So today is the 15th Lord’s day of this year. So we are celebrating the resurrection of Christ every week, every Lord’s Day, we celebrate Him as we listen to His word preached to us, we are declaring in a sense that He is victorious, He is risen, He is alive. Our Lord and Savior is alive and is continuing His ministry to His beloved church. As we are celebrating His resurrection every Lord’s day, what happens sa atin ay we continue to receive the spiritual blessings communicated to us, ‘no.
Sa mga preachings, sa mga teaching, whatever the church is fellowshipping with one another. In that sense, na-re-receive natin ang mga blessings of sanctification, ‘no, na Diyos mismo ang nagbibigay a binibigay Niya yun through the church. Yun ang usaping spiritual blessings. Now, papaano naman kapag materyal na blessing. Papaano naman kung temporal blessing. Ang tanong sa atin, what should be our perspective when it comes to such blessings, when it comes to temporal blessings? God willing, ito ang matutunan natin ngayong hapon na ito.
Turn with me to Genesis Chapter 30 verses 25 to Genesis chapter 31 verse 16. As soon as Rachel had borne Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send me away, that I may go to my own home and country. Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, that I may go, for you know the service that I have given you.” But Laban said to him, “If I have found favour in your sight, I have learned by divination that the Lord has blessed me because of you. Name your wages, and I will give it.” Jacob said to him, “You yourself know how I have served you, and how your livestock has fared with me. For you had little before I came, and it has increased abundantly, and the Lord has blessed you wherever I turned. But now when shall I provide for my own household also?” He said, “What shall I give you?” Jacob said, “You shall not give me anything. If you will do this for me, I will again pasture your flock and keep it: let me pass through all your flock today, removing from it every speckled and spotted sheep and every black lamb, and the spotted and speckled among the goats, and they shall be my wages. So my honesty will answer for me later, when you come to look into my wages with you. Every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats and black among the lambs, if found with me, shall be counted stolen.” Laban said, “Good! Let it be as you have said.” But that day Laban removed the male goats that were striped and spotted, and all the female goats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had white on it, and every lamb that was black, and put them in the charge of his sons. And he set a distance of three days’ journey between himself and Jacob, and Jacob pastured the rest of Laban’s flock. Then Jacob took fresh sticks of poplar and almond and plane trees, and peeled white streaks in them, exposing the white of the sticks. He set the sticks that he had peeled in front of the flocks in the troughs, that is, the watering places, where the flocks came to drink. And since they bred when they came to drink, the flocks bred in front of the sticks and so the flocks brought forth striped, speckled, and spotted. And Jacob separated the lambs and set the faces of the flocks toward the striped and all the black in the flock of Laban. He put his own droves apart and did not put them with Laban’s flock. Whenever the stronger of the flock were breeding, Jacob would lay the sticks in the troughs before the eyes of the flock, that they might breed among the sticks, but for the feebler of the flock he would not lay them there. So the feebler would be Laban’s, and the stronger Jacob’s. Thus the man increased greatly and had large flocks, female servants and male servants, and camels and donkeys. Chapter 31 Now Jacob heard that the sons of Laban were saying, “Jacob has taken all that was our father’s, and from what was our father’s he has gained all this wealth.”And Jacob saw that Laban did not regard him with favour as before. Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your kindred, and I will be with you.” So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah into the field where his flock was and said to them, “I see that your father does not regard me with favour as he did before. But the God of my father has been with me. You know that I have served your father with all my strength, yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times. But God did not permit him to harm me. If he said, ‘The spotted shall be your wages,’ then all the flock bore spotted; and if he said, ‘The striped shall be your wages,’ then all the flock bore striped. Thus God has taken away the livestock of your father and given them to me. In the breeding season of the flock I lifted up my eyes and saw in a dream that the goats that mated with the flock were striped, spotted, and mottled. Then the angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob,’ and I said, ‘Here I am!’ And he said, ‘Lift up your eyes and see, all the goats that mate with the flock are striped, spotted, and mottled, for I have seen all that Laban is doing to you. I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and made a vow to me.
Now arise, go out from this land and return to the land of your kindred.’” Then Rachel and Leah answered and said to him, “Is there any portion or inheritance left to us in our father’s house? Are we not regarded by him as foreigners? For he has sold us, and he has indeed devoured our money. All the wealth that God has taken away from our father belongs to us and to our children. Now then, whatever God has said to you, do.”
The grass withers the flower fades but the word of Our Lord stand forever.
So after 14 years of service seven years for Leia and another seven years for Rachel. Now Jacob wants out, wants to get away from his father-in-law Laban and settle with his wives and family back in his family there in Canaan. So when he informs Laban, his father-in-law about this about his desire to get out of their household, Laban said that he learned by divination and when he said divination is probably a paganic prayer, probably like that or whatever paganic ritual. As you know Laban had household gods. So when he said he learned by divination, it means that he learned that God or Yahweh has blessed Laban, him because Jacob was been, has been working for him. Dahil nandun si Jacob, nalaman through any paganic means by divination.
Nalaman niya, ah, Bini-bless ako ng Panginoon kasi nandito si Jacob. Now, in-affirm yun ni Jacob.Sabi niya, father-in-law, you’re right! Laban was poor. Laban was poor when Jacob came. Jacob did not have anything also when he came to Laban. That’s why he served Laban for years. Yun nga yung bride-price niya. Wala siyang dala nung pumunta siya kay Laban. So gusto niya si Rachel, kailangan niya ng bride-price. Dahil wala siyang dala na kayamanan, nag-serve siya for seven years. And alam natin yung nangyari, si Leah yung unang pinakasal sa kaniya. So another seven years, kasi si Rachel talaga ang kaniyang gusto, okay. And so, as long as Jacob was there, Laban was becoming wealthy.
Matalino, tuso si Laban. Now again, in this passage that we’ve read, Jacob wanted out, ayaw na niya. He wants to take care of his own family, provide for them. Papaano naman ako, papaano naman ang aking pamilya, papaano ako makakapag-provide sa kanila? Yung seven years na iyon, para kay Leah, ikaw rin kumuha. Yung seven years na ‘to, para makuha ko si Rachel, ikaw rin kumuha. Ano ang akin? Paano ko bubuhayin ang eleven sons ko, one daughter and four wives? Paano ko bubuhayin ito sabi ni Jacob. And so nag-suggest si Jacob. Sige, trabaho uli ako sa iyo. Co-continue ako ng trabaho sa iyo, this time eto yung magiging kabayaran ko. These are my wages: give me the lambs that are spotted the goats that are black. Yung may mga spots, yung itim, sa akin yan. Now, you have to understand that in that time, in the ancient Near East, ang mga sheep ay monochrome, ibig sabihin iisa lang ang kulay, puti. And so sobrang ma-limit lang yung number ng mga spotted at yung mga itim. So sabi niya, sige, magttrabaho ako sa iyo. Try ko palaguin itong mga lamb na ito, itong mga goats na ito coming from this small number, dito ako magsisimula. Now, pag meron kang nakita na hindi spotted dun sa flock ko, consider mong ninakaw ko sa iyo, sabi ni Jacob, okay. Now, ano ginawa ni Laban..oh, magandang idea yan.
Magandang opportunity na ito. Ibig sabihin tatagal pa si Jacob. Sige, mag-trabaho ka pa, okay. Laban, the cunning one. Eto ang ginawa niya – tinanggal niya yung mga spotted, tinanggal niya yung mga itim, tinanggal niya itong mga ito and inilayo niya kay Jacob; gaano kalayo?
Three days journey! Kailangang tatlong araw na byahe para para makita niya uli yung mg iyon. Ganun Kalayo. So ganun ang ginawa ni Laban.
And so si Jacob ngayon starts with nothing, right. Paano siya magkakaroon ng mga spotted sheep coming from monochrome sheep? Puting-puti. Paanong magkakaroon ng spotted sheep yan?Paano sila magp-produce ng mga spotted sheep at itim coming from white?
Paanong magiging posible iyon? And so si Jacob, tinake niya yung trabaho, ‘no; tinake niya yung trabaho. Ayaw siyang paalisin, ayaw siyang bigyan ng sev pay ni Laban. So mag-sstay siya doon. Ngayon si Jacob nag-rely siya sa superstitions, sa myth. There was a superstition, a myth during that time when kung ano yung vision, ano yung nakikita ng hayop at they were mating, yun yung map-produce. And so ang ginawa ni Jacob, kumuha siya ng mga branches, pineel niya yung mga skin ng branches na yon, hindi niya fully pineel para maging white….paunti-unti para magmukhang spotted yung mga small branches at itinusok niya yun sa harap ng mga troughs. Yung troughs po yung inuman; dun umiinom yung mga sheep. And so, in that area also doon po nagb-breed, doon po nagm-mate ang mga sheep, ang mga goats.
And so as they are mating, nakikita nila yung mga branches na pineel ni Jacob, mga spotted ang hitsura, and so nung nanganak ang mga sheep, nung nanganak ang mga goats, voila! Sila ay spotted. Ito ay superstition. Ito ay myth. Dito nag-rely si Jacob at nagkatotoo nga, okay. So the superstition again is that whatever the lambs see when they mate, that’s how the baby lambs would look like. Hindi sila nagmukhang puno, nagmukha silang spotted, okay, just to be clear. And so Jacob did this for another six years. Imagine! Kasi sabi niya sa mga next passages, mga twenty years siya nag-trabaho kay Laban. So 14 years for Leah 14 years for Rachel and another six years, ‘no. So, tama, so, hindi pala fourteen; seven seven and then six, sorry, fourteen, sorry. Seven years for Leah, let me correct myself, seven years for Leah and then Rachel and then six years, okay. Maganda ang Math, we love Math. So, again, we see here Jacob relying on superstition. Pero hindi lang superstition, very knowledgeable din si Jacob pagdating sa breeding. In fact, nag-employ siya ng selective breeding na tinatawag. He’s very knowledgeable about this, ‘no. He let the strong ones mate. So nung dumami na yung mga spotted, in-identify pa niya yung mga malalakas, yun yung talagang pinag-breed niya at ang lumabas ay malalakas din. Tapos yung mga mahihina, sila yung mga naging puti. So nag-employ din ng wisdom, ng knowledge niya si Jacob patungkol sa breeding. So firstly, he relied on superstitions but at the same time he was wise. And then afterwards, nung dumami na ang pag-aari ni Jacob, the sons of Laban recognise the growing wealth of Jacob. And this time, Laban did not regard Jacob with favour not like six years ago when Laban allowed Jacob to have spotted lambs this time, sige, okay na yan, sa ‘yo na yan, and then ninakaw din niya ano. This time Laban may not regard him with favour because Jacob turns to be wealthier, he becomes wealthier than him. So Jacob then called his wives and informs them that they had to leave now.
Because their father was cunning and has been changing his way just 10 times. And he told them also, Jacob told his wives also na naka- receive siya ng dream, ng vision and in that dream, God told him to return to Canaan. Ni-remind lang siya ng Diyos kung ano ang plano ng Diyos. Bumalik ka dun, I will protect you. And in that dream as well God told him that it was Him who has been providing Jacob the striped, the spotted and the mottled lamps. God was saying: “it was me all along, Jacob.”
So we have here, Jacob wanted to leave his employer but his deceitful employer, who has become rich because of him, won’t give him a severance package as I’ve said. So Jacob labored, and laboured, and he became wealthy. Imagine, after 14 years of service to pay for the bride-price of his two wives, ngayon pa lang makakapag-simula si Jacob mag-ipon para sa kaniyang pamilya. And then we see that God fulfills His promise to Jacob by showering him with prosperity. And now Laban will be left with what? a small number of lambs. Yes, these are but temporal blessings, they come and go. Ito ay binigay kay Jacob. Meron before si Laban, ngayon meron na si Jacob, sobrang dami. These are blessings, these are temporal blessings, blessings pa rin galing sa Panginoon. The Lord Himself ultimately, ito yung pinapakita sa atin. Ang may-ari ng mga blessings na ito; ang may-ari ng mga sheep na ito, ng mga lamb na ito, ng mga goat na ‘to ay walang iba kundi ang Panginoon. Kinontrol ng Panginoon, ‘no. Marahil si Jacob, iniisip niya it’s because of superstition, but then it was God all along. And that should remind us of the verse that we have read a while ago, who owns these things? Psalm chapter 24 the Earth is the Lord’s. Ang mundo ay sa Diyos, and the fullness thereof. The world, the stage, pag-aari ng Panginoon, and those who dwell therein, pag-aari din ng Diyos.
Yun po ang message natin ngayong hapon na ‘to. Kitang-kita dito ang pagbibigay ng Panginoon, ng mga temporal blessings, okay. A message natin that God Has Sovereign Control Over All These Things, Over All Temporal Blessings. It’s good to be reminded of this because we indeed need to learn what our perspective must be when it comes to wealth, when it comes to material, when it comes to temporal blessings.
First, we need to know the who, the who of temporal blessings. Who gives them? Medyo nasabi na natin siya. Second, the why of temporal blessings. Why are they given?
Let’s consider the first one, The Who. So again Jacob relied firstly on superstitions, yet he laboured hard, but he depended on these mythical ideas. And you know, again the flocks produced his desired outcome. They were spotted, they were black. Now, what all that Jacob has done was not just pure superstitions, he actually again engaged in selective breeding, mautak din siya. He had experience being a shepherd and because of this, he not only had the spotted ones, he had strong spotted ones. So he used superstitions here at the same time, his cleverness. But after six years we see God showing Himself to Jacob in a dream. God said Jacob, I know you worked hard and yes now you have a lot lots of wealth. You know who has sovereign control over all your wealth, it’s me, Jacob. God was saying yes, you use lots of ways in this case, superstitions and your cleverness, but at the end of the day, if you were blessed materially, that’s because of Me. That’s the purpose of God’s dream to Jacob. God showed Himself in Jacob’s dream to remind Jacob that he was part of a covenant and in that covenant, God promised that He would bless His people. Kasama dun ang materyal.
And kita na natin dito how God fulfills His promise to Jacob. Hindi na natin ito maikakaila na nag-trabaho naman talaga si Jacob, right . 20 years na binless siya ng Panginoon. Same as us, no matter how hard we work, we can say in a sense we must be able to get our wages kasi nag-trabaho naman talaga ng maayos, yes. But ultimately the One who gives it to us is God. And God as the owner of the Earth is not obliged to give to us anything. Kahit na sabihin mo na nagtrabaho ka nang napakatagal, kahit na sabihin mong ginamit mo ang kagalingan mo, katalinuhan mo. And then yes, ikaw ay biniyayaan ng Panginoon with wealth, ng wages. At the end of the day, ang may control niyan ay ang Panginoon. Because He owns everything. This is a very important perspective that we should have, especially as Christians. Yes, we can say that we have the ability to perform the task and we have income, we have wages, but the ability, the work, these are God’s means for us to be blessed by Him. Even our wages are gifts from Him.
Sabi sa James chapter 1 verse 17, every good gift and every perfect gift is from above coming down from the Father of Lights. Never on our own efforts can we merit God’s gift of temporal blessings. Of course we always say, we say every Lord’s Day na hindi natin kayang maabot etong mga spiritual blessings na ibinigay sa atin ng Panginoon. Kaya nga natin tinatawag itong “grasya,” grace, right. But we can also say definitely when it comes to temporal blessings, we can definitely say the same thing. Diyos lang ang nagbibigay niyan. Hence, we can also say it is grace. Again, this is a very important perspective God has sovereign control over such temporal blessings. He was able to control it in a way that Laban was able to enjoy it for what? 20 years? Who was able to control it sovereignly in a way that Jacob had nothing and yet Jacob continued to work for another 14 years, another six years. And then during that time, doon, binuhos ng Panginoon ang wealth sa kaniya. And at the same time, doon naman tinanggal ng Diyos ang wealth galing kay Laban. Again, very important perspective kung sino’ng may-ari ng mundo. If we know who owns even these things, even the temporal things, should we employ superstitions? Should we rely on our own efforts so we can say in a sense that yes, kailangan nating mag-trabaho. But do you trust God sa Kaniyang mga gifts sa atin? Even sa temporal blessings? Should pride be a proper response? Ako ‘to eh. Kaya naman ako nandito, dahil pinag-sikapan ko ito eh… na totally, wala sa picture ang Panginoon. And that’s a usual thing. When we talk about temporal things, when we talk about work and labor, usually, wala sa picture ang Panginoon.. this is me! I’m able to accomplish these things. Pero sabihin ko sa iyo kapatid, never wala ang Panginoon sa picture. If we understand that no matter how hard working we are, we remain to be stewards. Stewards po lamang of all of God’s blessings. Steward lang.
Steward yung namamahala pero hindi siya yung may-ari, that’s a steward. And you know what, if God blesses us, again that is still considered grace. Yun ang tinatawag nating common grace. Kaya siya common, this is common for every creature. Whether you are a believer of God or not, you receive such blessings, you receive such gifts, temporal blessings, grace because we are getting what we do not deserve. Grace pa rin yan. Common kasi lahat na-re-receive yan. Grace kasi hindi yan deserve ng kahit sinuman. We are but mere creatures of our God. All of our temporal blessings may be wealth, shelter, pagkain mo every day, almusal mo kanina, tanghalian mo kanina, these are gifts from the Creator. And yes, if you do not believe in Christ now, at ikaw ay kumain kanina, gift yan! Blessing yan ng Panginoon na nire-reject mo!
Now hindi ito utang. It’s not a debt. This is a gift. And if ever we don’t have such material blessings at this time, we can’t say that hindi natin pwedeng sabihin na God owes. Oh, teka, nag-trabaho ako ah. Si Jacob, nag-trabaho siya 14 years, now 20 years. Nagreklamo ba siya sa Panginoon? Sa employer niya, yes. Pero sa Panginoon? We don’t deserve, brethren, even this temporal blessings. Mga kapatid, kapag na- realise natin na even the smallest blessing that God is giving us every day, is something that we do not deserve. Anong implication noon sa puso mo, kapatid? Hindi ba’t mas na-mo-mortify ang pride sa puso mo? We don’t deserve even these temporal blessings, ultimately because of who we are. We are mere creatures. Add to that, who are we, but we are sinners. We sin against God, we rebel we rebel against God. And then mag-co-complain tayo, bakit di natin ito nakuha mula sa Diyos? See, God not only provides for our physical needs and that is true mga kapatid. Can we definitely say that God has not been providing for us? I don’t think may makakatayo ngayon at magsasabi, ay, hindi nagp- provide sa akin ang Panginoon. He does provide physically for our temporal needs. He does provide. But you know what? Hindi lang ito ang kayang I-provide sa atin ng Panginoon. Again, these are just temporary blessings. Even yun sa mga tunay na pangangailangan mo, and that is spiritual, eto’y pinrovide Niya.
He has sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross so you will not die eternally, experiencing the wrath of God. There’s someone else who has experienced the wrath of God on the cross. He died and yet He did not remain dead. He rose again from the dead and that is Christ.
Capable ang Panginoon. Capable ang Panginoon to save us from our sins. Hence, capable din Siya ibigay ang ating mga temporal needs. So kung wala ka kay Kristo, repent now of your sins and trust Him. Trust the greatest provision, the greatest blessing of God. And that is none other than Jesus Christ. And if you are not in Christ, kaibigan, sasabihin ko sa ‘yo, alam mo ba that God still gives to you? Na patuloy pa rin nagbibigay sa iyo ang Panginoon. Kung wala ka kay Kristo huh. Kung ngayon, eventhough narinig mo na since this morning the gospel. And now even this afternoon, and your heart still rejects that message, and you reject the fact that you are a sinner, na ayaw mong umalis diyan sa estado mo. Ayaw mong I-deny ang iyong sarili at sundin mo ang Panginoong Hesus, sabihin ko sa ‘yo, nagbibigay pa din Siya sa iyo. God still gives to you.
God still blesses you materially. And yes it is still considered a gift because of His benevolent character. Common grace ito ng Panginoon. God is capable to do this but God is capable to give you more, kaibigan. He is capable to save you from your sins, for He is good, He is mercy and He is grace. Gusto mo ba ng patunay na Siya ay good? Gusto mo ba ng patunay na patuloy Siyang nagbibigay sa iyo kahit na ni-re-reject mo Siya? The very mouth you use to reject God is the very mouth you open to eat His provision. The very home you have where you do most of your rebellion against Him is the very home He provides for your shelter. That is how good God is. And your good God, our good God is capable to save you from your sins. Repent now and come to faith in Him. Pero kung ikaw ay na kay Kristo, If you are in Christ, know that every temporal blessing you have, that you are receiving are from God.
And so challenge ko sa iyo, Dapat ba ay maging…Diyos pala ang nagbibigay eh. So hihintayin ko na lang yung prutas na bumagsak..nganganga na lang ako. Diyos lang pala ang magbibigay. Kapatid, ginamit ng Panginoon ang labour at pag-ttrabaho bilang means para tayo ay i-bless temporaly.
So ang challenge ko sa iyo kapatid, work hard. Alam mo, working hard ay iyon ang kabaligtaran ng curse. The curse in Genesis chapter 3 would say you will work all your life and then you will die and then the creation will not be cooperative with you. In fact there will be times of thorns and thistles ang ibibigay Niya sa iyo. So see how encouraging that would be for someone who just sinned katulad ni Adam, right. And yet he has been given an encouragement in Genesis 3 15 that there will be someone who will reverse that curse and that is Christ. But see if you work hard, pinapatunayan mo na may, yung curse ay pwedeng mawala, hindi ma-experience sa tahanan. Kasi ang curse is that yung thought na you will work and work and work and die. And yet when you work, your wages will be thorns and thistles, hindi mo rin gusto. Alam mo’ng implication noon, hindi ka na mag-ttrabaho. Mag-a-abdicate ka na. And so wala kang temporal blessings. And so ang challenge ko sa iyo work hard! Tignan mo si Jacob. Nagtrabaho siya. Work hard and depend on God to bless your labour’s work hard. Because that is God’s means for His temporal blessings and trust God to bless your labors, because at the end of the day, hindi nakasalalay sa iyo.
See again, brethren, unless we become passive, sluggard or tamad.
Jacob labored 20 years. Perhaps if we just think about the hardships involved in your work, you would abdicate immediately. But brethren the difficulty of work should not be an excuse for us from our labors. And if God’s gift of temporal blessings are given through our labors, then if we do not work hard, we won’t have such gifts. So brethren work hard and don’t rely on things other than God. Remember that even the ability that you have to do the work is from God. Again ano implications nito? This will yield gratitude in your hearts, that every time we receive from God, we ascribe it to Him, we attribute it to Him. It mortifies that greed from our hearts brethren. It mortifies pride. Pride in our accomplishments as if wala sa picture ang Diyos. That is the implication kapatid. Kapag ikaw ay biniyayaan ng Panginoon, ang una mong nasa isip, uy, regalo ito ng Panginoon sa akin.
Let it be that whenever we eat our food, ang puso natin ay sinasabi na Panginoon, salamat sa regalo Mo. Ganun ba yung heart natin kapag nakakaranas tayo ng mga temporal blessings na ito? Ganun ba tayo ka- appreciative sa Panginoon? Ipaalala ko lang mga kapatid kung gaano ka-sovereign ang ating Panginoon. Marami sa buong mundo nung 2019 na nagtayo ng kanilang mga businesses, nagkaroon sila ng maraming mga kumpanya, marami talagang nag-progress as kanilang careers.
And then boom! 2020 came. Sinong makakakita, sinong makaka-realise na teka, sino makakapagsabi rather na uy, kaya kong mag-progress.
Pero kapatid, kayang-kaya din ng Panginoon na tanggalin. Ganyan ka- soberano ang ating Panginoon. So kung ikaw ay biniyayaan Niya, i-ascribe mo sa Kaniya. Magkaroon ka ng appreciation sa Panginoon. And let that appreciation help you really work hard and trust Him in your labors. Nabubuo ba ang pride and greed sa sarili mo? Do you have full dependence on yourself when it comes to provisions or would you depend on God who has sovereign control over all temporal blessings? Kumusta rin ang heart mo whenever you receive temporal blessings from the Lord? Again, brethren, work hard and depend on God to bless your labors. Huwag mong angkinin ang galing kapatid. Diyos ang magaling. Diyos ang maawain. Diyos ang mabuti. Diyos ang grasya.
Diyos ang kahabagan. Yan ang rason kaya nare-receive mo itong mga temporal blessings na ito. And as you receive them, and as your appreciation in these temporal blessings grow, let me remind you of the capability of our God to give more. In fact He has given Him. He has already given that more, and that is Christ. As you appreciate these temporal blessings, let your appreciation to the better blessings, to the blessings that you and I can never attain. Oh we can say some temporal blessings can be attained by men because of our labors, but these things that Christ has attained you and I can never accomplish them. So as you appreciate these temporal blessings, let your appreciation to the spiritual blessings that Christ has attained go all the more.
There’s also an important truth to understand when it comes to temporal blessings brethren; and that is the why. Jacob came to Laban 20 years ago with nothing. Walang nadala si Jacob nung siya ay pumunta kay Laban. He couldn’t pay the bride price so he served for 14 years for the two wives. Laban who was also poor became rich because of Jacob. So after 14 years, Jacob worked again for another six years and he became wealthier. So pwede nating sabihin mga kapatid, both of them were blessed by the Lord. Pwede nating sabihin na ang unbeliever na katulad ni Laban ay blessed by the Lord. In fact in-affirm yun ni Jacob sa text . Sabi ni Laban, I learned by divination the Yahweh has blessed me. And then sinabi ni Jacob, oh yes, you have been blessed by the Lord kasi kasama mo ako. And this is again what we call common grace. It is common because whether you believe God or not, you can be given such wealth in life. It is grace because it is still undeserved. Pero kapatid, there is a difference. While we can call it common for the both of them, indeed were blessed. Laban became rich only because Jacob was there. And then it will be taken away by God when Jacob leaves.
Nonetheless, he received temporal blessings. Laban became rich even though God did not make a covenant with him. On the other hand Jacob became rich because God has promised him blessings. Jacob became rich because God had a covenant with him to bless him and his household, to give them the land of Canaan to be influential to the rest of the world. So while the two of them, a believer and an idolater, received, both of them received temporal blessings. Jacob received his based on his covenantal relationship with God. So see brethren we receive these common graces, yes, like all of creation. But for us, we receive these temporal blessings by virtue of us being His. Because we are His church. Because we are precious in the eyes of God. Because we are His children. This is why when the apostles asked Christ how to pray, ano’ng sinabi ng Panginoon sa Matthew 6, binanggit ito kanina sa preaching..Sabi sa Matthew chapter 6.. Our Father who are in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done on Earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. We ask the Father for temporal blessings. Only believers can ask the father for temporal blessings in prayer. We have that privilege. That is a prayer for the believers. I mean a non-deliver cannot call God Father. Only believers can call God Father. Kaya nga sabi ni Hesus sa mga apostles, ngayon, pwede na kayong mag-pray ng ganito. Now you can call Him Father.
Now you can ask for daily bread. You can ask for daily provisions. You can ask for temporal blessings. You have that privilege. You know how we got that privilege? Because of Christ. We were from our father the devil. In Christ’s death on the cross and His resurrection bound the strong man, the devil who captured us initially. And then freed us and Jesus Christ freed us and put us in the family of God. And so Christ tells us again to ask the Father in His name, give us our daily bread.
Brethren look at the implication of this in your daily lives. A non- believer, Laban, a believer, Jacob both of them receiving temporal blessings, riches. Naging wealthy sila. But the other one is motivated by the fact that he is a child of God and the other one is not. Again look at the implication of this. For a believer who receives temporal blessings, one a believer has a privilege to actually ask God. The other does not have that privilege. But you have, if you are a believer. And again, when you receive…look at the implication of that in your daily lives when you receive the daily, not weekly bread coming from God. It’s not the same as when an unbeliever receives it. Para sa atin, we receive these things, these temporal blessings because we are God’s children. And so in your dinner tonight, when you eat outside, and kapag may kasama kang hindi naniniwala sa Diyos, both of you are getting the same food. Yes. that is common grace. But you are receiving yours because you are a child of God. Common grace.. the rain pours to the just and to the unjust, but the rain that pours to the just is motivated by the fact that God cares for the just. Kaya’t ganun na lang ang sinasabi ni Kristo sa Luke chapter 12. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Paano ka pa na anak ka ng Diyos?
Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet they are clothed. Paano ka pa na anak ka ng Diyos? The ravens may be fed, the grass will be clothed and you? Paano pa ang isang child of God?
Nakikita ninyo ang diperensiya. Pareho tayong marahil nakaka-receive ng temporal blessings with a person who rebels against God. Pero yung intention ng pagbigay sa iyo ay dahil anak ka ng Diyos. Kita natin sa implication ng Lord’s Prayer. The command to pray that way is given only to the believer not to the unbeliever. Pero kapatid, let us not fall into the prosperity gospel’s trap that the Christian must not live in hardships but in prosperity. Kapatid, God can even withhold such temporal blessings to a believer. Take note brethren, na even yung pag bigyan ka ng Panginoon, binigyan ka Niya dahil anak ka Niya. Kahit temporal blessings yan. Pero eto, kung hindi Niya yun binigay sa iyo, what if God withhold such temporal blessings, yun ay blessing pa rin. Because God withholds them out of His love for you as well. The giving or the withholding of temporal blessings for every believer is motivated by the fact that we are God’s children. That’s what happened to Jacob. The riches were withheld for 14 years for 20 years. Hindi ba natin naisip na yung gustung-gusto nating trabaho ay hindi binibigay sa atin ng Panginoon, bakit kaya? Bakit kaya ganun? Baka kasi maging idol mo yang trabaho mo. Hindi mo naisip? Kung hindi binibigay sa iyo ang wealth, hindi mo ba naiisip kasi marahil, baka mas lumayo ka sa Panginoon. Sabi nga ni Thomas Watson and I quote, sabi niya: Prosperity often deafens the ear against God. In the body the more fat the less vitality. So the more outward plenty often the less piety. Prosperity has its honey and also its sting.”
So challenge ko sa inyo: Have A Renewed Appreciation To God Who Gives To You And Withholds From You. If God gives us temporal blessings, appreciate Him because He gives this out of His love as our Father. Because we have been redeemed. Kung nakakakain ka tatlong beses sa isang araw, pwede nating sabihing common grace yun, common because also an unbeliever is receiving the same food. Pero ikaw, ibang motivation ng pagpakain sa iyo ng Panginoon. Ipino-provide Niya iyon sa iyo dahil mahal ka Niya. Kung may trabaho ka katulad ng isang unbeliever na nag-re-rebel against God, pareho kayo ng posisyon, pareho kayong may trabaho, common grace sa kanya ng Panginoon… pero sa iyo, dahil mahal ka ng Panginoon, pini-preserve ka Niya. IKaw ay Kaniyang anak, yun ang ibig sabihin ng bawat temporal blessings na binibigay Niya. So hindi dapat babalewalain natin ang mga temporal blessings na ito. Kaya nga bawat kagat ng pagkain, dapat ang puso natin, Panginoon, salamat sa gift Mo, salamat sa pagmamahal Mo.
Bawat paggising natin sa umaga, Panginoon salamat sa panibagong araw. Now, if He witholds, appreciate Him as well because He does this out of his love as our father as well because we have been redeemed, because we are His children, we can ask and He can give, He may give, He may not give. Whatever is the outcome, appreciate the Giver.
Appreciate Him because He has already given everything He has given Christ to us and because of Christ every good gift has a meaning for us. Every good gift shows us that God loves us, that God cares for us, that we are His. Every good gift becomes a good gift.. every gift becomes a good gift rather because it comes from our Father. May pagtatampo ka ba sa Diyos kapag hindi mo nakuha ang gusto mo? How’s your heart when it comes to such provisions? May appreciation ka ba kahit sa napakaliit na gift ng Panginoon? Brethren, again for every bite of food, may we say this is God’s gift for me. For every time we wake up in the morning, may we say God is good to me. And as we appreciate these temporal blessings, appreciate all the more. The reason why you are a child of God is because He sent His own Son so that you will be blessed. He became a curse so you will be blessed. He received the valediction, you received the benediction. Christ died on the cross in our stead. We would appreciate Him more as we appreciate these small things. We would cling to Him more dearly. And so a Christ-oriented outlook on temporal blessings here’s what it does to us – it sanctifies our sinful desires for such blessings, for hoarding these blessings. And it also yields gratitude for the one who gives, the Giver, the Owner of all.
May the word of God enrich our knowledge of Him and may it stir us to live in light of these truths.
Let us pray. God and gracious Father thank You Lord for blessing us with Your word. Thank You Lord that You, that every good gift comes from You. That You are our Father and You give this, give these to us as your children by virtue of us being adopted to Your family. And Lord, what a blessing that is. What a blessing it is Lord that as we are receiving the same visual temporal gifts, Lord we know that You are giving it to us because You love us. You give this to us with love on the account of Christ and what He has done. And so Lord, as we, as we enjoy and celebrate this truth, may we all the more appreciate Christ. May You always trust Him and cling to Him. May You alone be glorified in our work, in our lives. Thank You in Jesus’ Name, amen.