Blessed are the poor in Spirit. The Beatitudes.(5:3-10.)
The shorthand way of describing these short collection of sayings of Jesus . Blessed are …all eight of them is to call them the beatitudes.
The origin of this word.
Beatus. makarios both may be translated "blessed."
Some translate "happy. That is not a very accurate translation given the meaning of being happy today. A person may well be happy while making someone else miserable. You could be happy while milking the system to your own ends and happy getting away with it.
Groucho Marx was a famous comedian was a keen observer of life was reputed to have said. ”The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. He had seen enough of life to see that getting away with wrongdoing may make you temporarily happy with only skin deep satisfaction. .You may be happy if you got away with wrongdoing. For example ,If you were speeding at night and the flash light of the speed camera wasn’t working. You would be happy.. Being happy these days is not necessarily linked with moral integrity, good wholesome behaviour.
Back here to this beatitude "Those who are blessed will generally be happy but being blessed cannot be reduced to happiness. Being blessed in the Bible has moral rightness as a basis. It is approval of something worthy of praise. To be blessed by God is to be approved by God and The Lord , doesn’t approve of wrong thoughts and actions.
AS far as the word “ Bless goes.” In the Bible man may bless God and God may bless mankind
When mankind blesses God they are worshipping God. Mankind is putting The Lord God above himself. on the pedestal, the perfection of God. Not condescending “I hope you don’t disappoint me today, God ”
(1) Man may humbly approve God.
Ps 135:19 Bless the LORD, O house of Israel: bless the LORD, O house of Aaron: Put Him at the right place.
(2) ON the other hand God blesses those whom he approves.
Ps 28:9 Save thy people, and bless thine inheritance: feed them also, and lift them up for ever.
There is no higher blessing than to be approved by God. If god's blessing means more to us than the approval of loved ones .Then we shall find that these beatitudes will speak to us deeply and personally.
In our own hearts and minds ,Whose blessing ,approval are we after.?
Is It Our loved ones, peers ?.Those with the power to make our lives easier. Or do we seek God’s blessing most of all.
Don’t forget Jesus . He was blessed by God .He found approval .Ultimate approval which involved a lot of unhappiness. He was abandoned ,suffered ,put to death Blessed .
Those blessed approved by God will generally be happy but happiness may come and go . Blessedness doesn’t .and we would call it JOY. Living a lifestyle of Approval by God will bring persecution and unhappiness as a result but the long term Joy of God’s presence never leaves.
The first and the last beatitude promise the same thing.
3 ¶(1) "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
(8) Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
To begin and end with the same expression is a writing style called an inclusion.
The beatitudes are an example of "inclusion." ie .everything in between may be included under the one theme, the kingdom of heaven - What should characterise someone in the kingdom of God ,in Summary - What is the lifestyle of the Christian.?
The first Beatitude
Blessed are the poor in Spirit.for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
The origin of poverty of spirit.
What it is not. Certainly not financial dwarf. Or material shortage. Not lack of spirit .-someone who quits at half time.Not without spiritual awareness. Not lack of courage or vitality. Not poverty of the Holy Spirit.
The expression developed in the OT period..
Firstly the word Poor.
In the O.T. God's people were known as the poor or the poor of the Lord
owing to economic distress often oppression is a factor. refugees
When Israel was in Egypt.
Poor and lowly.
Some of the words for poor can also mean lowly, or humble. The association of poor and humble is a natural one.
Proverbs 16:19. ¶ Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.
Is 57:15 The Lord said : "I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.
. "This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.
Poor means humble, willing to learn be changed to be more pleasing to God.
In the New Testament
(1) A healthy fear of God.
Luke 18:10 A conscious acknowledge of spiritual bankruptcy before God.
Jesus told them the account of the tax collector and the Pharisee.
Lu 18:13 "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, `God, have mercy on me, a sinner.')
It is the framework upon which repentance is built.
Begins our relationship to God.but it does not end there.
Poverty of Spirit has to begin the process but in fact may end in a Gideon of conquest. For example Gideon in the Old Testament began by an admission that he was powerless and incapable of the task and says unless The Lord go with Him, he would be best to stay at home. He has nothing to offer God.
(1) Poverty of Spirit cannot be manufactured by self hatred, not a pretend humility. Cannot be imitated by those who may be impressed by the humility that is part of this poverty of Spirit.
It is a decision,to fight ,a battle to put to death a pride which grows in a person's life as virtues start to build up and this deceives the one having genuine virtues into thinking that they have a right to an audience with God.
Poverty of Spirit is a full honest conscious recognition before God of personal moral unworthiness.
In fact the sermon on the mount is designed to remove these self delusions from us and to encourage a genuine poverty of Spirit. Depend on Christ and him alone who on the cross paid for our wrongs our sins And offers us forgiveness .
We all should tremble when we look at ourselves and how much we need forgiveness. WE should be humble in spirit. Even big proud independent businesses of a multi national boast have been humbled in recent times . Big insurance companies and , the banks For a long time thought overcharging a bit at a time would not be found out . What this tells us as much smaller fish is a working assumption that we as people today will get away with what we can. The publication the economist says “ For every corporate crook there are at least ten corporate deceivers.”
Deception and the human heart go together. We hate to lose face .
could we not say that for every corporate deceiver there are ten of thousands of personal deceivers just like us. WE think we can get away with it,
Not just people of 2019 Either. There is nothing new about deception and its consequences.
Sir Walter Scott wrote in 1808.
“O what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practice to deceive.”
Unless we repent ,be poor in spirit. Let God convict us of poverty .There is nothing within us to win him over.
.WE shall find ourselves not in the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus encouraged this attitude of poverty of Spirit.
His disciples were to be the leaders with deep needs themselves. Being honest and open in their lives was modelled by Jesus.
The whole of Jesus' life ,not just the religious part was open to examination of those he was seeking to lead and help.
( Mat8:24. He was in a boat . A great storm arose.. He was asleep, tired . Why are you afraid . O you of little faith ..Mat.26:38. John 4:6 )
Matt 26:37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.
38 “Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me." Needed support He was rich but poor in Spirit .
He was poor in Spirit before God The Father.
Being Prayerful is one sure way of being poor in Spirit .Dependence on The Lord.
He was often alone praying for his work and his followers.
Lk.6:12-13. Lk22:32 Jn 17.
Blessed are the poor in Spirit .WE are to be humbled by our spiritual poverty and dependent on The Lord .