To be really blessed - 23 August 2019

Ben Fourie

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3 (NIV)

A new phase in the ministry and preaching of Jesus started in chapter 5 of the Gospel according to Matthew. In verse 2 we read that He started his task as a teacher. From now on he would be Rabboni. He wanted his followers to understand what his message was all about. In chapters 5 to 7 he delivered what is called the Sermon on the Mount. In this he explained many things, especially how the Law that was well known among the Jews should really be interpreted. His teaching is not so much about transgressing the Law but against hypocrisy. He did not come to cancel the Law but to fulfill it.

The Sermon on the Mount starts with eight beatitudes. There is a ninth one in verse 11 but it has a different tonality. The word that is translated as “blessed” can also mean “very fortunate” or “it goes well with”. The same idea is present in Psalm 1:1. The essence of the beatitudes is that we are blessed or it goes well with us when it is not about the literal interpretation of the Law but when it is about the God of the Law.

To be blessed means to know that I am not always so smart as I think I am, to know that I have sinned, to know that I am poor and naked before the Lord. It goes well with us when we cry over our sins and know we will be comforted. I am not blessed when I have won the argument with my spouse, my child, my employee, but I am blessed when I am willing to humble myself. To be really happy and blessed is when the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing, and when we are seeking God's kingdom and his righteousness first and foremost.

Prayer: Please help me to live in such a way that I can enjoy your blessing every day. Amen

My soul glorifies the Lord - 22 August 2019

Ben Fourie

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.“ Luke 1:46-47 (NIV)

In one of his books called ‘Sieners van die More’, the Afrikaans author, IL. De Villiers wrote a beautiful piece about Mary the mother of Jesus. What interested him was what went through her mind after the angel told her that she was to be the mother of the Son of God. Probably speechless and wondering how she was going to explain it to her fiancé, her parents, the extended family and to her religious community. Maybe she tried, said de Villiers: ‘It is God’s own son Joseph. We must rejoice. There really was an angel’, but what is the chance that anybody would belief such an explanation. The Bible tells us that Joseph also found it a farfetched story and decided to break off the engagement.

But Mary knew there was an angel, Mary knew that something out of the ordinary was going on and she made haste to carry out the angel’s instruction to visit her relative Elizabeth who was also pregnant with the baby that was to become John the Baptist. He was the one who was called to pave the way for the Messiah. When these two women got together and realized that God has touched them in a miraculous way, they each sang a song. Mary’s song of praise touches the heart because of the humbleness of her person and the beautiful simplicity of the words.

Right from the beginning Mary is almost invisible in the background while God is in the foreground all the time. Mary praised his greatness, calling Him the Mighty One. He is the one who: “… has filled the hungry with good things”. The only time that she comes into the picture is to praise God for being her Saviour who “has been mindful” of her humble state. Yes she is the mother of the Messiah but when she said that all generations will call her blessed, it is not because she is Mary, but because God “has done great things for me - holy is his name.”

Prayer: Dear Lord help me to give all praise to you. Amen

Gelukkig voor die Here - 23 Augustus 2019

Ben Fourie

“Geseënd is die wat geestelik arm is, want aan hulle behoort die koninkryk van die hemele.” Matteus 5:3 (BDV)

Vanaf Matteus 5 gaan Jesus se prediking ’n nuwe fase binne. In vers 2 lees ons dat Hy nou begin om sy taak as leermeester te doen. Hy word dus nou werklik Rabboenie. Sy volgelinge moet verstaan waaroor sy leer gaan. In hoofstukke 5 tot 7 lewer Hy sy grootse “bergrede” waartydens Hy verduidelik hoe die wet wat hulle as Jode baie goed geken het, geleef moes word. Sy woorde is nie soseer oor oortredings van die wet nie, maar gerig teen skyngehoorsaamheid soos die Bybel met Verklarende Aantekening dit baie goed stel. Sy koms is nie om die wet af te skaf nie, maar om inhoud daaraan te gee.

Die bergrede begin met agt sogenaamde “saligsprekinge”. Die negende “salig” in vers 11 het ’n ander inslag en toonaard. Die woord “salig” word in die 1983-vertaling en "Die Bybel: 'n Direkte Vertaling" met “geseënd” vertaal. Dieselfde begrip kom in Psalm 1:1 voor en word met ”gelukkig” of “dit gaan goed met” vertaal. Die woord beteken na my mening iets van al bogenoemde. Ons is geseënd en in ons hart gelukkig en dit gaan goed met ons wanneer dit nie oor die letter van die wet gaan nie, maar oor die God agter die wet en dit kom tot uitdrukking in die agt dinge wat Jesus sê.

Om gelukkig voor die Here te wees is as ek diep binnekant weet ek is nie regtig so wonderlik soos wat ek dalk dink ek is nie, dat ek weet dat ek verkeerd doen, dat ek kaal en arm voor God staan. Geluk is die rou huil oor my sonde, want dan wag die troos. Geluk is nie wanneer ek die geveg gewen het en my lewensmaat, my kind, my ondergeskikte, die onderspit laat delf het nie. Geluk is om ter wille van die vrede die minste te wees en so kan ons voortgaan met al agt. Geluk is daar waar die regterhand nie weet wat die linkerhand doen nie en waar ons altyd eers die koninkryk van God sal soek, want dan sal ons werklik saligheid ervaar.

Gebed: Help ons om so te leef dat ons ook u saligheid elke dag kan beleef.

Ek besing die grootheid van die Here - 22 Augustus 2019

Ben Fourie

“Ek besing die grootheid van die Here, ek juig oor God my Verlosser…” Lukas 1:46-47

In sy boek ‘Sieners van die Môre’ skryf I.L. de Villiers ‘n pragtige hoofstuk getiteld ‘God se kind’ waarin hy wonder oor hoe dit vir Maria moes gewees het nadat die engel aan haar die boodskap gebring het dat sy uitgekies is om die moeder van God se Seun te word. Verstom waarskynlik en hoe verduidelik jy so iets aan jou verloofde, jou ouers, jou uitgebreide familie, die godsdiensgemeenskap waarin jy grootgeword het. Dalk, sê De Villiers, het sy probeer verduidelik; “Dis God se kind, Josef. Ons moet bly wees. Daar was ’n engel …”, maar wat is die kans dat enigiemand so ‘n verduideliking sou aanvaar. Die Bybel sê ook vir ons dat dit vir Josef na ’n verregaande storie geklink het, want volgens Matteus het hy besluit om die verlowing stilweg te verbreek.

Maar Maria weet daar was ‘n engel, Maria weet dat hier iets heeltemal buite die gewone aan die gang was en sy haas haar na aanleiding van die engel se opdrag na haar familielid Elizabeth. Die was ook swanger met die baba wat later as Johannes die Doper die pad vir Jesus sou voorberei. Wanneer hierdie twee vroue bymekaarkom en besef dat God op ’n wonderbaarlike manier in hulle lewens ingegryp het, sing hulle elkeen ’n lied. Dit is veral Maria se loflied tot God wat ‘n mens tref, juis vanweë die nederigheid van die persoon en die pragtige eenvoud van haar woorde.

Dwarsdeur die lied staan Maria vêr op die agtergrond en is dit God wat op die voorgrond is. Maria besing sy grootheid, sy magtigheid, sy ontferming, sy kragtige dade, sy barmhartigheid. Die kere wat sy self in die prentjie kom, is dit om te juig omdat Hy haar Verlosser is, omdat Hy haar in haar geringheid raakgesien het en wanneer sy sê dat geslag na geslag haar gelukkig sal noem, is dit “omdat Hy wat magtig is groot dinge aan my gedoen het.”

Moeder van die Messias, maar nie sy self in die kollig nie, want soos sy in vers 49 sê: “Heilig is sy Naam.”

Gebed: Liewe Vader help my dat ek my eie ek nie so dikwels in die kollig wil sien nie, maar liewer soos Maria al die eer aan U sal gee. Amen

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