Summary: No sensible person enjoys being poor. None of us would strive for actual “poverty status” in life. Jesus is referring to another kind of "poverty", one that enriches.
THE POVERTY THAT ENRICHES
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3.
No sensible person enjoys being poor. None of us would strive for actual “poverty status” in life. In our text, our Lord is not extolling the benefits of being economically poor. He was referring to another kind of "poverty". being “poor in spirit”, or to say, being humble and self-effacing, as guilty sinners before an awesomely holy God.
The Bible has much to say in this area. Proverbs 8:13 reads, “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate.” Proverbs 16:18-19 continues, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.”
Obadiah, a “minor” prophet with a major message, wrote, “Thus says the LORD God…‘The pride of your heart has deceived you, You who dwell in the clefts of the rock, Whose habitation is high; You who say in your heart, ’Who will bring me down to the ground?’ Though you ascend as high as the eagle, And though you set your nest among the stars, From there I will bring you down,’ says the LORD.’” Obadiah 1b, 3-4
“BLESSED ARE” (not ‘will be”) – A PRESENT DAY EXPERIENCE!
The Amplified Version reads: “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 …” Matthew 5:3a (AMP)
In a recent nationwide opinion poll, the question asked was “What do you desire most in life?” A resounding 80% responded, “to be happy”, or “happiness”. “Wealth”, or one of its several synonyms, came in second with 11%. The remaining 9% gave various answers, including “not sure”.
The Lord Jesus provided the answer as to how true happiness can be achieved in what we call “The Beatitudes” that are recorded in Matthew 5:1-12. Today’s text, the first beatitude starts us out on the road to true happiness. The measure to which we conform to the “beatitudinal standard” will assure us a state of genuine and complete happiness in this life, and rewards that will be given us in heaven.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE “POOR IN SPIRIT”?
The Amplified Version reads “poor in spirit: (the humble, who rate themselves insignificant)…” Matthew 5:3b (AMP)
1. “Humble” “For God sets Himself against the proud (the insolent, the overbearing, the disdainful, the presumptuous, the boastful)—[and He opposes, frustrates, and defeats them], but gives grace (favor, blessing) to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you.” 1 Peter 5:5-6 (AMP)
2. “Who rate themselves insignificant”… (”unworthy”).
The testimony of John the Baptist: “I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.’" John 1:26-27 (NKJV)
3. “who rate themselves insignificant”… (“in need of salvation”)
The testimony of Paul: “…Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” 1 Timothy 1:15 (NKJV)
THE ULTIMATE GIFT: “for theirs is (not “will be”) the kingdom of heaven”
What is the happiness that is ours now by possessing the “kingdom of heaven”?
The answer is a glorious relationship to the King of heaven in this life.
“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ …” Romans 8:16-17 (NKJV)
What is the happiness that will be ours when we pass from this life? The answer is a glorious position that will be eternally ours as we reign with our Lord Jesus.
"To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. Revelation 3:21 (NKJV)
Who are they who will “overcome the world” and will reign forever with Him? I John 5:4-5 provides the answer. “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”