Journey to the Cross - Day 23 - Blessed are the Poor in Spirit
Pocket Full of Easter
Journey to The Cross 2006
Day 23: Blessed Are The Poor In Spirit
The “Sermon on the Mount,” according to the book of Matthew, was a sermon given to the disciples and a large crowd of people. Many think it took place on the north end of the Sea of Galilee, near Carpernaum. Most consider this sermon the core tenants of Christian discipleship.
Perhaps the best-known portion of this famous sermon is the Beatitudes. The Beatitudes contain 9 statements reporting who is blessed. All but the last contain a promise for the particular group mentioned. For the next eight days, we will take the time to study each of the Beatitudes, beginning with “Blessed are the Poor in Spirit.” For purposes of this study, we will combine the 8th and 9th Beatitude. Together, we will claim the promises contained in the Beatitudes.
Read Matthew 5:3.
"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you, there is more of God and his rule. The Message
• Remember the times when you felt “at the end of your rope.”
• Ponder the meaning of “with less of you, there is more of God and His rule.”
• Allow yourself to feel blessed.
• Thank God for the difficult times in your life.
• Thank Him for using those times to teach you.
• Tell God your joys, fears, and needs. Praise Him in everything.
• Pray for knowledge of God’s will for you today and the power to carry that out.
• Ask the Holy Spirit to interpret the scriptures you are about to read.
Morning Bible Study
If you hear the expression, “at the end of your rope?” you understand what it means. We throw ropes to people when they are in deep water or on the edge of a cliff. Without rope, we could be in serious trouble. When we are “at the end of our rope” spiritually, God’s rope is just beginning.
You already read Matthew 5:3 from the popular paraphrase, The Message. Now read it from the King James and Amplified translations.
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. KJV
Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous-- with life-joy and satisfaction in God's favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the poor in spirit (the humble, who rate themselves insignificant), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven! AMP
• What is the promise to the poor in spirit?
• What does the Amplified Bible say “blessed” means?
• What does the Amplified Bible say “poor in spirit” means?
• When you were feeling “at the end of your rope,” did you feel blessed?
The promise in the Beatitude is the “kingdom of Heaven.” In the kingdom of Heaven, we forsake everything else and let Jesus be king. Jesus talked perhaps more consistently about the kingdom of heaven than any other subject. Read His words in Matthew 13:44.
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. NIV
• What is the kingdom of heaven compared to?
• Why would the man want to sell everything and buy this field?
• Do you want the kingdom of heaven bad enough to sell everything?
Read Jesus’ second comparison in Matthew 13:45-46.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. NASU
• What is the kingdom of heaven compared to?
• What do you think that means?
Finally, read Jesus’ 3rd comparison in Matthew 13:47-50.
Or, God's kingdom is like a fishnet cast into the sea, catching all kinds of fish. When it is full, it is hauled onto the beach, the good fish are picked out and put in a tub; those unfit to eat are thrown away. That's how it will be when the curtain comes down on history. The angels will come and cull the bad fish and throw them in the garbage. There will be a lot of desperate complaining, but it won't do any good." The Message
• What is the kingdom of Heaven compared to?
• What will happen to the “bad fish?”
• How does this apply to us?
Perhaps only the “poor in spirit” have suffered enough to be ready to forsake all other kings. Only after other kings have failed us, are we willing to let Jesus be our king. Jesus issued an invitation to the “poor in spirit” in Matthew 11:28:30.
Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. KJV
• Who is the invitation to?
• What is the promise?
• How does Jesus describe Himself?
The yoke of King Jesus is easy and His burdens are light. Crown Him the King of Kings and find rest for your soul. Forsake all other kings and enter the kingdom of Heaven.
I met Jack and Carolyn on my first missionary trip across America. I was camping in a small city called Lakeside, Montana. God sent Jack and Carolyn when my ego was suffering from a job loss and I was fretting about money. I was definitely “poor in spirit” and struggling to let Jesus be king.
I’d been traveling for a month and felt God calling me into fulltime ministry. My plans were to return to corporate American when the journey was over and I was struggling with letting go of the salary attached to these plans. I also wanted to prove to myself and others that I could get another job and was battled the need for ego gratification. That particular morning, God woke me early so I walked down by the lake to pray.
God, I argued. I hear your call but I want to go back to work. I like what I’m doing but I’m spending money instead of making it. Bob wants to go return to school. Will he be able to do that if I don’t get a job? As I walked back, I passed Jack and Carolyn’s camper.
Jack and Carolyn were strolling hand in hand down to the lake. Their deeply tanned faces and callused hands indicated a life of hard outdoor work. Their lined smiling faces spoke to the passing of contented years. They introduced themselves and I found out they were from Georgia. “I have to come all the way to Montana to meet someone from the state right next to me,” Jack laughed.
When they found out I was Christian, they wanted to tell their story. “We were exhausted,” Jack began excitedly, sounding like he was in the middle of a story. They went on to tell how they worked seven days a week on their chicken farm.
“We had a houseful of small children and everyone worked hard. On Sunday,” Carolyn said, “We would wake up early, rush to feed our chickens, and jump into the car to race to church. I was too exhausted to stay awake for the sermon. Every day was harder than the day before. I knew it couldn’t be God’s will for us but we didn’t know what else to do. We had a family to feed and a mortgage payment to make.”
Carolyn and Jack began praying for God’s will. “Be careful what you pray for. Our chickens caught a virus and all died. We thought the world had come to an end,” Jack laughed. “For a little while, it certainly seemed as if it had. We were financially devastated. We couldn’t see God but because of our prayer, we knew God was in it.”
They began looking for jobs. “No one is more unemployable than two broken down farmers,” Caroline said. Caroline had a high school education and Jack had only been through 8th grade. “All we knew was farming,” she continued. “Our payments on the farm were huge and no one was willing to pay us enough to even come close to making those payments. We came up against a hard deadline and we thought we were going to lose the farm. It was Friday and we had an $11,000 payment due on Monday. We took it to God. On Saturday, a man showed up on our doorstep with a cashiers check for $16,000 dollars. He wanted to buy a remote section of our land. It wasn’t for sale and we hated selling it but when God offers a solution, you’d better listen.”
Carolyn decided to go to real estate school. In her second year, she sold a piece of property that netted her 1.2 million dollars in commissions. “I’d have had to gather a lot of eggs to make that much money,” she joked. “We figured God might know what He was doing after all.”
Jack continued to farm but took part of Carolyn’s commission money to start what became a successful dump truck business. “When we retired,” Jack said, “We sold that business and the farm. We had money enough to set aside for each child and to fund our ministry for the rest of our lives. We are very comfortable.” Now, Jack and Carolyn travel the country in their RV, planting churches. “We move into an area that is starting a new church and we do what ever we can to help. We stay as long as we’re needed and then move to help someone else.”
As I was leaving, Jack reached into his pocket, pulling out a $10 bill. Fidgeting, he seemed embarrassed. “I don’t know why but God just told me to give you this.”
I was stunned because I hadn’t told them about my financial fears or morning prayers. While my well-worn camping shorts and tank top might have given the impression I was destitute, we were standing next to my Suburban packed with expensive camping gear. I’d talked about my home and husband so they didn’t think me homeless.
I felt tears come to my eyes as I humbly reached for the money. I knew God was answering my prayers and would take care of the money. I told Jack and Carolyn about my earlier prayers and together, we stood awed by the power of the King of Kings. Blessed are the poor in spirit because they shall inherit the kingdom of Heaven. I relaxed into God’s kingdom of rest.
If you’ve been feeling at the end of your rope, claim your blessing. Give your cares to God. Open your eyes and look for the kingdom of Heaven. God doesn’t break promises.