Blessing Does Not Seek Perfection
Christ’s invitation to earn blessing through human service is open to all irrespective of any past misdeed. We learn from David-Bathsheba relationship that earned blessing and incurred punishment are parallel promises from God. They can coexist, do not offset each other, and are fulfilled at his choosing. David incurred severe punishment from seducing Bathsheba into adultery, murdering her husband to cover up the affair, and overall for covetousness. The punishment was fulfilled but did not interfere with David’s earned blessing: an inheritance from God’s promise to Abraham to father the ancestral lineage of the Messiah and a direct promise to David that his offspring will succeed him as king of Israel. Both promises were fulfilled through Solomon, a son to David-Bathsheba marriage.
David’s interactions with Bathsheba resulted in both severe punishment and fulfillment of previously earned blessing for David. As we discuss in a previous bible study under Seduction Covetousness Displeases God, David’s sin in the affair with Bathsheba consists of seduction, adultery, murder, and covetousness. He incurred severe punishment from the sin as Prophet Nathan announced to him: the child of the affair will die, a person close to David will sleep with his wives in broad daylight, and calamity will befall him from his household. All the promises were fulfilled.
However, as events representing fulfillment of the punishment unfolded in his life; other events that represent fulfillment of David’s earned blessing occurred in parallel and unaffected by the punishment. First, he inherited blessing from God’s promise to Abraham that was passed to David through several generations via his grandfather Obed and father Jesse. Second, God promised David directly that his offspring will succeed him as king of Israel: “When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom” [2 Samuel 7:12]. God fulfilled both promises through Solomon, a son of David and Bathsheba conceived after their marriage.
The blessings did not buy him out of the punishment, nor did the punishment diminish his blessing in any way.
Blessing Does Not Seek Perfection
God does not seek perfection in order to bless a person. One can earn blessing even with an outstanding promise of punishment. Similarly, a person that previously earned blessing could incur punishment. As we discuss in a previous bible study under Call to Compassion, a person may earn blessing independent of incurred punishment or incur punishment independent of earned blessing.
One earns blessing by responding positively to God’s call to compassion, i.e., by providing service to address a need placed in his or her path [Matthew 25:34-36]: “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.” Earned blessing accumulates to be fulfilled in the person during his/her lifetime or later through offspring.
In contrast, a person incurs punishment by declining a call to compassion or committing other sin. The incurred punishment will be fulfilled at its time unless forgiven. However, an outstanding punishment does not prevent blessing and an outstanding blessing does not prevent punishment.
The bible provides several examples illustrating earned blessing and incurred punishment can coexist and be fulfilled as parallel promises. As we discuss in a previous bible study under Lessons from Genealogy of Jesus, biblical accounts regarding Perez, Boaz, Ruth, and several others provide good examples of blessing fulfilled despite potential punishment in the recipient’s path. We summarize the examples here but in addition recommend the previous study for deeper understanding.
PEREZ, SON OF JUDAH was a fulfillment of God’s blessing for Judah that he inherited from Abraham through Isaac and Jacob in addition to offering to sacrifice himself to free his junior brother Benjamin from a threat of slavery in Egypt. Also, Judah may have incurred punishment later for marrying a Canaanite or going to bed with a woman he thought was a prostitute that turned out to be his daughter-in-law. However, any punishment he incurred had no effect on his blessing. Judah was a grandfather in the lineage of Christ through his son Perez.
BOAZ, SON OF SALMON AND RAHAB, appears to have been a fulfillment of God’s blessing for Rahab, the prostitute that harbored two Israeli spies in Jericho. Rahab earned blessing because she feared God and protected people she believed were on his mission, notwithstanding they were there to spy on her people. Any punishment she incurred for prostitution had no effect on her blessing.
Her son Boaz married Ruth, who gave birth to Obed, grandfather of David; thus, a grandfather in the lineage of Christ.
RUTH the MOABITESS As we discuss in a previous bible study under Enduring Blessing, interactions between Israelites and Moabites provide a strong illustration that earned blessing will endure and be fulfilled at God’s choosing, irrespective of other events that may occur in its path. Moabites incurred God’s anger by showing themselves to be a source of temptation to alternative worship and presenting enmity when prior relationships called on them to be friendly. God frowned on their behavior and prohibited Israelites from intermingling with them. Yet he granted them protected territory and selected Moabite daughter Ruth to become a grandmother along the lineage of the Messiah; thus, fulfilling blessing that Lot, the ancestral father of the Moabites, earned by following Abraham on a mission to establish homeland for Christ’s ancestry.
Summary of What We Learned
ALL ARE INVITED Every living person has an open invitation to seek God’s blessing irrespective of past deeds. Incurred punishment from past misdeeds will neither prevent earning blessing nor impede fulfillment of earned blessing. On the contrary, a person can earn blessing even in parallel with a promise of punishment from previous misdeed.
We learn from David-Bathsheba relationship that earned blessing and incurred punishment are parallel promises from God. They can coexist, do not offset each other, and are fulfilled at his choosing. David incurred severe punishment from seducing Bathsheba into adultery, murdering her husband to cover up the affair, and overall for covetousness. The punishment was fulfilled but did not interfere with David’s earned blessing: an inheritance from God’s promise to Abraham to father the ancestral lineage of the Messiah and a direct promise to David that his offspring will succeed him as king of Israel. Both promises were fulfilled through Solomon, a son to David-Bathsheba marriage.