“BLESSED are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Gracious the words, but seldom do they come home to the tried and weary children of God. All the words of Jesus are full of mercy, love and encouragement, and man must live by every word that proceedeth out of his mouth. Just a little while before he uttered the Words of our text he had sanctioned the preaching and work of John the Baptist by being baptized by him, and after his temptations in the wilderness began to preach the same doctrine, using at times the identical words, thus showing by what power and authority John preached repentance in the wilderness of Judea and baptized in the river Jordan. Not only was John to comfort the people by preaching to them the coming and work of the long expected Messiah, but the blessed Jesus began his ministry in the flesh by declaring comfort, hope and encouragement to the comfortless, helpless and weary pilgrims. Many in that day knew well that by the deeds of the law no flesh could be justified in the sight of God, hence felt without hope and without God in the world. And none can imagine their sorrow of soul because of sin, nor the rejoicing of heart because of the blessed words of comfort of Jesus, except as they have experienced the same. Not only did he speak comfortingly to the disciples in the mount, but instructed them concerning himself and things of grace, We have often associated this scene with the giving of the law from Mt. Sinai. The same God who spoke with an audible voice from Mt. Sinai, when the earth trembled and the people feared and quaked, now sat down with his chosen disciples in the mount and gave them a spiritual law by which their lives in his kingdom should be governed to the praise of his grace. At Mt. Sinai there were fire, smoke and tempest, a time of fearfulness, but in the mount with Jesus there were peace, comfort and joy. Having to deliver the things given him of the Father to the chosen out of the world, he called them unto him and opened his mouth and taught them. Just how to reconcile this particular, exclusive and discriminating work of the blessed Son of God with the popular idea of the day: that he wants to speak to all men and persuade them to become the sous of God, is so far beyond our ability that we shall not make the attempt, nor can the ablest advocates of such doctrine reconcile grace and works. Now as we approach the text the beautiful picture of Jesus and his disciples seated together, secluded, as it were, from the world in every sense, and Jesus talking to them of eternal things and things of earthly blessedness, presents itself. How glorious the picture! “The tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” Yes,'God with men in the mount, and let us with all our powers remember that it was God who uttered the gracious words of our text – words everlastingly true, sure, ever abiding, spirit and life: “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” Yet the saints of the Lord are prone to feel that their greatest blessing here below is to be made happy and to rejoice in him, to feel rich in his righteousness; but, dear brethren, very little is said of such an experience in the Scriptures, even of Jesus and the apostles. Much more poverty of spirit, longing for his appearance, hungering after righteousness, thirsting after the waters of salvation, has been the condition of the saints in all ages of the world, and the Scriptures abound with evidences that such will be the case to the end. The path of the just lies along this road, and our assurances of acceptance in the Beloved are found in this way cast up for the redeemed of t-he Lord to walk in. “I will leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord.” This means that the afflicted and poor people shall abide, continue, and shall always trust in the name of the Lord. Then “blessed are the poor in spirit,” yes, such poverty his one of the greatest blessings bestowed upon the children of God. Nothing, absolutely nothing of their own to present to him, no price in their hands have they to bring, all their righteousness is as filthy rags, all their wisdom is folly, all their strength weakness, blind, halt, lame on both feet. Poor in spirit, a blessed condition, through which we are brought to trust in the name of the Lord and stay upon our God. In this experience the sons and daughters of the Lord are brought into fellowship with Jesus, who said by David, “I am poor and needy, yet the Lord thinketh upon me.” Again, “I am a worm, and no man.” No subject of grace ever felt more keenly the poverty and humiliations of the flesh than did the incarnate Son of God. With all its weaknesses and depravities he was fully acquainted, and cried out in anguish of soul with groaning, in that he feared. Now, while this life of poverty of spirit, leanness of soul, is distressing, it brings to the heirs of glory the assurance that the kingdom of heaven is theirs; yes, the King in his beauty, the kingdom with all its glory and authority, the temple with all its holy ordinances, all belong to the poor in spirit. On the side of riches these believers, though poor, are the richest of all heirs of earth and heaven. Having Christ they have all things; through his blood they are kings and priests unto God and the Father, and though cast down are not destroyed, though forsaken, not alone, but live and shall continue to live in him whom to know is eternal life. “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” K.
Elder H. C. Ker
Signs of the Times
Volume 82, No. 14
July 15, 1914