The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, And He adds no sorrow with it. (Proverbs 10:22, N.K.J.V.)
The Bible teaches that God bestows blessings (eternal blessings and earthly blessings) upon people. It also teaches that Satan, when he so chooses, can bestow earthly blessings upon people. As evidence of that, he once offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if Jesus would bow down and worship him.
The great difference between a blessing from the Lord and a blessing from Satan is that God’s blessing never comes sprinkled with sorrow. That is the clear word from Proverbs 10:22. Satan’s blessing, by contrast, always includes a certain amount of sorrow somewhere down the line of the blessing.
This Bible truth can be applied to any and all areas of life, but to pick just one example let’s think for a moment about the coach of an athletic team. If that coach is a born-again Christian…if that coach is in God’s will being a coach…if that coach’s primary goal as a coach is to bring Christian salt and light to the sordid world of athletics…and if that coach’s coaching is bathed in prayer, submission to God, and doing everything the Christian way…that coach’s coaching will enjoy the blessing of the Lord. Perhaps that blessing will show up in the win-loss record, but even if it doesn’t it will surely show up in the area of the coach’s players becoming better human beings and in the area of the relationships the coach makes with the players and even the players’ parents. And remember, because the Lord is the one who is doing the blessing, He will add no sorrow to all that blessing.
But now let’s flip the script and ask the question: What if Satan is the one who is blessing the coach’s efforts? In that case, the blessing will stand a far better chance of showing up in the coach’s win-loss record, but all that worldly success will not come without Satan adding some sorrow to it. That sorrow could include everything from damaged family relationships to public scandals to an inner emptiness that seemingly shouldn’t be there in light of the coach’s outward success. You see, Satan is a master at making his bait look appealing, but in the end he always hides a hook in it. That’s the difference between him and God. God’s blessings hold no hooks.
There is, however, one other aspect to this otherwise cut-and-dried principle, and it’s an aspect that I wish I didn’t have to mention. Let’s say that you are living your life all out for Christ, sailing along in your service to Him, and enjoying the blessing of the Lord upon what you are doing, but then you get hit with a round of sorrow in an area you thought was being blessed by the Lord. What happened? I’ll tell you. Satan got into that area that was being blessed by the Lord and messed it up. And God, for whatever reason, let him do it.
The classic illustration of this is Job. Job’s family, wealth, and health were all under the blessing of God, and Job was experiencing no sorrow from any of that blessing. Then Satan asked for God’s permission to mess with all that blessing, and God dropped the protective hedge He had around Job’s life and let Satan have his way with Job for a while. Mind you that God wasn’t the one who added the sorrow to Job’s blessings. That would contradict Proverbs 10:22. Satan was the one who unloaded the dump-truck load of sorrow upon Job.
I don’t know where this post finds you these days, but it’s always good to examine your life and get the big picture as to what is going on with you. Are you being blessed right now? If so, is that blessing taking place in a way that is with sorrow or without sorrow? If it’s taking place with sorrow, you need to figure out why that’s happening, and there are only two options. Option #1: That blessing is, in actuality, coming from Satan rather than God and you are feeling the sharp pain of its hook. Option #2: That blessing really is coming from God and as such should be without sorrow, but God has allowed Satan to spoil that blessing by adding sorrow to it.
Either way, what’s called for on your part is prayer. If option #1 describes your situation, you need to ask God to help you make the changes required to get you out from under Satan’s blessing and get you under His. And if option #2 describes it, you need to ask God to keep you under His blessing but cleanse that blessing from Satan’s damaging influence by kicking Satan out of it. To sum up, I guess what I’m saying is, don’t stop at merely being blessed or merely being sorrowful. Take the time to figure out the source of your blessing or your sorrow and then pray accordingly.