Question from a Site Viewer
I have heard many times and even in songs that when the praises go up the blessings come down. It sounds good, but where is the scripture reference or is it inferred through scripture? I would really like to know. Do we really receive blessings because we praise God?
God desires our praises and both encourages and commands us to praise Him. The word “hallelujah” is a command meaning “praise the LORD.” Further, God delights to bless His people but sometimes withholds His blessing because we are not serving Him properly. The Old Testament is full of illustrations of God’s desire to bless being frustrated by the waywardness and sin of His people.
Nevertheless, I would never want to imply that if we praise God, we will receive material or physical blessings. While it is true that if we do not praise God, we are likely to feel His chastisement (those who do not praise Him cannot, by definition, be walking in His will). Yet, it cannot be proven from Scripture that if we praise Him, He will bless us materially or physically. We are and have received all spiritual blessings when we have received Christ (Ephesians 1:3). These are ours. As Paul says in Romans 14:17, the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. These are the things we are pursuing.
However, too many times, when I have heard people saying things similar to what you have heard, I find that people are thinking about physical blessings. It is the physical blessings that Jesus wants us to turn our focus from. He wants us to focus on Him (Hebrews 13:1-3), and on the things of heaven (Matthew 6:33). To be members of the heavenly kingdom (Phillipians 3:20) means that we do not use God to obtain what we want on this earth, but we serve God to obtain what He wants in heaven. The Lord’s prayer still reads “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” not “my will be done on earth.” We are His servants and what a tremendous privilege that is. Paul states that the sufferings of this life (and those who live godly lives will suffer [2 Timothy 3:12; 1 Peter 4:1]) are nothing compared to the glory we shall receive one day in heaven (Romans 8:18). This is why Jesus taught us to lay up treasures in heaven, because where we place our treasure is where our heart will be. It is good to be poor in this world but rich in faith toward God (James 2:5). It is hard to be rich in this world and still be rich in faith towards God (Mark 10:23). Godliness with contentment is a wonderful thing.
Having said the above, it is not wrong to ask God for material blessings. He wants us to ask Him, to talk to Him about everything. But we should never use God as our magic genie, to get what we want. Rather, we want to develop a personal relationship with the greatest person in all of the world, with a God who is so awesome that the heavens will flee from His presence, and so desiring of a relationship with us that He gave up His life for us. It is a relationship that money could never buy, a relationship more precious than can ever be described. We are wise to cultivate that relationship through service to Him with our praises (Hebrews 13:15), with doing good for others as He has called us to do (Ephesians 2:10), through abstaining from immorality (1 Thessalonians 4:3); through working diligently (Colossians 3:23-24), through reading His word (1 Peter 2:2), and through fellowship with Him in prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17). If we do these things, we will be blessed with the most incredible relationship with the most incredible God imaginable. But do not be disappointed if such relationship does not translate into physical blessings. Some of God’s best people have not faired so well in this life (See Hebrews 11:35-40). But they have a great reward (Matthew 5:11-12).
May the Lord Jesus bless you and lead you to Himself.