Bible Society of South Africa

The kingdom demands us to be humble – 2 September 2022

By Ben Fourie

Bible text(s)

True Happiness

3“Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor;

the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!

Matthew 5:3GNBOpen in Bible reader

Is there a sign at the gates of the kingdom saying, “entry reserved”? Do I have to be poor in spirit or maybe, as Matthew 5:10 tells us, first be “persecuted because of righteousness” before I can enter the kingdom of God?

The eight Beatitudes that we find in this chapter are some of the most important words ever said. If we all could just live according to what Jesus said here, what a different place this world could be! In every one of the eight Beatitudes, it is clear that one is blessed when he/she has a certain character trait or does something in a certain way. Along with the blessedness, comes a promise. It is interesting that the promise of the kingdom of God is made twice. How should we understand it? Does the kingdom of God only belong to the poor in spirit or those who are persecuted? Not at all.

These eight Beatitudes do not stand on their own; they are interlinked. One person is not merciful while the next one is a peacemaker and still, another one is pure in heart. The person who is really blessed and has unlimited entry to the kingdom, is the one who is all eight of these things. It is of no use if I am so merciful that all the beggars come to my door for a meal every day, but I look the other way when someone is treated unjustly.

Are any of these “qualities” more important than the other? No, but the very first one, which is our verse of the day, is directly linked to the promise of the kingdom and is indispensable for our understanding of all the others. Being poor in spirit means having a certain attitude, a humbleness, as said in Isaiah 57:15. It refers to those who know how completely dependent they are on God for everything. It is only when we know our dependence on God that we can be merciful, pure in heart and peacemakers. The moment when I realise my absolute dependence on God, is also the very moment that I enter the kingdom of God.

Prayer: We pray that you will keep us humble every day, so that we can serve people around us and, thus, be a part of your kingdom on earth. Amen

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