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“Have you forgotten the wickedness of your fathers, the wickedness of the kings of Judah, and the wickedness of their wives, your own wickedness, and the wickedness of your wives, which they committed in the land of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?  But they have not become contrite even to this day, nor have they feared nor walked in My law or in My statutes, which I have set before you and before your fathers.”  Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, “Behold, I am going to set My face against you for woe, even to cut off all Judah.”  (NASB, Emphasis added)

Jeremiah is declaring that God is going to bring judgment upon the nation because they have not humbled themselves in repentance and sought the Lord with a reverent fear and have not walked in the laws of God.  If the people of the nation would take on the character of being poor in spirit and humble themselves they would escape judgment; but that they did not do.  We can learn from the poor example set by the nation in Jeremiah’s time.

They have not become contrite.  The starting point given by God to escape judgment is to become contrite and humbled.  Why is this so important?  The man or nation that is not humble is driven by his own pride.  With pride on the throne where is God?  God is nowhere to be found in the life of the person who is not humble.  When man is separated from the Lord his sins cannot be covered and that results in judgment for him.  The man who is humble recognizes both his own sinful condition in which he allows the Lord to rid him of, and he also sees God as He is and the desire to submit to the will of the loving Father is so strong that he submits to God’s plan.  The man who is poor in spirit has the character that is humble, and as such judgment is never his concern.

Then Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart – he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem – so the LORD’s wrath didn’t come on them during Hezekiah’s lifetime.  (2 Chronicles 32:26)

Nor have they feared.  The second point made by God to escape judgment is that having the fear of the Lord is required to avoid judgment.  Why is this so important?  Without the fear of the Lord there is no wisdom and no desire to walk with Him.  The opposite holds true for those who fear the Lord: there reverence for God gives them a desire to not to displease Him and to walk closer to Him.  We have seen in many places that fearing the Lord is a natural characteristic of the man who is poor in spirit.

The reverent fear and worship of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom and skill [the preceding and the first essential, the prerequisite and the alphabet]; a good understanding, wisdom, and meaning have all those who do {the will of the Lord].  Their praise of Him endures forever.  (Psalm 111:10, Amplified)           

Nor walked in My law or My statutes.  The last point presented by God to escape judgment is by walking in His law and statutes.  Why is this so important?  His law and statutes show you His plan for your life; they tell you how you should live.  This too is a natural characteristic of the man poor in spirit.

And keep your obligation to the LORD your God to walk in His ways and to keep His statutes, commands, ordinances, and decrees.  This is written in the law of Moses, so that you have success in everything you do and wherever you turn.  (1 Kings 2:3, HCSB)

We as Believers are far removed from judgment, but we can learn these principles as they help us become poor in spirit.  The three principles to apply to our life are (1) to be humble; (2) to fear the Lord; and to follow God’s Word.  Set your heart to apply these principles to your life and pray that the Holy Spirit is allowed to implement His plan concerning them.

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