My small group girls and I are about to embark on a great journey through the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 5, 6 & 7. I am so excited about our new study, and as I am preparing I can't help but remember what a friend of mine, Aaron Bryant, said while preaching a few weeks ago. He was talking about the American Dream vs. Kingdom living…and in his sermon he referenced a few verses that said something about “blessed are.” He defined “blessed” as “God is with.”
As I opened up the Word to read thru the Beatitudes found in Matthew 5:3-12, I immediately thought about this definition…and substituted it in…read it with this substitution and see if brings new meaning to any of these familiar verses…
3 “[God is with those who] are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 [God is with those who] are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 [God is with those who] are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 [God is with those who] are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 [God is with those who] are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8 [God is with those who] are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 [God is with those who] are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
10 [God is with those who] are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “[God is with those who] are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Tonight as I read through these verses with the substitution, I am comforted. I realize that each of these statements are counter-cultural statements. Hence, I am comforted knowing that as I pursue each of these beatitudes, God will be with me. He is with me as I file for spiritual bankruptcy. He is with as I mourn over my sin. He is with me when I hunger and thirst for righteousness. He is with me when I am merciful and don't act out in my own interest or with my pride. He is with me as I pursue a pure heart and peace in this fallen world. He is with me when the world doesn't understand why I do the things I do and don't do the things I don't do. Not only is He with me but he reminds me that my reward is in heaven, and that I am not the first to walk this road.
Tonight as I am preparing for a couple Discover Conferences, I am not only reflecting and meditating on the fact that God is with me in each of these situations, but I am asking myself how do these verses affect my identity, significance and purpose? God is teaching me so much right now as I am preparing to be a mom. It is overwhelming at times, and that is when I must remember, one of my favorite names of God…Emmanuel, God is with me!!!
What new insights do you find as you read through these verses with the substitution above?
If you'd like to spend some time praying thru the beatitudes, check out the “Praying thru the Beatitudes” article under “HOME STUDY.”