But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. For surely, O LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield. – Psalms 5:11-12 (NIV)
It is clear that the righteous are righteous because of who they put their trust in – who they worship. Our righteousness will never get us where we need to be in this life or the life to come. As God’s children through the blood of Christ, we have a righteousness not our own, but there is a difference between having it and walking in it. The passage above is referring to those who are walking in righteousness and some of the results.
This is not the only passage that describes the righteous as blessed or favored. It is a theme in the Psalms and prophetic writings. God blesses His righteous ones. I don’t believe that God is waiting for us to be righteous in order to bless us, but that He has made it so that walking in His righteousness leads us to His blessings. I believe that walking in His righteousness puts us in the safe place of His favor.
Imagine you are in a desert and someone brings you a glass of water. It tastes amazing, but the person says that if you want to have as much water as you need, you have to walk across the desert and over the mountains. You could just stay in the desert and ask the messenger to keep bringing the little doses of water, or you could go to the place where the water is plentiful. God sends His blessings into our desert with an invitation to place of plenty, but we have to walk there.
Let me be clear that I don’t equate blessing with money or things. For some, money or objects would become a stumbling block. It is not getting what we want when we want it because we deserve it. God’s blessing is us having exactly what we need when we need it with the full knowledge that we do not deserve it. This is the place that walking in righteousness will lead us.