The poor will see and be glad
On the surface, this verse appears to be a simple statement of fact. In God’s time, the poor in spirit will see and be glad; those who seek Him will live! We know this to be true, it has been fulfilled in Yeshua. Is there anything more to be said?
We have defined the poor before, in Scripture the word does not usually refer to those who have little wealth, it means those who are humble, contrite and respectful before the Lord. Those who know who He is and what their place is before Him, those who have a right perspective on the greatness of their God, and the poverty of man. It is only when we lose sight of ourselves and our importance that we can truly see Him.
Numbers 12:3 tells us that Moses was a humble man, more humble than anyone else on earth. It was this quality that endeared him to God and led him to become an amazing leader of Israel and arguably their greatest prophet. Even today he is honoured for the Torah, the Law and the establishment of Israel. God needed a man who was “poor” and Moses was the only one who fitted the bill.
The verse tells us that in addition to spiritual poverty we need to be men and women who seek God. Have you thought about your own spiritual journey? Do you seek His wisdom or seek human knowledge? Do you seek His will or your own goals? Do you seek His glory or your enhanced reputation? Our Christian journey will be defined, not by our achievements but by our seeking after God. That is the key to life in Him! Hallelujah!
This will please the Lord
Do you remember those powerful words from Psalm 51:16-17, part of the prayer of the penitent David? “You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart you, God, will not despise.” Similar words were spoken by the prophet Samuel when King Saul heard that God had rejected him because of his disobedience. “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22.
We step forward in time to the horrors of Calvary and find Yeshua repeating similar sentiments before His Father. His absolute obedience to His Father’s will, His diligence in fulfilling the heavenly plan was far more satisfying to God than any animal sacrifice. This Jesus, who we revere, suffered a broken spirit. His heart was repentant and ashamed before God as He carried the weight of the world’s sin. And God did not despise Him, He was honoured and proud of His Son who was willing to step so low and to bear such grief. He was glorified by the full-hearted obedience of the Lamb who had willingly offered Himself for sacrifice in place of the ox and the bull. These animals would never need to be offered on the altar again, Yeshua had replaced them – willingly! Hallelujah!
I will praise God's name
The direction of this Psalm now changes dramatically. The woes are ended, and the victim now looks forward with hope, in the assurance that His cries have been heard and deliverance will eventually come. Isaiah 53:10-12 puts it like this: -
“Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore, I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors.”
I believe that Yeshua always knew that He would come through His ordeal. What He did not know was how much it would cost Him, how deep into darkness He must go, how alone He would find Himself and how terrifying the torments of death would be. He gave absolutely everything for us. He sacrificed every ounce of dignity, sanity and identity on that cross. He descended into the darkness of Hades and wrestled with the most powerful demons of Hell. He stared into the face of His Satanic enemy and then surrendered His Spirit to God. He did this as a man, not a supernatural being. He experienced the very darkest and most intense agonies in order to take the place of every man and woman who ever lived on this planet. It was only by so doing that He earned the right to be raised again to life. God’s plan and will must be fulfilled to the letter. “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross!”Philippians 2:8.
This same Jesus would rise to be exalted by God and He would again, “Sing God’s name in song and glorify Him with thanksgiving.”
Afflicted and in pain
What a heart cry this is! A broken, afflicted, and agonised heart cry. It was important for our Lord to know all of the deepest travails of the human soul, no man or woman who ever lived must be able to look at Him and say, “He didn’t suffer like I did.” Believe me, He went through every physical agony known to man, every mental anguish known to man and every spiritual conflict that mankind has ever faced. “Surely He took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered Him punished by God, stricken by Him, and afflicted.” Isaiah 53:4.
It seems to me that Yeshua must go to the extremes of every kind of human torment and affliction so that all people should know that He bore their pain and their suffering. As we have seen, this meant the pain of injustice and self-pity and vengeance. He must plummet into the lowest depths of human experience and be “pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities.” Isaiah 53:5. “By oppression and judgement, He was taken away.” Isaiah 53:8.
In the depths of this nightmare, our Lord pleaded with His Father, “May Your salvation, God, protect me.” He literally cried from the lowest point of this hellish experience, “May Your salvation raise me to a high, secure place.”
Not pleasant reading is it.
Blotted out of the book of life
We suggested. at the end of the last verse, that the sacrifice of the Lamb of God was not just brought about by the actions of a few bloodthirsty and misguided officials at around AD30! It happened because of you and me. These two verses help us to understand the mental torture of Yeshua as He wrestled with justice. Justice demanded that the perpetrators of the crime - the crucifixion of an innocent man, should be punished. The malevolent actions of the murderers should be brought to God’s attention and His justice demanded that they should be called to account. Justice therefore demanded that they should be charged with crime upon crime, that they should be removed from the plan of God’s salvation and that they should never share in the blessings of the righteous.
It would be easy to think that these thoughts in the mind of Yeshua were self-pitying, vengeful and unforgiving. I don’t think He was thinking any such thing. These verses have to do with the requirements of the Law. I think that our Lord was pondering the full extent of God’s justice and arguing with Himself, that charging the evil-doers under the Law would be the correct and legal outcome of the matter. But, if that were so, then we would all be charged with crime upon crime. We would all be outside of God’s salvation, and we would all be blotted out of the Book of Life. It is only because the Lord Jesus bore our punishment that we are saved. What a rescue mission this was!
It worked both ways
This verse makes a curious statement, it’s a kind of “who did what?” Remember that we understand these words to be accredited to the Lord Jesus as He suffered, and it takes a moment of concentration to establish who He is referring to. “They persecute” obviously speaks of the enemies, described in the previous verses, who brought about the trial and death of Yeshua. But their persecution was directed at the One who “you wound.” In other words, the arrest, abuse and ultimate death of our Lord was also convened by God Himself. While vile men carried out their demonic schemes, the Father of our Lord was giving His authorisation in heaven. No wonder Jesus cried, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” This is one of the enigmas of Scripture, that men’s behaviour appears to be motivated by wickedness, but it also fits into the purpose of God. In other words, we think we are in control of our destinies but God Himself is allowing things to unfold in a way that fits into His plan and purpose. So, evil men tortured the Son of God, but they were permitted to do this because it was part of heaven’s plan. As the mocking perpetrators of the death of Yeshua stood around the cross, they believed they were in full control of the situation but, this was also the will of the Father.
I find it hard to get my head around all of this, don’t you? What I do know is that if certain men and women are allowed to carry out acts of wickedness, then others of us have been called to do good. That is our purpose and we should not shirk away from it. Acts of obedience are important to our Father and He gives us every help to enable us to carry out the tasks that He has set. The other obvious conclusion to this debate is that to point a self-righteous finger at the men who were complicit in the suffering of Yeshua shows a complete lack of understanding. We all contributed to His crucifixion; He would not have been there if it were not for me!!
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