The Way to God's Blessing
Lord, on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, may Your concerns for freedom, justice and transformation be our priority concerns.
Read LUKE 6:17-26
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him” (Psa. 34:8). A counter-cultural truth for God’s people.
Jesus’ sermon on the plain begins with a fourfold headline announcement of how to find God’s blessing in life. Blessing is more than happiness, especially as the latter is defined by contemporary culture. Blessing means receiving God’s multifaceted care, direction, protection and provision, whatever our circumstances. The key message is that God works in an unconventional, counter-intuitive way. Many assume that wealth, being well-fed, knowing laughter and being well-thought-of is the way to happiness. Jesus not only implies that it is possible to be blessed without any of these, but announces that quite the reverse is true. We dare not spiritualize his teaching: Luke certainly doesn’t. It’s about people’s actual lives. Those who enjoy privileged lives often do so off the back of others. Jesus warns them (24-26), in a set of four woes, of a day when the tables will be reversed and they’ll know what it is to be poor, hungry, sorrowful and rejected. To use Luke’s language elsewhere, “Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last” (Luke 13:30).
So, those who are poor, hungry, sad or abused for their Christian confession have no reason to be jealous of those who appear to be better off and no need to strive to imitate them. Rather, true contentment lies in trusting in God and waiting for the full arrival of his kingdom (20-23). When that arrives, true justice will be done and they’ll reap their reward. Jesus isn’t saying injustice doesn’t matter. Rather he is teaching that injustice will receive ultimate condemnation in the Day of Judgment, and he is saying that God’s blessing isn’t found in the distorted goals or corrupted values that often drive us. God’s blessing is especially available when we’re poor and vulnerable. Uncomfortable words for many!
Honestly reflect on the values that drive your life. In what ways might you be counting God’s blessings or valuing things that could be liabilities on the judgment day?
Lord Jesus, You have said that Your disciples should seek God’s Kingdom above everything else (Matt. 6:33). I pray for a singular devotion to seek God’s Kingdom in all things!
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