"Let us cleave then to His blessing, and consider what are the means of possessing it. Let us think over the things which have taken place from the beginning. For what reason was our father Abraham blessed? was it not because he wrought righteousness and truth through faith? Isaac, with perfect confidence, as if knowing what was to happen, cheerfully yielded himself as a sacrifice. Jacob, through reason of his brother, went forth with humility from his own land, and came to Laban and served him; and there was given to him the sceptre of the twelve tribes of Israel." (1 Clement 31)While Clement understood the blessings of God he also understood that, in many ways, those blessings are not automatic and not possessed by all. Sometimes, we limit the blessings of God either by our ignorance or our unsanctified lifestyle. Our failure to be blessed is often the result of our unwillingness to do the things that lead to blessing. We want to be happy, but we are unwilling to pay the price to be happy. Clement identifies the means that the forerunners of our faith used to obtain the blessings of God.
Abraham combined his faith with his works, uniting belief with activity, knowing that "faith without works is dead." (James 2:26). In so doing we see that his "faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected." (James 2:22)
Isaac, knowing the goodness of God, submitted himself to the will of God for his life, wherever and to what ever that might lead him, even to the point of yielding himself as a sacrifice. The prospect of death was no obstacle between him and obtaining the blessings of God. He had the same heart as Mary when she said, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word." (Luke 1:38)
Jacob chose exile over conflict with his brother. He chose servitude over rulership. He chose to serve in obscurity knowing that, one day, in God's time, his turn would come to pass and those things that were rightly his would be granted to him. He understood what Jesus meant when He said, "He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted those who were humble." (Luke 1:52)
Humility, obedience, and piety: these are the means of possessing the blessings of God.