King Rehoboam was not a good king, but he did have a moment when he was poor in spirit. Though it was just one incident in the king’s life the principles are just as relevant for our learning as if he was a good king with an example of an exemplary life. King Rehoboam had established his kingdom but had walked away from God and His law. The LORD brought Shishack the king of Egypt up to attack Jerusalem. The prophet Shemaiah came to the leadership of Judah and announced God’s judgment. The leadership responded in a way that was poor in spirit and the Lord extended His grace to them as is recorded in 2 Chronicles 12:6-7, 12,
So the leaders of Israel and the king humbled themselves; and they said, “The LORD is righteous.” Now when the LORD saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah, saying, “They have humbled themselves; therefore I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance. My wrath shall not be poured out on Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak.” When he (King Rehoboam) humbled himself, the wrath of the LORD turned from him, so as not to destroy him completely; and things also went well in Judah. (NKJV)
The first thing to take note of is the response of the king and the leaders of Judah: they humbled themselves. Pride is what brought the nation to the brink of disaster. The King forsook God and His statutes and ran the kingdom in his own power. God set up the kingdom so that He was the ultimate leader and set His Word as the standard by which the kingdom was to be governed. The same is true of the kingdom of heaven, the possession of those poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3). Pride needs to be broken because it leads to the illusion that God’s Word is not all sufficient. “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, HCSB) A man poor in spirit humbles himself and recognizes that he does not know how to live in the blessing of God by himself, but he must study and live by the very words of the Lord.
The next thing to understand is the response of the LORD is righteous. The leaders recognized that the nation deserved to be judged. God’s righteousness needed to be satisfied for He is just (Deuteronomy 32:4; Job 34:17; and 1 John 1:9). Not only did the leaders recognize God’s righteousness, but they had to be humbled to see that they lacked any righteousness of their own. This recognition allows the Lord in His grace to cover their sins and avoid wrath and receive merciful deliverance due to their recognition of the sinfulness of their actions. A man poor in spirit sees himself as he is: apart from the grace of God a lost sinner deserving of judgment. He also sees himself as beloved of the Lord when he sees God as He is and walks in the grace of God by the power of His Holy Spirit.
A happy ending was the result of this humbling exercise for King Rehoboam and his court as things went well in Judah. The man poor in spirit walks in the blessings of God because he possesses the kingdom of heaven.
Spend time with the Lord in prayer today in full recognition that He wants to bless you by working in you the character of being poor in spirit. Thank Him for sending the Holy Spirit to indwell you and change your world by becoming poor in spirit. It is a blessing with eternal value because you become more like Him and will be able to experience Him in a much deeper way.