Daily Devotion Friday August 11, 2017
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“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
The beatitudes—eight sayings of blessedness by the Lord Jesus makes an opening to a long sermon on the mount which runs through Matthew 5, 6 and 7. In the first saying, Jesus proclaimed; “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God.” Following this is the second beatitude:
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matt. 5:4).
According to the Meriam Webster dictionary to mourn is “to feel or express grief or sorrow” and or, “to show the customary signs of grief for death.” For example, in my culture, when death occurs in a family, those close to the deceased who mourn used to shave their head—it was a sign of mourning, a sign for grief for the death of a loved one. In the Bible, there are many instances in which the Israelites mourned; for example, after Jacob also called Israel died, the Hebrews mourned him for seventy days.
If to mourn is to express or to feel grief or sorrow especially for the death of a loved one, how then can a grieving person be blessed by just an act of comfort? Can one deliberately cause grieving moments to receive comfort and be blessed? What did Jesus really mean by saying; “Blessed are those who mourn, they will be comforted? Putting this verse in a different version, The Amplified Bible states “Blessed [forgiven, refreshed by God’s grace] are those who mourn [over their sins and repent], for they will be comforted [when the burden of sin is lifted]” (Matt. 5:4 AMP).
The above paraphrase might give us a good starting point to understand what Jesus meant. It is likely that Jesus’ reference to “mourn” here is not just limited to grieving over the loss of a dear one, it largely refers to showing sorrow for sin—to grief over ones’ sins or to mourn over both personal or corporate sins. During Ezra’s reformation, when the people were found guilty of intermarriages with women from foreign nations, the people grieved or mourned over their unfaithfulness. When Ezra heard that the people disobeyed God by marrying from the surrounding nations he grieved or mourned. He writes;
“When I heard this, I tore my tunic and cloak, pulled hair from my head and beard and sat down appalled. Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel gathered around me because of this unfaithfulness of the exiles. And I sat there appalled until the evening sacrifice” (Ezra 9:3-4).
Putting this text in the context of mourning over sin which should bring repentance, forgiveness and subsequently joy in worship, Robert Deffinbaugh writes:
“Mourning is the appropriate response to sin, and the appropriate manifestation of mourning is repentance. But there is the other side of the coin. Just as mourning is the appropriate response to sin, so worship is the appropriate response to the perfections of God. It would be wrong to experience and confront sin and not mourn, but it is just as wrong to come face to face with the perfections of God and not worship… our mourning because of the occasion of sin is what makes our joy and our rejoicing greater because our salvation takes us from its consequences”—Robert.
Blessed are those who mourn, those who feel sorrowful over sin and repent of their sins, for they are blessed because their sins will be forgiven (1 Jn. 1:8-9). Blessed are those who like the psalmist mourn because of wickedness, the psalmist writes of his mourning for wickedness: “Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for your law is not obeyed” (Psalm 119:136). Time is coming when the Lord Jesus will “wipe every tear from their eyes [those who mourn]. There will be no more… mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Rev. 21:4). Rev. J
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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture Quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version (NIV) 2011.
Rev. Julius Izza Tabi is the founding Director of this online New Dawn Ministries. He holds a Master of Philosophy in Religion, Society and Global Issues from the Norwegian School of Theology. Julius also is a pastor in the Anglican Diocese of Ma’di and West Nile of the Church of Uganda who believes that God’s timeless truth of salvation must be preached to all Nations. Help Donate here to support the New Dawn Ministries. You can also support this ministry by purchasing Julius’ popular books Triumphing Over Odds and Suffering and Pain? from Amazon. Thank you.