Beatitude and Blessing (Part 2)

I wait­ed longer than I would have liked to work on part 2 of this brief series, but I’m glad to be back on task with it. The first three of the Beat­i­tudes were briefly touched upon last time, so let us get on with the next three:

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after right­eous­ness: for they shall be filled.

I work in retail. I know full well mar­ket­ing’s focus on manip­u­lat­ing peo­ple into think­ing they need things. The abun­dance of adver­tis­ing is a tes­ta­ment to that. If a child does­n’t know a cer­tain toy exists, that child would not want it. Like­wise, if a per­son does­n’t know a spe­cif­ic brand of cloth­ing exists, there’d be no desire for it. Mar­ket­ing cre­ates a hunger, a thirst for things — for rich­es, for pop­u­lar­i­ty, for appear­ance, for doo­dads of all sorts.

How­ev­er, Jesus did not say that those who hunger and thirst after such things will be ful­filled. Yea, rather, those who desire such things will nev­er be filled. And mar­ke­teers know it. Hav­ing the coolest toy of the sea­son means noth­ing next sea­son. Like­wise the desire to keep up with the Jone­ses leaves us always want­i­ng new­er, bet­ter, and more pow­er­ful trin­kets and gadgets.

The process is end­less. Yet Jesus said that those who hunger and thirst will be filled. Such ful­fill­ment is unknown to so many, so what it is that leads to ful­fill­ment? What is it that, when hun­gered and thirst­ed after, can make us hap­py (blessed)?

Right­eous­ness. Not right­eous­ness in gen­er­al; rather, the right­eous­ness of God, who Him­self is right­eous and is the source of it.

Were we right­eous of our own accord, we would have no need to hunger and thirst after it. We would already inward­ly pos­sess it. What point would there be of an addi­tion­al fill­ing if right­eous could be found with­in the hearts of man?

But oh, the deprav­i­ty that resides there instead. Indeed, to hunger and thirst after right­eous­ness nec­es­sar­i­ly implies a lack­ing, a want of some­thing which we do not have.

Hun­ger­ing and thirst­ing after Christ’s right­eous­ness begets being filled, not only with the right­eous­ness we so des­per­ate­ly need, but with all the fruits which go along with it — such being joy, peace, love, patience, and more.

And what a won­der­ful thought to keep at the fore­front of our minds through­out the day. How would a con­stant, tena­cious pur­suit of right­eous­ness change our atti­tudes, our conversation?

Blessed are the mer­ci­ful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Who will obtain mer­cy? The mer­ci­ful. Here we see very plain­ly the clas­sic “You get what you give” principle.

But what is being mer­ci­ful? In a word, mer­cy is com­pas­sion. But it’s more than that. Sym­pa­thiz­ing with the poor and pro­vid­ing for them; that’s mer­cy. Feed­ing the hun­gry; that’s mer­cy. Vis­it­ing the sick, tend­ing to orphans, car­ing for wid­ows; mer­cy, mer­cy, mercy.

And mer­cy is shown when we choose to over­look harms. Mer­cy is opposed to begrudg­ing. As the Lord direct­ed us to pray, “For­give us our sins, even as we for­give those who sin against us.”

God looks at our sins — deeds which are so vile and intol­er­a­ble in His most right­eous eyes that we deserve to be pun­ished in Hell for eter­ni­ty — and He show­ers down mer­cy on His sheep.

But we hold hold grudges — how­ev­er brief they may be — if some­one looks at us the wrong way in the super­mar­ket, if some­one cuts us off in traf­fic, or any of a myr­i­ad of oth­er sil­ly things.

I believe it could be right­ful­ly said, based upon this Beat­i­tude, that those who God has shown mer­cy to will exhib­it mer­cy in their every­day life. Those whose lives are char­ac­ter­ized by being unmer­ci­ful — such as the Phar­isees, who were the most reli­gious peo­ple around — show forth that they have nev­er real­ly known true mer­cy. How can one who has no expe­ri­ence with pure mer­cy exer­cise it reg­u­lar­ly in their own lives?

It has been often stat­ed by the­olo­gians and pas­tors alike that mer­cy is not receiv­ing what we do deserve. It is mer­cy that allows God to over­look the sins of His people.

And while it may be theft for that bud­dy of yours to bor­row your favorite ham­mer and nev­er give it back, it is mer­cy which looks the oth­er way, silent­ly mak­ing a gift out of what was loaned. (You are more than wel­come to share more engag­ing exam­ples of prac­ti­cal mer­cy in the com­ments field.)

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

I like that word “see” there. The Greek verb is ὁράω (horaoÌ„); its mean­ings are enlightening…

  • Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall stare at God. — Those who are pure of heart not only will see God, but they will be able to gaze upon Him at length. Oh what beau­ty to behold!
  • Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall dis­cern clear­ly God. — The pure in heart are not deceived by false gods and god­dess­es of their or oth­ers’ mak­ing. No, they under­stand God, they know who He is. They rec­og­nize the Good Shep­herd’s voice and they fol­low Him.
  • Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall attend to God. — What a bless­ing, for the pure in heart shall abide with God. They will be His com­pan­ions. Pri­or to his sin, the pure Adam enjoyed God’s com­pa­ny in the gar­den of Eden. Those who are pure of heart shall expe­ri­ence the same!
  • Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall expe­ri­ence God. — For­give me if that sounds a bit too New Age for your tastes. That is not my inten­tion. Read­ing Hebrews 6:4, 5, though, gives us the expe­ri­ences of a per­son who is ulti­mate­ly unsaved. Yet they tast­ed of the heav­en­ly gift. They were par­tak­ers of the Holy Ghost. And they have tast­ed the good word of God. How much more shall the pure in heart expe­ri­ence God!

It is impor­tant to rec­og­nize that Jesus made the require­ment being “pure in heart.” The Phar­isees had out­ward puri­ty, but their hearts were dead in sin. Many will come to Jesus claim­ing to have done great things in His name, yet their hearts of stone betray them and they are cast away.

Puri­ty of heart will lead to puri­ty of mind and of action. The heart of a man gives away his pas­sion, his trea­sure, his desires. And Jesus calls for purity.

How does one become clean of heart? There is only one way, and that is the Way, Jesus Christ. To every­one who believes that Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God, slain for their sins and res­ur­rect­ed for them accord­ing to the Scrip­tures, He will wash their hearts with His blood, mak­ing them as white as snow. The hard hart of stone will be exchanged for a heart of flesh. Repent of your sins, be bap­tized with water to sym­bol­ize your rebirth, and embrace your new­found puri­ty of heart, liv­ing each day in new­ness of life and purpose.

Thus ends part 2. We have seen that the the poor in spir­it shall have the king­dom of heav­en, that the mourn­ers will be com­fort­ed, that the meek will inher­it the earth, that those who hunger and thirst after right­eous­ness will be filled, that the mer­ci­ful shall receive mer­cy, and that the pure in heart will see God. And there are still three more Beat­i­tudes to go. For those who love God and are called accord­ing to His pur­pose, embrac­ing just one or two of these bless­ings is far from suf­fi­cient. Let those who love God exem­pli­fy all of these traits, and in so doing may they be the salt and light of the earth.

3 thoughts on “Beatitude and Blessing (Part 2)”

  1. Don’t wor­ry about get­ting the sec­ond part going. I still have a part 2 on my blog that I need to write!

    Thanks again for anoth­er inspir­ing devotional. :)

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Rick Beckman