to trace words back to their root meaning and glean precious truths that are not always evident in the actual word that is used. The immediate word from which this word blessing comes is brakah , which is translated by the word prosperity . When you are thinking about blessings think about prosperity—spiritual and material. You recall that John said to his most beloved Gaius that he had a wish. He said, “My wish is that your body, your health, prosper even as your soul prospers, that you are reaping the spiritual blessing, but right now some of the physical blessings are not forthcoming.” Some of these folk who teach that God doesn't want anybody to be sick ought to remember that verse. “I hope your body is prospering like your soul is prospering.” He had been sick, and what he was wishing for was physical prosperity, as spiritual prosperity was already evident. I use this fact that the word means prosperity because I want to emphasize that the blessing of the Lord is never meager. When it comes from Him, it is always full and rich.

There is another translation for that word that brings that to my mind. This word brakah which is translated by the word blessing and by the word prosperity is also translated by the word pool , or more accurately a spring that overflows . Turn, please, to Psalm 84, verse 5:

Psalm 84:

5 Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them.
6 Who [notice] passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools [you could add to overflowing] .
7 They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.

Notice the word pools there in verse 6. It is a translation of this word blessing . It is suggesting, Beloved, that the individual who recognizes that his strength is in God and in his heart are the ways of God is able to pass through the valley of bitterness, for that is the meaning of the word Baca , and change that bitter, barren valley into a valley of pools that are literally overflowing.

Blessings of the Lord Always Accumulate

What I hope you are getting is that when God blesses, He blesses in such a marvelous, wonderful way that it not only affects your life; it affects the lives of all of those about you. You know, some of us have such a lean relationship with the Lord that it would be very, very difficult for us to share anything with anybody else—not because we don't want to, but because we just don't have it to spare. If we try to let any water run out of our pool, so to speak, the other fellows might be filled, but ours would be dry. Are you living today in the atmosphere of the abundance of the blessing of God?

Did you notice what our text said? Let's go back to it and look at it again. Notice:

Proverbs 10:

22 The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.

I would like for us to notice the phrase, “maketh rich.” “The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich…” That would be true just on the surface. If today I have a blessing that I didn't have yesterday, then I am better off than I was yesterday. I am richer than I was, but the phrase “maketh rich,” doesn't catch the full meaning of the original text. This phrase, “maketh rich,” comes from the Hebrew word ashar , which means “to accumulate.” You know, some folk get a dollar today, and they will be broke tomorrow. Some folk have thousands of dollars this week, and they will be broke next week, but do you know something? The blessings which the Lord provides are such that they never decrease. They always accumulate, and you are always richer today than you were the day before.

Turn, please, to Psalm 139, and join David and me in a little prayer of thanksgiving for the blessings of the Lord that maketh rich. Notice verses 17-18, where we read:

Psalm 139:

17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.

These precious thoughts to which David refers are blessings. “…they are more in number than the sand:…” Beloved, that is a lot. I am going to suggest something for you to do for a spiritual blessing. I did it one time, and I actually wound up in tears. I was on the Gulf shore where there was sand. I gathered up just a teaspoonful. As a matter of fact, it was not quite full. I let it dry out and then I spread it out just as wide as I could on a piece of glass. Then I tried to count the grains of sand. Notice what I just said: I tried; I just tried to count the grains of sand. I tried to separate the grains of sand one from the other, and of course you know, I wasn't very successful, but I did separate a few. Then I looked at all that number, and I have no idea all the number of grains of sand that were still in that teaspoon. Then I remembered that God said that He had blessed me in such a fashion that if I tried to count the blessings, there wouldn't be enough grains of sand on the seashore to count them.

I know that He was speaking figuratively, but I suggest that you try that sometime. Your heart ought to be melted at God's goodness to you. How anybody could say, no matter what happens in their lives, no matter what disappointments come, no matter what trials come, “Why did God do this to me? I wonder why this had to happen to me?”,is beyond my comprehension. His blessings are so great. We used to sing the song “Count Your Many Blessings, Name Them One by One.” Sometimes somebody would suggest that we change the phraseology and say, “Count your many blessings, count them ton by ton.” You really have to do that.

You may be thinking you are forlorn and forsaken, that God cares nothing about you, and He isn't interested in you; but if you go out that way, either you have been asleep or you don't believe God's Word because “the blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich and it adds no sorrow to it.”

God's Blessings Never Bring Sorrow

We suggested to you in the very beginning of our discussion that there is a difference of opinion depending upon the manuscripts which are used as to the rendering that should be used in the last part of the verse. In the King James text, we used the word, “He addeth no sorrow with it.” I said that there isn't anything wrong with using both of the translations because both facts are true. He addeth no sorrow with the blessings that come. Do you realize that? Think with me. Maybe out of the kindness of your heart, you have given your child something that he really wanted, and then some sorrow related to it occurred, and you said, “I wish I had never given him that.”

I was comforting a family whose son lost his life because of a motorcycle accident. The father said, “If I had never given him that, it wouldn't have happened.” Well, of course, we tried to show him from the Word that that wasn't necessarily true, but do you get what I am talking about? He loved his son. His son loved the motorcycle, and he gave it to him, but the blessing brought sorrow.

I am not going to say to you that every blessing that you and I bring into other people's lives will necessarily bring sorrow, but I am going to say to you that it might for this is one good thing that we have to rest on in relation to God: When He brings a blessing into your life, there is never any sorrow attached to it. My, what comfort there is in that. When He brings the blessing, He doesn't bring the sorrow. That is the reason this is a good text for a funeral service. If God, in His mercy and His grace, sees fit to call one of your loved ones home, it is a blessing for you. He doesn't add the sorrow that is there. The sorrow that is there is because of the physical part of man who hasn't quite learned to relax in the Lord and rest in Him.

I would like for you to recognize that the word sorrow comes from the Hebrew word etseb , which means “worry or hurt.” The blessings of the Lord never brings anything with it that is connected to worry. That is the reason if you trust the Lord for material wealth, you will never have to be anxious like the folk were in Matthew, chapter 7. That is the reason if you look to the Lord to direct you in getting your wealth, you will never be pierced through with the many sorrows of I Timothy, chapter 6. The blessing of the Lord makes rich, but it doesn't bring any worry with it, and it doesn't bring any hurt with it, either. The blessing of the Lord, you can be sure, will bless and not hurt.

The Sovereign Grace of God

We suggested to you earlier in our discussion an alternate translation to the truth: “…neither does toiling increase it.” If you were using one manuscript you would find the Hebrew word etseb , which is translated sorrow , so you would say, “The blessing of the LORD maketh rich, and it adds no sorrow to it.” If you were looking at another manuscript you would see the Hebrew word etseb , which speaks of painful trials or toil. You would say, “God brings blessing into your life, and all the painful toil that you might want to go through to add to it won't help it one bit.”

The reason that I would like for you to use both of these translations, not just the one, is that I think both of them sum up so very aptly what I refer to as the sovereign grace of God . I believe in that. The word sovereign refers to God's right to do what He wants to do, and nobody has any right to question Him about it. His grace refers to His giving you that which you don't deserve, which you don't merit, which you can't earn, and it is His sovereign right to do it as He will. That is the reason that I cannot understand a Christian's going around telling God what He has got to do. God is sovereign. If He is ready to visit you with grace, thank Him for it. If He, for reasons best known to Himself, is willing to withhold grace in some areas, thank God He doesn't withhold it in every area. You don't question it; you say, “Even so, Father, for so it seems good in Thy sight.”

I would like for you to turn to Psalm 127, as I remind you of God's sovereign grace in relation to toiling for that which you want. The blessing of the Lord—you want that, don't you? God will give it to you in His own time and His own way, and all the toiling is not going to do you any good, for you read in Psalm 127:

Psalm 127:

1 Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

Notice carefully the verse. God is tremendously—I say this reverently—level-headed. You notice these folk were building the house and these folk were watching the city. They didn't fire all the carpenters and say, “God is going to build me a house.” They didn't fire all of the watchmen and unlock all the doors and kill all the watchdogs and say, “God will take care of us anyway.” That is not what they did. They just said, “We need the carpenters and we need the watchmen; but if we don't have the Lord, we haven't anything at all.”

Better still, since we have the Lord, plus taking all of the necessary precautions, we read in verse 2:

Psalm 127:

2 It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.

You understand what that means, don't you? No Christian ought to admit (You might need to confess it.) that he wakes up early in the morning because he is so worried that he cannot sleep. God wants you to get a good night's sleep. No Christian ought to admit (He may need to confess it.) that he sits up late at night because he can't sleep because he has such a heavy burden that he can't sleep. He has such a heavy burden that he has to worry and can't sleep. I say that you ought not to admit that. You might need to confess it, but you ought not to admit it because it is a reproach upon God. It is as much as saying, “I don't believe God can take care of this so I have got to lie awake tonight and worry about it, and I have to get up early tomorrow and worry about it.”

I know what some of you may say. You may say, “I can't help worrying. I just don't know how to keep from it.” Well, there are a lot of remedies, but if you are a worrier, you are admitting that your confidence is not fully resting in the Lord.

Conclusion

The other passage of Scripture that I would like for you to notice is a familiar one. You find it in the book of Ephesians, chapter 2, verses 8-9. You will keep in mind that we are suggesting to you that the blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich and all of the toiling that you want to add to it will make absolutely no difference. The greatest blessing, to which I referred earlier in our discussion, comes to mind when you read:

Ephesians 2:

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Nowhere can it be any better illustrated than in salvation, God's sovereign grace, to which the toil of man can add absolutely nothing. If you are a born-again believer, you are born again because of God's grace. Nothing you did brought it to pass, and nothing you do will help you keep it. It is all of grace, not of works, lest any man should boast. The blessing of the Lord maketh rich, and it adds no sorrows with it, and no toil needs to be added to it.


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