The Glory Of The Humble Man
This week I have been thinking about an interesting passage in the book of Jeremiah. When the Babylonians besieged and captured Jerusalem it was a dark time for most everybody. The King had to watch his sons killed in front of him. He then had his eyes plucked out and was taken captive to Babylon. The nobles and most of the people were also captured and taken into captivity far from their homeland. Jeremiah had warned them for years to shape up or else suffer this fate. There is strangely one group that actually benefitted from the captivity…the poorest in the land. Jeremiah 39:10 records that the poorest were given the vineyards and fields of all the land. While this may sound strange it was actually important for the Babylonians to keep the land cultivated. Can you imagine suddenly having productive vineyards and fields when before you had nothing? I believe this concept foreshadows the coming Kingdom of God.
In His Sermon on the Mount Jesus speaks of the reversal of fortunes for the poor in spirit, those that mourn, the gentle and harmless, those hungering and thirsting for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and the persecuted (Matt. 5:3-12). These groups might traditionally be looked down upon or disregarded but in the Kingdom of God they were going to have their deepest needs fulfilled. The Kingdom belongs to the poorest. What an amazing blessing! If we have a true understanding of the consequences of our sin we will understand that all of us were completely poor and helpless without God’s help.
James also writes about this reversal of fortunes for the downtrodden. “But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position” (James 1:9). One may wonder how a poor man could be said to be in a high position. The answer is of course that the spiritual blessings found in Jesus elevate to poorest pauper to being a child of the king of the universe. Paul wrote, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3).
The truth is we may often feel like things are tough here on earth. Struggles with debt, job loss, high medical bills and home repairs, and much more can make us feel like we can’t get ahead. Our health and social relationships may not be the best either. Even if everything is going wrong and you feel desperate it is important to remember your spiritual wealth. Jesus reminded the brethren in Smyrna, “I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich)…” (Rev. 2:9). Even if you are a loser by worldly standards you can be a winner in Christ. We will inherit a spiritually fruitful land where we had none before, just as the poorest of Jerusalem did in a physical way. “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Cor. 9:15).