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December 14 - LD 50, Day 5: Our Bread Unprofitable Without His Blessing

Friday the 14th of December

in Heidelberg Catechism Meditations

 

December 14 - LD 50, Day 5: Our Bread Unprofitable Without His Blessing 
by Rev. Martyn McGeown

Psalm 69:22 - “Let their table become a snare before them...”

LD 50 in a very striking manner makes a distinction between God’s gifts and His blessing. In other words, LD 50 acknowledges that a person can receive gifts from God’s hand, but with those gifts not receive God’s blessing. This has very important implications for the question of what God gives to the wicked—for the doctrine of “common grace.”

The doctrine of common grace is that God has a favourable attitude towards the wicked, that He blesses the wicked. This favour or blessing (grace) which God supposedly has for the wicked—that is, the reprobate wicked, whom God has eternally rejected from salvation—manifests itself in the good gifts which God gives the wicked in this life. Nobody can deny that God gives the wicked many good gifts. Often, He gives to the wicked more than He gives to His own children, but it does not profit the wicked without His blessing.

Remember what God’s blessing is—the effectual word of His favour (grace) speaking good concerning, and pronouncing good upon, His people. How, then, could God bless the wicked? How could God speak good concerning, and pronounce good upon, the wicked? The Bible teaches a sharp distinction between God’s people and the wicked. God loves, blesses and has favour upon His own people, but God hates, curses and is angry with the wicked. This is a hard saying—something fearful—but we believe it. “They that be cursed of him shall be cut off” (Psa 37:22); “The curse of the LORD is in the house of the wicked…” (Prov 3:33); “Depart from me, ye cursed…” (Matt 25:41).

If the blessing of God is wonderful, the curse of God is awful, but just.

The curse of God is the opposite of His blessing. To curse means to speak evil concerning or upon something or someone, or to speak against something or someone. God’s curse is not the word of His favour or His grace, but the word of His disfavour or His wrath. God’s curse is upon the wicked—and that curse makes even those gifts, which God gives the wicked in His providence, serve their condemnation. 
That is the prayer of imprecation in Psalm 69, a prayer which is on the lips of Jesus as He hangs on the cross. Jesus prays against the enemies of God, that God might curse them. That curse will make “their table become a snare before them” (Ps.69:22) and make a trap “that which should have been for their welfare” (v.22). Paul quotes this in Romans 11:9. Therefore, for the wicked, the abundance of good things—food, clothing, shelter, money, health—which they receive from God’s hand only serves to destroy them. Those good gifts are the means whereby God places the wicked on slippery places that He might cast them down into destruction (Psa 73:18).

The issue, therefore, is not how many gifts God gives a person, but why and with what attitude and purpose God gives them. If you are found in Jesus Christ, all things are a blessing to you. If you are not a believer in Christ, flee to Him—lest He curse you even in your gifts!

 


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