This is one of my favorite verses, Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Once again, here’s an expectation for us as Christians. We are told to ‘delight’ ourselves in the Lord. Our relationship with the Lord ought to bring us more joy, satisfaction, and pleasure than any other relationship, activity, or material possession that we have in our life. It’s a simple question, “What brings us delight?” It ought to be Jesus and if not, we have some adjustments to make.
I left this for last; the Beatitudes are not a message for non-believers. His message was for followers of Christ. This message is an outline of Godly living. A message of hope in times of trouble. If you look back at each of these you will notice that each verse starts with a problem, so to speak, followed by an encouragement.
This verse seems fairly self-explanatory. When we look at it closely, we can see that we are warned; we will be reviled and persecuted because of Christ. We have already discussed persecution but let’s look at the word revile. According to the 1828 version of Webster’s dictionary, the word revile is a contemptuous language; in other words, when people speak against you.
Persecution is one of those words that we don’t use much in our everyday language. It can be difficult to understand. Many times we think of biblical persecution such as with the apostles and what they endured. That is not the only type of persecution, however. Persecution can be when the majority, or close to, are against you for your belief, color, ethnicity, or the likes. So, in this verse Jesus talks about being persecuted for righteousness’ sake. In other words, people coming against you for trying to live a Godly life and do what is right in Gods eyes.
As for all of us, this verse is not just for those whose job is to keep peace. God’s word is pretty clear on those who stir up trouble. Proverbs 17:14 says “The beginning of strife is like releasing water; therefore, stop contention before a quarrel starts.” There are many, many other verses that speak about those who cause trouble. Matthew’s writing tells us that God blesses those who stop strife and quarrels.
This one is a little harder to cover without going on for days. Pure in heart; who is pure in heart? Can anyone be truly pure in heart? Jeremiah 17:9 states, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?” So, if the heart is deceitful, how can anyone be pure in heart?
This verse may be the easiest to grasp of this list of scripture. Even so, lets dig deeper. Mercy is a big subject throughout the Bible. For me, the word mercy is somewhat of a mystery. What does it mean to be merciful? Is it simply not condemning someone? The Greek word is eleeō, it could also be translated as compassion or compassionate. So it seems to me that compassion is a form of mercy.
This verse is perhaps one of the easiest to understand as it is pretty self-explanatory. Have you ever been really thirsty? We were branding one spring while it was a very sunny and warm day. For those that have been involved with branding calves you understand how dusty and dry it can get.
Meek, what an interesting word, one that is not used much in modern times. I remember my grandfather using meek when talking about horse training. He said that he did not break horses, he ‘meeked’ them. This intrigued me and led me on a search regarding the meaning of meek.
We have all mourned for something; the loss a loved one, a job, a friendship, or a pet. I believe we need to view this verse as a temporary condition, not a permanent state. We need to look at the word ‘mourn’. I am not trying to make light of our losses but they are not a permanent feeling or way of feeling. The thought that came to me was mourning over our condition of spiritual bankruptcy, if you will.
Have you ever been in a place like that where you felt like you just can’t do things right? Almost to a point of giving up? That has been when God shows just how powerful He is in my life, when I come to that place of total surrender, realizing that I can’t do it. See, God has done all of it for us.
I backed into the heeling box and as my partner was setting his head horse I did something I have never done before – I looked at my watch. It was 10:34 at night and I still have 90 miles to drive home from this rodeo with a full day of irrigating and checking yearlings starting in just a few hours. This is when I knew I was beginning to lose my edge.
Sometimes it is so easy for us to get caught up in the world and all it has going on. Especially at the beginning of a new year. Going through Christmas and all of the worldly things that come with it can lead us in a direction away from God. Usually this happens slowly and subtly. It’s not that we are bad people or false believers. Jesus warned us of these things and showed us, through Peter, that we can be drawn away.