May 9, 2021
BLESSED ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT
The Beatitudes begin with Blessed are the Poor in Spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 5:3) (683) This is quickly followed by Blessed are those who Mourn, for they will be comforted. (Matthew 5:4) These two Beatitudes form the foundation, work in conjunction with each other to lead into the rest of the Blessings. The second follows the first in natural progression. And as we go through the rest of the Beatitudes we will see them build upon each other. All of them don’t just build upon each other, they are intermeshed with each other to give us a list that is not a “to do” list but a “How To” list.
Being Poor in Spirit means realizing your Spiritual Bankruptcy; and sensing the absence of God in your life, or at least the right amount of God in your life. “Poor in Spirit” is recognition that we have nothing, and that we are nothing, and that we can do nothing without the help of the Holy Spirit in our lives. (Jesus said) “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (NIV) (764) And, to me, there is another verse that can bolster us in this situation: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 (KJV) (832)
As a result, we are beggars looking for crumbs of bread from the Lord’s Table. The Good News is, the Lord has a bountiful table and has asked us to sit at it with Him. In the Beatitudes we find Joy, Happiness as the overarching theme.
The Beatitudes are for us today. Though some may say they are about the coming Kingdom, Jesus says His Kingdom is here and now, not in the by and by. His Life Instructions are laid out in an order that, when followed, when realized in our lives, bring the deep, abiding Joy, which Christ says belongs to all who are characterized by the qualities described in the Beatitudes.
Once we realize our “Poor in Spirit” condition, we should then sense a sorrow that is unto grieving. The Apostle Paul helps us understand this sorrow in 2 Corinthians 7:10: Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. (NIV) (819) In other words, Godly sorrow leads to life, an abundant, joyful, joy filled life. The abundant life Jesus has promised us.
After King David’s terrible sin with Bathsheba, and after having Uriah, her husband, murdered, David recognized his sin and his hopeless and bankrupt spiritual condition; then followed Psalm 51:1-4:
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are proved right when you speak
and justified when you judge. (NIV) (683)
He mourned so deeply that it cut his soul to its very marrow. As we recognize our true Poorness of Spirit, “Godly Mourning” should follow. There is no way around that.
The word Jesus used for mourning is the strongest of the nine Greek words used for mourning in the Scripture. It is reserved for Mourning the dead. It is a deep inner agony.
When you realize how Poor in Spirit you are without God in control of your life, you realize that Mourning is the only thing left to do. There is nothing we can do for ourselves in that instance. We can only throw ourselves upon God’s Mercy and ask forgiveness.
King David shed tears of loneliness, rejection, frustration, discouragement, disappointment, and defeat. But nothing broke David’s heart like his own sin; thus Psalm 51. Notice David’s awareness of just whom he had sinned against in verse 4. Against you, you only, have I sinned he knew God was the offended one. Not Bathsheba, not his family, not her family, God was the one he had sinned against. And it was God he had to seek for the depth of forgiveness he needed to overcome the depth of his sin.
He begs for God’s Mercy and pleads for restoration. Verses 10-12 show King David’s faith in the fact that God will not leave him nor forsake him:
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. (NIV)
Psalm 32 gives us even more hope for our lowly state: Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. (NIV) (395) It lets us know that in asking for forgiveness, God restores us, and renews us. Thus: Blessed are those who Mourn, for they will be comforted.
There is no way to keep your sin hidden from God. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrew 4:13 (NIV) (848)
The best course for us when we sin is to open everything up to Him and seek His Mercy, you might as well, He already knows. Then you’ll find that along with His Mercy comes His Grace. Then you will find that abundant life Jesus has promised you. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will truly be comforted.