The blessing withdrawn
Many years ago, my family and I went to live in South Africa for a year, South Africa is a beautiful country with many wonderful things to see and do, and the best part of all was the fact that I was going to get to spend some quality time with my family who lived there.
Before we went we sold everything that we owned, shipped a few things over, but we were debt free and just really had to pay for the rental of a vehicle as well as rent to my parents.
We were living very well and because all of the extra money that we earned we got to play a lot more and my husband took some upgrading courses, he also eventually found a job that paid a lot more money than what we were ever used to.
I was attending my childhood church at the time, and the people were all glad that I was back after being gone for a few years.
My parents were really enjoying the children and did not want us to move back to Canada at all, and for that moment, we had no intention of it, we had it too good in South Africa.
I remember feeling so very blessed at all that had been given to me, that it was not long before I started making jokes about how my husband needed to work, to keep me in the luxury that I had grown accustomed to.
Then the best part of our time came, my husband found a job, working just west of Cape Town at a Mining company. He would work there during the week and come back and see us on the weekend. This arrangement worked well for a while but he was lonely and asked the company if there was any way for the family to be moved up with him.
It was not long before they said yes, and moved us into a resort not far from his work. I now had a maid, lived right on the beach, had a choice of a few swimming pools to pick from, ahh life was good!
I was enjoying the blessing of all these wonderful things, that I felt invincible, I felt that I was truly God’s “Golden child”
I know, you are shaking your head at this moment; I am too, as well as cringing at the thought of where this all eventually led to.
As time went on and my husband and I were living in this resort, our relationship really began to suffer, he was always angry, and withdrawn, playing video games all night long after he came home from work. I was lonely as I was there by myself with no friends or family and then when he came home, he would just ignore me.
I was miserable, here we were living in this beautiful place, earning lots of money, and yet I was still miserable.
It was not long before I cried out to God, and told him how miserable I was and laid before him all of the heartache that I felt as well as the hurts that I felt my husband had committed against me.
I did not realize that I had fallen into the same trap as a lot of Israelites had fallen into when they entered their promised land. I had slowly allowed pride to rise up in me over the blessings that God had given to me. I had then also taken my eyes off of God as my provider and put all of my focus on what my husband was bringing into the household every month.
God had warned the Israelites about this very thing many years before I fell into this trap; this is what God told them;
Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers. Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years; to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.
Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you. Observe the commands of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and revering him. For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land–a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.
When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
God warned the people, that when he had set them up in their new land, that there were to continue to follow him and obey him, they were to stay true to him, and if they did, they would be blessed in the land, but if they did not, they were in danger of becoming prideful and forgetting the Lord God, who had delivered them out of Egypt the land of slavery.
This fundamental principle, is what I had forgotten while I was down in South Africa, I thought I was above everything and everyone, because the lord’s hand of blessing was so evident in my life at that time. I had failed to observe God’s commands of “do not become prideful, because if you do, I will oppose you”
Well I was soon to learn that lesson, after a year of living in South Africa we decided to move back to Canada, and this is when the lesson started to really play out. We came back with enough money to last us a long time, but within a few months it was all gone, we ended up living in a friend’s basement, and having to rely on them for our basic needs.
My husband could not find a job anywhere; we did not have money for food, gas, school fees, nothing.
We were reduced to nothing. I even remember having this thought “I need to divorce my husband and find someone who would be able to provide for me and the kids” Yes, I was in a low point of my life I admit it.
It was not until a few months of this did we actually clue in what was wrong, and why we were even in this position. I believe that God put us into this position to discipline us and to snap us back into reality. The reality was that we had become so prideful in our situation and in the blessings that we were enjoying, that we forgot about God.
My friends, the lord reminded me of this this morning when I was praying, and I felt that I needed to share this story with you, If you can relate to this testimony in any way, I pray that you will humble yourself before the lord, repent so that the lord can restore you.
It was a year of great blessing as well as great misery, the misery of course was caused by us, but as I look back I am grateful to have walked through that and learnt a very valuable lesson.
The lesson is this, that God opposes the proud. He wants to bless us, but he also wants us to learn how to handle the blessing in a way that won’t make our hearts turn from him, and onto our own strengths.
We did eventually repent, and the lord did restore us and all that we had lost due to our foolishness, but I promise you, that I never want to find myself in that position again. I learnt that I needed to always have a heart that humbly walked with the lord, in good and bad, so that I could enjoy both seasons knowing that through it all, the lord was teaching, growing and bringing his blessings into my life.
I pray that the lord will reveal both to me, as well as to you, areas of our lives where pride has gotten in the way. I pray that he will remind us that if we allow pride to flourish in our lives, we will be in opposition to his will for our lives. I pray that we will chose to walk humbly with the lord, so that we will be able to enjoy the blessings that he has for us. I pray that we will choose to seek the lord wholeheartedly all the days of our lives, walking humbly with him and enjoying all that he has for us.
In Jesus name,