Blessed are the poor. . .

“. . . the poor in spirit. . . .”

~~ a devotional

by tkbrown

Oftentimes, when we read the Bible, we do so with our mind somewhere else. For example, how often have we read The Beatitudes with our thoughts truly centered on the meaning of those words. Today, I decided to center my devotional upon one scripture, separated from The Beatitudes and viewed in detail according to the scriptures. For this purpose, I chose:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:3 — Holy Bible: New Testament (KJV)

Matthew and Luke present scriptures that say something a bit different from the other–even though both are relating a scripture from the beginning of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. While Matthew (above) refers to “. . . poor in spirit . . .,” Luke, in chapter 6 and verse 20, says:

And He lifted up His eyes on His disciples and said, ‘Blessed be ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.'”

Luke 6:20 — Holy Bible: New Testament (KJV)

Granted, most who are poor are also poor in spirit because the poor are usually the downtrodden, those who are accustomed to doing without. When a poor person does without, there is usually no repercussions to anyone for allowing this to be–no one suffers other than the person who is poor. Thus, both presentations are correct. One does not detract from the other.

I decided to see what the Old Testament (Old Covenant) says about the “poor” or the “poor in spirit.”

For all those things hath mine hand made,and all those things have been, saith the Lord; but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.”

Isaiah 66:2 — Holy Bible: Old Testament (KJV)

Here, God–Himself–acknowledges that the poor person is much more likely to “fear the Lord” and strive to live according to the Lord’s word. The wealthy are typically much more inclined to focus upon the fortune amassed and the means necessary to keep it. However, being poor by itself does not grant an eternal home with God. Rather, God said, “. . . even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word.”

If we are contrite in spirt, God is able to mold and shape us according to His will. Thus, the “poor” must also be “poor in spirit.” He or she must have “a contrite spirit and tremble at [His] word.” Here, I must ask myself: Do I have a contrite spirit? Do I tremble at God’s word? Even if I think the answer is “Yes,” I must study on it to know the truth. The Beatitudes are a small portion of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, which tells us “the spirit” of those who will go to heaven. How often–when we recite these in worship services–do we look at ourselves to determine if our spirit is right with God?

In Luke 18: 9-14, Jesus tells a parable regarding differences between the haughty, self-righteous man and one with a contrite heart.

  • 9 — “And He spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:”
  • 10 — “Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.”
  • 11 — “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself: God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.”
  • 12 — “I fast twice in the week. I give tithes of all that I possess.”
  • 13 — “And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.”
  • 14 — “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

Thus, Jesus said, those who are haughty in spirit will be least in heaven–if they even make it there–and those who are of a contrite, repentant spirit will be in heaven.

Have we ever TRULY REPENTED of something specific we have done? Have we talked to God about it as if He were a long-lost friend whom we had wronged and were begging their forgiveness?

Each of us has, or have had, something for which we should repent with such a spirit! Others may not be aware of this sin, but WE ARE! WE know what we have done, and we know it is wrong–even if it is not wrong in the eyes of man. Are we willing to humble ourselves as this publican did–as the apostle Matthew must have done? Matthew was a publican when Jesus called him to be His disciple. Have we ever declared ourselves to be a sinner” because of our sin whether it be past or present? The cleansing such a prayer provides is beyond the imagination of most.

Reading on in the same chapter, Luke 18: 15-17,

  • 15 — “And they brought unto Him also infants, that He would touch them; but when His disciples saw it, they rebuked them.”
  • 16 — “But Jesus called them unto Him, and said, ‘Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God.
  • 17 — “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.”

Infants have no sin. They are pure of heart. If they do wrong, they do not realize it is wrong, thus it is forgiven. Jesus goes on in Luke chapter 18 to show that even those who have done good all their lives may be lacking what it takes to make it into God’s kingdom and into heaven. The parable of the ruler shows how a “good person” may not have a “contrite spirit.”

Luke 18: 18-25

  • 18 — “And a certain ruler asked him saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
  • 19 — “And Jesus said unto him, ‘Why callest thou Me good? None is good, save one, that is, God.”
  • 20 — “Thou knowest the commandments. Do not commit adultery. Do not kill. Do not steal. Do not bear false witness. Honour thy father and thy mother.”
  • 21 — “And he said, ‘All these have I kept from my youth up.'”
  • 22 — “Now when Jesus heard these things, He said unto him, ‘Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven, and come, follow me.”
  • 23 — “And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful, for he was very rich.”
  • 24 — “And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, He said, ‘How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!”
  • 25 — “For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”

From an early age, this parable was powerful to me. I began sewing by hand at about the age of seven or eight. So, I knew how tiny is the eye of a needle! I knew, if this man had been good all his life, yet lacked the contrite spirit required to be a child of God, I must change my ways. For, while I rarely disobeyed, I was far from sinless; and it was time I look that sin in the eye.

There have been times throughout my life when I had to look deep into my soul and come face to face with God about something I had done which was keeping me apart from Him. My prayer, now, is: if anyone reading this devotional has been pricked in the heart and has need for a session of supplication unto you, God–give him or her the strength to humble self before you.

Here in the United States, we are beginning to see the first days of spring–signs of “life renewed,” which has been our subject today. Not all days here are pleasant–some reap harvests filled with pain. On those days, I try to remember–“This, too, shall pass. — Anonymous.

I hope, wherever you are, you can–at least–enjoy some of the weather bestowed upon you. Blessings!

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Sources:

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). Matthew 5. “Holy Bible:” King James Version (KJV). biblegateway.com. (29 March 2021). Matthew 5:3 KJV – Blessed are the poor in spirit: for – Bible Gateway.

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). Isaiah 66:2. “Holy Bible:” King James Version (KJV). biblegateway.com. (29 March 2021). Isaiah 66:2 KJV – For all those things hath mine hand – Bible Gateway

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). Luke 18. “Holy Bible:” King James Version (KJV). biblegateway.com. (29 March 2021). Luke 18 KJV – And he spake a parable unto them to – Bible Gateway.

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Photo Above: by geralt @pixabay.com.

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Jesus’ Ancestral Lineage

Scripture is from the Holy Bible–New King James Version (NKJV)

Notes on Scripture (below) by tkbrown

Matthew 1:1-17

 1 -- "The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham."
 2 -- "Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers."
 3 -- "Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram."
 4 -- "Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nashon, and Nashon begot Salmon."
 5 -- "Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse,"
 6 -- "and Jesse begot David the king.
         David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah."
 7 -- "Solomon begot Rehoboam, Rehoboam begot Abijah, and Abijah begot Asa,"
 8 -- "Asa begot Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat begot Joram, and Joram begot Uzziah."
 9 -- "Uzziah begot Jotham, Jotham begot Ahaz, and Ahaz begot Hezekiah."
10 -- "Hezekiah begot Manasseh, Manasseh begot Amon, and Amon begot Josiah."
11 -- "Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon."
12 -- "And after they were brought to Babylon, Jeconiah begot Shealtiel, and Shealtiel begot Zerubbabel."
13 -- "Zerubbabel begot Abiud, Abiud begot Eliakim, and Eliakim begot Azor."
14 -- "Azor begot Zadok, Zadok begot Achim, and Achim begot Eliud."
15 -- "Eliud begot Eleazar, Eleazar begot Matthan, and Matthan begot Jacob."
16 -- "And Jacob begot Joseph,  the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ."
17 -- "So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations."

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Notes on Scripture: by tkbrown

Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth . . .

Here, in the first chapter of Matthew, we are presented the ancestral lineage of Joseph–husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus. This lineage is inclusive back to Abraham in three sets of fourteen generations. The first set presents the line from Abraham to king David. The second set includes those generations from king David to the capture by Babylon, and the third set presents those from Babylon to Jesus.

It is interesting that there are fourteen generations between each division. When we look at Mary’s ancestry (below), we see that the lineage from Adam to Abraham is twenty-one generations–another multiple of seven. This first phase is the pre-Jewish lineage when God dealt with and communicated directly to the heads of family and with prophets. He chose each of these for specific reasons. This process was continued to some degree during the fourteen generations spanning Abraham to king David. He also chose specific leaders–such as Moses and Aaron, then Joshua, followed by the judges–to replay details of the law to His people and to lead them through certain trials.

When king David was a young lad, God’s people had become disgruntled with the ‘leader’ format. They had been clamoring for a king. Finally, God granted their request, and king Saul was appointed the first king. David was chosen as Saul’s successor. Thus, we complete the first fourteen generations and move into the second set when God communicated to His people through the kings and the prophets. This form of leadership was dismantled when they were carried away to Babylon.

The final set of fourteen generations, which takes us to the birth of Jesus, covers the first Jewish dispersion during which about five million Jews were deported to Babylon and then began to spread over Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. There are those who believe some were also able to inhabit the Americas, intermarrying with the natives in the western hemisphere. This final phase before Christ’s birth leads to the end of the Old Covenant and the beginning of the New Covenant. During this time, God’s people were under the direction of kings and other leaders of each country in which they resided. Each phase is governed very differently from the phase before and after. This shows us when the Old Covenant ended, a new phase began. The Old Covenant is no longer in effect.

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Galatians 3:22-26

22 -- "But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe."
23 -- "But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed."
24 -- "Therefore, the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith."
25 -- "But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor."
26 -- "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus."

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Notes on Scripture, cont.: by tkbrown

The original King James Version of the Holy Bible used the word ‘schoolmaster’ where the word ‘tutor’ is used in the New King James Version. God has done everything, including the divisions of time and leadership, to lead us to the New Covenant. At the instant Christ died on the cross, the veil was rent twain (torn into two pieces–top to bottom) between the outer tabernacle and the most holy of holies where the Ark of the Covenant was kept (and where God resided in the tabernacle). At that instant, the Old Covenant officially ended, and the New Covenant began.

We notice in Mary’s ancestral lineage, below, it goes all the way back to Adam. This too is done with purpose, for we see “God begot Adam” (v. 38). Thus, we are told, God is the Father of mankind. When He created Adam, He created mankind. We also see, in Luke 3:23, that Joseph–husband of Mary–was ‘the supposed father’ of Jesus. In actuality, he was the ‘step-father’ or ‘legal father’ of Jesus. God was Jesus’ father.

Under the Old Covenant, God dealt almost completely with the men. Very few women are exemplified. We are introduced to Eve, Ruth, Esther, Deborah and a few others, but mostly men are introduced. In the New Covenant, women are exemplified in much larger number, and women determine their own salvation through obedience of Christ’s commands. No individual can obey Christ’s commands for another person. That decision is strictly the choice of each.

That each set of generations presents with a different form of leadership is no accicent. The fact that they, and the period from Adam to Abraham, are all divisible by seven alludes to God’s use of numbers throughout the Bible. When a specific day was given in the Old Covenant to observe a specific feast or sacrifice, it was to be done on ‘that day,’ not another day of His people’s choosing. The same holds true under the New Covenant. There are those who say the Scriptures contradict themselves. If one takes the time to ‘rightly divide the Word’ there is no contradiction.

I hope these two genealogies now present as much more interesting and with much more meaning for application today. I pray that these lessons are beginning to clarify the meaning of ‘rightly dividing the Word of Truth.’ The next lesson will cover Satan’s temptation of Christ in the Wilderness. I invite you back for another morsel of nutrition from God’s Word.

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Luke 3:23-38

23 -- "Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli,"
24 -- "the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Janna, the son of Joseph,"
25 -- "the son of Mattathiah, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai,"
26 -- "the son of Maath, the son of Mattathiah, the son of Semei, the son of Joseph, the son of Judah,"
27 -- "the son of Joannas, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri,"
28 -- "the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmodam, the son of Er,"
29 -- "the son of Jose, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi,"
30 -- "the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Johan, the son of Eliakim,"
31 -- "the son of Melea, the son of Menan, the son of Mattathah, the son of Nathan, the son of David,"
32 -- "the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon,"
33 -- "the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah,"
34 -- "the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor,
35 -- "the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah"
36 -- "the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech,"
37 -- "the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel, the son of Cainan,"
38 -- "the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God."

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Lesson One -- Scripture:  Zacharias to have Son . . .
Lesson Two -- Scripture:  Jesus' Birth Foretold . . .
Lesson Three -- Scripture:  Zacharias' son, John, is born . . .
Lesson Four -- Scripture:  Jesus Is Born . . .
Lesson Five -- Scripture:  And Jesus Grew . . .
Lesson Six -- Scripture:  John Begins His Ministry . . . 
Lesson Seven -- Scripture:  Jesus is Introduced to the World . . .
Lesson Eight -- Scripture:  Jesus' Ancestral Lineage

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