Daily Devotional

February 24, 2021

Daybreak: Matthew 4:18 through 5:16

“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5)

Once again, I was being given a detailed accounting of my shortcomings. It was not something I enjoyed, but it was the only way to learn. I had recently taken a new job — one for which I was hired sight-unseen, and for which I had no previous training. Of course I made mistakes! Unfortunately, the person who was my direct supervisor delighted in forcefully and vocally pointing out those mistakes, often within earshot of others in the office. After she had finished her comments, I would ask her to repeat anything I didn’t understand, and would try to thank her for helping me learn the things I needed to know. I knew that I was not totally qualified for the job and I wanted to learn as much as possible, as quickly as possible. Because my family’s finances dictated that I needed to supplement our income, I did not want to lose my job. Therefore, I prayed daily that God would give me the grace to get through those embarrassing sessions.

As this scenario repeated itself, often at first, and then less frequently, something amazing happened. Gradually, my supervisor and I became friends, and as I became more familiar with my job, she assigned more difficult and sensitive work to me. When the time came for me to leave that job, she even gave me a goodbye present.

Through that situation, God helped me to learn a significant spiritual lesson about meekness and humility. Generally, human nature will urge us to defend ourselves when challenged, rather than to quietly accept a humbling experience. Jesus gave us a different set of instructions in Matthew 5:1-12. This portion of Scripture is sometimes called “The Beatitudes.” It could also be called “The Attitudes of the Heart for Christian Living.” 

By giving instructions about the condition of our hearts, Jesus was reinforcing that we can do nothing in our own strength. A person who has sin in his heart cannot follow all of these directives — it is impossible without a change that comes from God. But in the Beatitudes, Jesus gave us a step-by-step description of how God desires to rebuild our hearts. 

When our hearts are in line with the instructions in the Beatitudes, we can be assured that nothing will hinder His blessings!

Background

We read in Matthew 4:18-25 of how Jesus called the group of men who would be His disciples. Simon (called Peter), Andrew, James, and John were fishermen, who dropped their nets at Jesus’ invitation and followed Him to become fishers of men. Verse 23 describes how Jesus went throughout all Galilee, spending considerable time preaching and healing in the area. Jesus then set aside time for further training and admonition of His disciples. 

Each statement in the Beatitudes begins with the word “Blessed.” This was a very powerful word, which to His hearers meant that they would have a deep, spiritual joy and happiness. 

The first four traits refer to the personal spiritual growth of believers:

  • Matthew 5:3 – Poor in spirit means the opposite of proud or haughty. It is used to describe those who have been humbled by the grace of God.
  • Matthew 5:4 – God’s promise to comfort mourners contains such depth that the promises are virtually endless.
  • Matthew 5:5 – Meek does not indicate that a person is weak. Rather, that person is absolutely obedient and submissive to God’s will.
  • Matthew 5:6 – To lives that are poor and empty, God provides spiritual sustenance to satisfy the spiritual hunger, which means to be needy, and thirst, which means to have an inner passion. 

The next four traits require personal action:

  • Matthew 5:7 – Mercy is the act of forgiving another even though that one may not deserve forgiveness. 
  • Matthew 5:8 – A person with a pure heart will have one purpose — that nothing will come between him and God, and nothing will come between him and his fellowman.
  • Matthew 5:9 – Peace is a harmony with God and men. It does not necessarily mean an absence of conflict. Peacemakers are not social reformers, rather, they consciously bring God’s holiness into everyday life.
  • Matthew 5:10-12 – The plural use of ye in verse 11 is indicative that Jesus foresaw this persecution as reaching all of His followers. However, this does not mean that all of His followers will suffer physical abuse, just that those who do will be blessed. 

Jesus went on to describe how Christians influence society. Just as salt is used to add flavoring, act as a preservative, melt coldness, and heal wounds, so also will Christ’s followers be used in the world. The term “lose its savor” refers to the saltiness of the salt — when it is lost, the salt is worthless. The same is true when Christians lose their savor.

Amplified Outline

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II.   The proclamations of the King
      B.   The call of the King’s disciples (4:18-22)
            1.   Peter and Andrew (4:18-20)
            2.   James and John (4:21-22)
      C.   The confirmation of the King (4:23-25)
            1.   The miracles of the King (4:23)
            2.   The fame of the King (4:24-25)
      D.   The message of the King
            1.   The inhabitants of the King’s kingdom (5:1-16)
                  a.   The characteristics of those in the kingdom (5:1-12)
                  b.   The influence of those in the kingdom (5:13-16)
                        (1)   As salt (5:13)
                        (2)   As light (5:14-16)

A Closer Look

  1. Jesus called two sets of brothers to be His disciples. What were their names?
     
  2. What is the result of true humility?
     
  3. How can you fully live the qualities shown in the Beatitudes as a witness to those with whom you come in contact?

Conclusion

When we possess each of the qualities listed in the Beatitudes, we will be as “salt” and flavor an unsavory world with the Gospel!

Reference Materials