Tragedies become stepping stones to the heart of God and His comfort
Click here to read the Part 1 of “The Blessed Woman.”
Those who mourn (v. 4) echoed Isaiah 61:1. The meaning cannot be confined to sorrow over sin. Again the reader finds the paradox since most people do not recognize sorrow as a blessing. Followers of Christian Science even deny the existence of physical illness and suffering. Yet sorrow and death will always be present. Still this Beatitude does not suggest that physical suffering or loss of a loved one or any other tragedy of life would bring blessing merely as a payment for grief. Spiritual mourning indicates a sensitive consciousness of sin and an accompanying sorrow because of that sin (Jms 4:9). Those who mourn recognize who they are; they see purpose in sorrow and suffering; they allow that sorrow to give glory to God. Tragedies become stepping stones to the heart of God and His comfort (Ps 63:6-8; 77:2-6). Greif prompted by the sin itself, rather than only by the consequences of the sin that might have affected you adversely, produces sanctified sorrow. They will be comforted (Gk paraklethesontai, “encourage, console, cheer up,” from the same root as parakletos, “the one called alongside” and the name identifying the Holy Spirit). The Holy Spirit enables you to cry out for help because He not only brings conviction but also awakens within you sorrow over sin (Jn 16:7-11). As the believer mourns over her sin, the Holy Spirit who abides within does His work to give comfort and joy and enables her to persevere, even in the midst of sorrow and suffering. The Greek verb is in the passive voice and the future tense, implying not only assurance for the present but also security for the future. The cycle of comfort will be continuous because the Holy Spirit dwells now and forever in the believer’s heart. The blessedness should not be construed as coming from the path of sorrow itself but from the comfort accompanying the believer in the journey (2Co 1:3-4).
The gentle (Gk praeis, “humble, meek,” v. 5) were not the weak or cowardly. They were those who, under the pressures of life, had learned to bend their wills and to set aside their own notions as they stood before the greatness and grace of God. They were characterized by humble trust rather than arrogant independence as they exercised self-control of life and actions, submitting to the authority of Christ. Your focus must move from dependence on your own gifts and abilities to genuine dependence upon God. In humble recognition of her sinfulness, the believer has emptied her life and now stands before the Lord, seeking to please and serve Him by cheerfully obeying His commands and graciously submitting to the authorities God has placed in her life. Again the paradox is clear: The world associates gentleness with weakness, but in God’s eyes strength characterizes the one who harnesses her life in order to maintain God-control. Gentle self-control prepares the way for God-control. Just as inheritance of the land was an expression of God’s intervention and deliverance for Israel (Dt 4:1; 16:20), to inherit the earth was a temporal manifestation of the heavenly kingdom to come and another way to express God’s sovereign rule. Enjoying that inheritance is possible because of a God-given spirit of contentment (Ps 37:16; Pr 15:16).
Excerpt from Dorothy Kelley Patterson, “The Blessed Woman,” in The Study Bible for Women (Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 2014), 1247.