“And it came to pass that Abraham was old, toward the end of his days, and Yahweh had continually blessed Abraham in everything.”
What a wonderful way in which for a life to be marked: “And Yahweh had blessed Abraham in all things…” How often we feel as if God has withheld the blessings we desire; yet if we look at life in this fashion, we miss the point that is being made here at the end of Abraham’s life. By human standards, there is no question that God had withheld the blessings that Abraham desired. Abraham had to wait until he was very old to see children and never saw his grandchildren. He never had an estate or a piece of property in the promised land that God had promised him, save for a plot of ground into which he buried his wife, Sarah. And, he had to leave behind his kinsmen when he traveled from Ur to Canaan to be in the land that God had promised him. He never established even a city after his own name and after his death his family would continue to be wanderers and eventually become refugees (and later slaves) in Egypt.
Yet, when we remove ourselves from the earthly way of measuring things and look to heavenly blessings, we see a different picture. God walked with Abraham. In fact, the Bible remembers Abraham as being called “the friend of God” (James 2:23). Abraham got to witness and participate in mighty miracles, from the routing of armies to the humbling of kings. God provided for his every need, gave him the wealth of the nations, and even preserved his nephew from the judgment that rained down upon Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham received the covenant of God and the promise to make his children like the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore is still being fulfilled today as more and more people come to faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior (Galatians 3:29). There is but one people of God (those who come to him in faith) and we all partake of the inheritance that God gave to Abraham.
Ultimately, God blessed Abraham with his presence. The promises would be partially fulfilled in Abraham’s life though the fullness of the promise was to come, but the greatest and most wonderful of all blessings is found in his presence with Abraham. How nearsighted we often become when we only think of God’s blessings in terms of our personal comfort. God blesses us first and foremost with himself and that makes us blessed by God in all things. Anything else that God may bring into our life and experience is secondary to this great truth. Thus, when God gives to Aaron the great benediction to be pronounced on the lives of his people, these are the words that he is to say:
May Yahweh bless you and may he keep you;
May Yahweh make his face to shine like a light upon you and may he be gracious to you;
May Yahweh turn his countenance (his presence) toward you and bring you peace.
Notice, the language is all about God’s presence with you and covering for you. There is not one word about worldly riches or comforts mentioned. Funny how quickly we can mix that up.