Day 3 — Tuesday, March 7th
Scripture reading: Matthew 5:1–12
“1 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: 3 ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.’” (ESV)
Main idea: Jesus turns the meaning of favor upside down.
It is important at the start of this “40-Days of God’s Favor” focus to have a biblical understanding of favor and to beware of a semi-worldly understanding. In the Beatitudes of Matthew 5 Jesus pronounces a different sort of blessedness than what God promised Israel in Deuteronomy 28:1–14, which we looked at yesterday. Jesus does not equate being blessed with having everything go just the way you want in this world.
There is nothing wrong with having everything go well or having material abundance, as long as you don’t set your heart on it and hoard it and make material prosperity your ultimate concern in life (see 3 John 1:2 and 1 Timothy 6:5–12; 17–19).
But Jesus equates blessedness with spiritual virtues and spiritual, eternal rewards, over rewards in the here and now. In fact, people of this world may think little of a person whom God has highly favored. If you are a believer in Jesus and follow him, if you love his Scriptures and follow them, if you are a godly person, our gracious God has shown you great favor! No matter what your material circumstances and station in this world, you are highly blessed!
Declarations: I thank God for his favor in material things, for they are necessary; but I value God’s favor in spiritual things as my greatest treasure. I am spiritually blessed in every way in Christ. Christ himself is my greatest reward.