LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Friday, January 09, 2009


There is something about the Beatitudes that has always bothered me. I’ll show you what in a minute. I’ve preached through them. I’ve taught them. I’ve translated and exegeted them. I’ve read books written by scholars on them. I’ve read collections of pastors’ sermons on them. I love them. I love their poetry. I love their passion and compassion. I love everything they stand for.

Yet, there is something about the Beatitudes that has always bothered me. In spite of everything I just said in the paragraph above, I’m not sure I understand them well. As I read through them again this evening I had what might well be an epiphany for me. (Quite appropriate following Epiphany Sunday!) I think I may have been interpreting the Beatitudes wrong for a lot of years.

No matter how much I grow in the Lord and in my faith, most of the Beatitudes just don’t describe me very well. No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to develop the characteristics of the Beatitudes. And I noticed, they aren’t commands! Jesus doesn’t tell his disciples or us to do anything. He simply makes indicative statements about the characteristics of people who are blessed by God!

I’ve never been very successful in becoming poor in spirit, whatever that really means. Nor is mourning a daily exercise for me, although I have mourned deeply at times in my life. Meek? Not a word people often use to describe me. Hunger and thirst for righteousness. Now that is interesting. I can’t make myself hungry or thirsty for food or water. It just happens when I need them. I begin to wonder, “Is this something the Holy Spirit has to put into me? Maybe only God can make me hunger and thirst for righteousness?” Well, that would make sense because anyone who has a hunger and thirst for righteousness would truly be blessed! Merciful? I’ve seen God produce mercy in me. What did I just say? God produced mercy in me? I know I didn’t produce it myself. There it is again; something God did in me! Pure in heart? Again, God has purified my heart over the years I have walked with him. Blessed are the peacemakers. (Notice it doesn’t say “peacekeepers.”) Not just anyone can be a peacemaker. He or she must be thrust into a situation in which peace must be made. Again, a God thing. And persecution; I can’t bring about persecution. God must put me into a situation in which I might be persecuted.

This thinking seems to continue in this introductory passage to the Sermon on the Mount. No commands. Simple statements. “You ARE the salt of the earth.” He doesn’t say, “Be sure to BECOME the salt of the earth.” Same thing with “you ARE the light of the world.”

Then comes the closest thing to a command we have so far, “Let your light shine before men.” (Matthew 5:16) But then comes the rest of the verse, the part we often neglect to consider. Once again I learn that it is not about me; it’s all about God. “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and PRAISE YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN.” So THAT’S what the Beatitudes are really all about! God produces these things in us so he can get the glory! Amen!

Thanks for the space, Mark. And may God bless my friends at Bluecollar in the New Year! Your brother in Christ,

Dave Moorhead


Blogger mark pierson said...

"God produces these things in us so he can get the glory! Amen!"

Oh, this has been what I have been wrestling with too. Beautiful! We are HIS work of art. He does the work. HE gets the glory.

Too bad a certain system puts this forth as law for some future millenial kingdom. They sooo miss the mark here.

January 09, 2009 7:16 AM

Blogger Susan said...


I really hadn't pondered the Beatitudes much before participating in a women's Bible study a few years ago at a non-Reformed church. The women selected (as often they do - a Max Lucado book titled "The Applause of Heaven"). I say "as often they do" because I'm not a fan of Max Lucado or Beth Moore, but women seem to gravitate toward those authors. I have nothing against them per se; they're just not my preferred style of reading.

ANYway, I participated in the study, and as I recall, that particular book dwells on the Beatitudes as Lucado reads them. I found his thoughts on them to be compelling.

Basically, as I remember the book, Lucado points out that the Beatitudes mirror the life of a believer.

The believer recognizes his spiritual depravity (poorness in spirit), he mourns his impoverished state of being, he is meek in recognizing his worth (or lack of) next to a holy and righteous God, he hungers for righteousness that only God can provide, he comes to God to obtain mercy, etc etc.

I can't recall the entire thing, but that's the gist of it, and it made sense to me.

Like you, I often don't see myself in the description of a believer in Scripture, but thanks to God for His using friends and family found here on-line and in church, I am learning to increasingly turn my eyes away from self and my lack to focus more on Christ, wherein lies the true and only hope of my soul and spirit.

Blessings to you and yours this day.

January 09, 2009 9:50 AM

Blogger jazzycat said...

Poor in Spirit.....
I believe to be a result of new man of 2 Cor. 5:17. I believe Paul speaks of this "poor in spirit" attitude in Romans 8:22-23:

For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

The Christian realizes the poverty of the "old man" and groan inwardly as he eagerly awaits glorification. Repentance and is born from such a realization. An increased obedience and sanctification [though not perfect] flows from such an attitude.

Those who want to deny the power of God and call this works salvation have totally missed the gospel message in favor of a complicated theology based on the sovereingty of man. To such a view there are Jews and Greeks, overcomers and non-overcomers, faithful and non-faithful, etc.

January 09, 2009 10:12 AM


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