Daily Devotional – The Beatitudes by Thomas Watson Part XXV

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Image Depicting Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount

The Beatitudes

by Thomas Watson

An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12 

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
“Blessed are those who are persecuted, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

Christian Meekness (Continued) 
Remembering the overall theme is meek people are blessed people.

Meekness towards MAN; Continued:

[4] Meekness is opposed to EVIL-SPEAKING. ‘Let all evil-speaking be put away’ (Ephesians 4:31). Our words should be mild, like the waters of Shiloah which run softly. It is too usual for passionate spirits to break out into opprobrious language. The tongues of many are fired, and it is the devil who lights the match. Therefore they are said in Scripture to be ‘set on fire of hell’ (James 3:6). Men have learned of the ‘old serpent, to spit their venom one at another in disgraceful revilings. ‘Whoever shall say, You fool, shall be in danger of hellfire’ (Matthew 5:22). Under that word ‘fool’, all vilifying terms are by our Savior forbidden. Let us take heed of this. It is hateful to God. God is not in this fire—but in the still small voice (1 Kings 19:12).

Some may say—but did not the apostle Paul call the Galatians ‘fools’? (Galatians 3:1). When Paul uttered those words, it was not by way of reproach—but reproof. It was not to defame the Galatians but to reclaim them; not to vilify them but to humble them. Paul was grieved to see them so soon fall into a relapse. Well might he say ‘foolish Galatians’ in a holy zeal, because they had suffered so much in the cause of religion, and now made a defection and fell off. ‘Have you suffered so many things in vain?’ (verse 4). But though Paul, guided by the Spirit of God, did give this epithet to the Galatians, it is no warrant for us when any have wronged us to use disgraceful terms. Meekness does not vent itself in reviling. It does not retaliate by railing.

‘Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a railing accusation; but said, The Lord rebuke you’ (Jude 9). Some understand by Michael, Christ—but more truly it is meant of one of the chief of the angels. The contest or dispute between the archangel and the devil was about the body of Moses. Some divines say that when God disposed of Moses’ body, he employed the archangel to inter him so secretly that his burying place might not be known. It is likely if his dead body had been found, the Israelites might have been ready in a preposterous zeal to have worshiped it. The devil opposes the archangel and contends about the dead body—but the archangel ‘dared not’, or, as some read it, he could not endure to ‘bring a railing accusation’. It seems the devil provoked him with evil language, and would fain have extorted passion from him—but the archangel was mild, and said only, ‘The Lord rebuke you’. The angel would not so much as rail against the devil. We may learn meekness of the archangel: ‘Not rendering railing for railing’ (1 Peter 3:9).

Not but that a Christian ought prudentially to clear himself from slanders. When the apostle Paul was charged to be mad, he vindicated himself. ‘I am not mad, most noble Festus’ (Acts 26:25). Though a Christian’s retorts must not be reviling, they may be vindicating. Though he may not scandalize another—yet he may defend himself. There must be Christian prudence, as well as Christian meekness. It is not mildness, but weakness—to part with our integrity (Job 27:6). To be silent when we are slanderously traduced, is to make ourselves appear guilty. We must so affect meekness, as not to lose the honor of innocence. It is lawful to be our own defenders. The fault lies only in this—when we retort injuries with reproachful terms, which is to pay a man back in the devil’s coin.

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