Poor in Spirit and Smashing Pumpkins

Poor in Spirit and Smashing Pumpkins

There are two types of people.

To fit it into the rest of the Sermon on the Mount, there are two roads. One is wide, there are a lot of people on it, and it leads to destruction. There is, however, the road that leads to life. Few find it. If Jeremiah and the Sermon on the Mount were merged together, those that are on the wide road, with many companions, are like this song. They are clawing around in the dirt, with the grime of sin and sweat of transgression all over them. There are many. One's digging often gets in the way of someone else's. They get trampled. People start clawing each other, inflicting wounds and scars to get ahead. Jeremiah says that these people have forsaken God, the fountain of living waters, and have gone digging around in the dirt for water in cisterns that will never be able to hold any. They are broken, unable to bring satisfaction.

As I thought about how to illustrate this, I remembered a Smashing Pumpkins Video from back in the day.

"Despite all my rage, I'm still just a rat in the cage"

was a line from Bullet with Butterfly Wings. Sadly, the song & music video perfectly paints this picture of Jeremiah 2:13. Lead singer, Billy Corgan, even references Jesus, but concludes: "I still believe that I cannot be saved." Sad.

Poor in spirit, on the other hand, is one that is still in the pit. They still have the grime and sweat. Instead of clawing and digging, they put the shovel down. They fall to their knees, recognizing that there is nothing--no willpower, no scheming, no education, nothing--that will be able to rescue them from this cage.


In desperation, with their head bowed low, they extend a hand upward. There is no hope within them. Their efforts have only gotten them further in the muck. They can't save themselves. They need a savior, someone to pull them out. There, sitting in the pit with mud, blood, and grime caked and baked on their skin they extend their hand in the air.  Someone has made them realize, though everyone else around them is still clawing, someone has made caught their attention.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

The Lord then pulls a Psalm 40. He was the one that got their attention. He is the one that reaches down into the muck. He is the one that pulls them out and sets their feet upon the sure footing of the rock. Though they've dug out cisterns that can hold no water, He leads them to the fountain of living waters. He embraces them. He changes them. He washes them. He clothes their nakedness. He anoints them, puts cologne or perfume on them. He welcomes them to a table.

Scripture says that He is near to the brokenhearted, though he is the high and lifted one. The one to whom God will look is has a contrite heart, one who trembles at His word. 

When was the last time that you recognized your poverty in spirit?


Special thanks to Alexander Lam on Unsplash for the cover art.


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