Anytime you read a story or watch a movie, typically you can find a few similar ideas threading through the various aspects of the narrative. Typically this is by design so the writer can convey the entirety of their story in a few basic ideas for people to process.
One of the amazing aspects of scripture is how over thousands of years and during differing world views and politics, the bible has several of these major “meta-narratives” winding through the histories, prophecies, and even personal letters.
A key aspect of God’s character in scripture is found in the gospel reading of the week in Luke 6. The poor are rich. The high will be brought low. The meek will inherit the earth. The weak are the strong.
God seems disinterested in the power plays of men and the many ways we chase wealth. In scripture the most powerful are the most humble and even vulnerable.
This week we will explore where blessings really come from. How do we discover contentment and joy outside of getting more stuff? What does security look like? When will we ever find true peace in our lives?
So to begin this week we ask you:
What does it mean to be truly blessed?
Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said,
“God blesses you who are poor,
for the Kingdom of God is yours.
God blesses you who are hungry now,
for you will be satisfied.
God blesses you who weep now,
for in due time you will laugh.
What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man. When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, their ancestors treated the ancient prophets that same way.
“What sorrow awaits you who are rich,
for you have your only happiness now.
What sorrow awaits you who are fat and prosperous now,
for a time of awful hunger awaits you.
What sorrow awaits you who laugh now,
for your laughing will turn to mourning and sorrow.
What sorrow awaits you who are praised by the crowds,
for their ancestors also praised false prophets.
“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. Do to others as you would like them to do to you.
Daniel 7:1-3, 15-18
Earlier, during the first year of King Belshazzar’s reign in Babylon, Daniel had a dream and saw visions as he lay in his bed. He wrote down the dream, and this is what he saw.
In my vision that night, I, Daniel, saw a great storm churning the surface of a great sea, with strong winds blowing from every direction. Then four huge beasts came up out of the water, each different from the others.
I, Daniel, was troubled by all I had seen, and my visions terrified me. So I approached one of those standing beside the throne and asked him what it all meant. He explained it to me like this: “These four huge beasts represent four kingdoms that will arise from the earth. But in the end, the holy people of the Most High will be given the kingdom, and they will rule forever and ever.”
Praise the Lord!
Sing to the Lord a new song.
Sing his praises in the assembly of the faithful.
O Israel, rejoice in your Maker.
O people of Jerusalem, exult in your King.
Praise his name with dancing,
accompanied by tambourine and harp.
For the Lord delights in his people;
he crowns the humble with victory.
Let the faithful rejoice that he honors them.
Let them sing for joy as they lie on their beds.
Let the praises of God be in their mouths,
and a sharp sword in their hands—
to execute vengeance on the nations
and punishment on the peoples,
to bind their kings with shackles
and their leaders with iron chains,
to execute the judgment written against them.
This is the glorious privilege of his faithful ones.
Praise the Lord!
Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.
God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.
Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere, I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.
I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.