Our focus verse for today is in Isaiah 66:1-2, ” ‘Heaven is My throne, and earth My footstool. Where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest? For all those things My hand has made, and all those things exist,’ says the Lord. ‘But on this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.’ “
Jesus opens His teaching in the Sermon on the Mount with the familiar words, ” Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. ” Now for us baptists in the 21 st century, we immediately notice that there is no introductory story or engaging anecdote to capture our attention. No, Jesus just dives right in, intent on capturing our minds and hearts with the truth and depth of His lesson. So he tells us that we are blessed, or happy, if we have a poor spirit. Even more so, he says that the kingdom of heaven belongs to this very person. We’re not expecting to hear about happiness with a poor spirit.
A poor spirit brings with it images of sorrow, loneliness, timidity and poverty. So how much more amazing is it to hear that it’s the very key to entrance into a kingdom? The poor don’t do kingdoms. They stay far outside the walls of blessing, getting by as best they can. But Jesus has just turned their world upside down. In these few simple words, He has told us so much, given us so much. He has pointed us to what is important to the Father. As Isaiah said, He has shown us on whom He will look. When we consider that all God made is counted as His footstool, how else can we be but poor in spirit? What can we bring to Him who made all things with His hand? Yet Jesus says that the poor in spirit have the kingdom of heaven. Can you truly gain everything except by coming with absolutely nothing? We come as nothing, and we become royalty. And He tells us that as long as we remain poor, we experience the blessed royalty of the kingdom. But when we think we are blessed because we are royalty, we have just chosen the poverty of temporary satisfaction over the King’s blessings. Jesus says the kingdom is ours because it is His to give, not ours to earn. He offers us the happiness of heaven. If you are lacking that today, check where your spirit is. Take your eyes off of the footstool and place them on the throne of God. Only the poor in spirit can see that.
As we seek Him today, let’s make sure we are completely humble before our God. Search your heart for pride or independence and ask God to help you open your hands and release to Him what you are holding on to. Ask God to make us poor in spirit.