Blessed are the "Poor in Spirit"
The very first beatitude (supreme blessing) Jesus states is found in Matt. 5:3. The bible says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Isaiah 66:1-2 interprets the meaning of this verse for us.
“Thus says the Lord, “Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? “For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being,” declares the Lord. “But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.”
God is so big, He is so powerful and He is so far beyond us that we don’t deserve His blessings. And that’s the point made in Isa. 66:1-2. We have done absolutely nothing deserving of God’s favor. He doesn’t need us (Acts 17:24-25) but we most certainly are desperately in need of Him (Acts 17:26-28). But the good thing is that God gives us the opportunity to enjoy His blessings and to be a part of His rule, His reign, His people, His church and ultimately His home but there is a criteria we must meet. We must be humble. We must be of a broken, contrite, spirit.
Without this humility we have no part and no portion with the creator of this world. Humility is best exhibited in little children (Lk. 18:16-17). The bible states:
“But Jesus called for them, saying, “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”
To be like a child is to have a heart that desires humility, simplicity and unsophistication. As adults, most of our lives grow to be so busy and so sophisticated and that usually involves all sorts of problems, complications, trials and suffering etc. Children are the opposite of this and experience the opposite of this.
Jesus wants us to know it isn’t complicated to be a part of the kingdom. It doesn’t take a lot. It takes humility and a heart that is willing to follow the simple commands of Jesus which includes submitting to Him. Jesus doesn’t complicate things, we do! And unless we become like children, unless we break our pride and arrogance down, we cannot get into the kingdom. One of the most fascinating things in the bible is to see all the instances where God (who is so beyond us) is moved to forgive and reconcile because of the humility shown by men. We were created by a God who is moved by humility. We serve a God who takes notice when we swallow our pride and acknowledge that we need Him (being poor in spirit) and that without Him we have no purpose and no meaning in life.
Consider the examples of Ahab (1 Kings 21:17-29) and Manasseh (2 Chron. 33:10-13, 19). These two men are considered to be two of the evilest men in the OT. They were both kings who rejected God and did many things contrary to His name. Yet even these men were presented with opportunities to humble themselves before God and when they did God was moved so as the forgive one and prevent immediate judgment from befalling the other. The lesson for us is that if these men achieved hope by being “poor is spirit” then there is hope for all of us. The kingdom is open and accessible for all who would be “poor in spirit.”