Genesis 1:28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
His first act after creating us is to bless us, and he does not stop blessing from that moment onward—“His mercies are new every morning.” It is the set of his heart towards us. He only and always wants our good, our blessing, our fruitfulness. He so delighted in us that he wished to fill the earth with us, a mutual blessing of humanity to earth and earth to humanity as we went out to “subdue” which is to say “tame” the animals, to make them better versions of themselves and closely bonded to us. Domestication is an act of winning the hearts and allegiances of animals, giving them a sense of security and belonging, even sustenance and shelter if needed. We are blessed in order to be a blessing.
The trio of land, seed (progeny), and blessing as it occurs here in chapter one is central to Abraham’s story as the progenitor with Sarah of the nation of Israel, but far before that point, it was the story of all creation since God is the great progenitor. He wills for us all a home, family, and fruitfulness, which is to say a place to belong, a community in which to belong, and a blossoming out into the world of all the richness with which he designed us individually and corporately. His blessing constitutes all the rich resources needed to flower into the great beauty he planted within us, each a unique heirloom in his enchanted garden.
But thorny weeds soon enter the picture, and the process of becoming turns into a huge struggle against a mountain of obstacles. Even our fellow humans who were given as our aids, comforts, and joys, as our greatest earthly blessings, often become hurdles to our progress. Yet it is this very strain and turmoil that shape our characters, grow our spiritual sinews strong, and deepen our faith. Courage, fortitude, sacrifice, patience, and determination all spring up from these challenges, but even love and gentleness, peace and wisdom grow far more robust in this hostile environment. Unused muscles atrophy… and over-used muscles are strained. It is the gentle voice of God that teaches us to live within that window of grace, not forcing ourselves too far nor pulling back too easily, living in that circle of light in which even our adversaries become instruments of blessing for us. And even when we lag too far behind or get out too far ahead of God, his grace still comes in to rescue our failings. All of us are a work in progress, and God will never give up, he will daily send soft and tough blessings, until we have become that masterpiece he designed us to be.
Father, keep my faith alight so that I trust you to bring me through the toughest places into the best blessings, even if it delays until that final redemption, for without faith I cannot stay true to the path. When I lose faith, restore it again in your mercy.