Continued from Part 2…
Now that Jesus showed the spiritual value of “godly mourning”, He continues on in verse 5 to speak about the meek…
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is to incorrectly define “meekness”, as “weakness.” This is possibly because, in the original King James translation of the Bible, it describes Moses as the meekest man on the face of the earth. I find “meekness” described this way in the New Testament:
Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men…Titus 3:1-2
This is an instruction to the heirs of grace—the believers and followers of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. The “weak” are not likely to be able to have this grace in control, especially under circumstances that push one’s patience. We can’t even imagine the pressure that Moses was under while trying to lead 2-6 million people who complained and challenged him at every step for forty years in the desert! Yet, the Bible says that he was “meek”. Many times the word “meek” is interchangeable with “humble” as it is in the passage in the Old Testament book of Numbers below. God had it recorded in the Bible with these words:
…now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth. Numbers 12:3
The meek are those who quietly submit themselves to God, to His written Word, to God’s correction, His plan and agenda, and makes it a point to be gentle towards all men. This is a person who can bear being provoked without easily being offended and having to provoke in return. He is a person who can respond with a soft answer; can show his disagreement without allowing an ungodly response. This is a person who can stay cool tempered when others are losing their tempers. It is brotherly kindness, patience, and longsuffering that is the controlling factor over their emotions. Some of us would say, “Impossible!”, but really, it is not! It is their own patience and God’s love for their fellow man working through them that prevails. The “meek” are rarely provoked, and when they are, yet, they easily accept a peaceful solution. The truly meek person is someone who will forgive again and again without ever wanting to find a way of revenge. The meek are not ruled by their soulish emotions, they rule them instead.
The meek ones above are described as “happy”— even in this fallen world. Why are they blessed? They show the same meekness as their Master, Jesus. Aren’t we instructed to learn of Him? Later in the Book of Matthew we find these words written for us to learn from:
“Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29
This is a rare quality in a world where everyone is taught to fight for their position in life. In today’s world we are also overwhelmed with the “need” to find our own identity and build our self-esteem. We as a society have become so sensitive to this that western colleges are providing “safe spaces” where their students can escape the contrary opinions of others on the issues of the day. Have we become so weak that we cannot even tolerate hearing opinions from others that do not coincide with our own? This weakness has no resemblance to Biblical meekness.
A truly meek person knows who he is as a child of God. He does not need to compete with anyone, and he does not need to have his self-esteem or identity boosted through his relationship with anyone on this earth. He also does not need to prove his value or worth through a position of authority or power he would like to gain in this world’s system. Being a child of God gives him all the identity or worth that he needs or ever will need. This person is fit to live, and he is fit to die. His entire eternal destiny is trusted into the hands of the One who has called him to live in the slot of time he has put him into. If His Master wants to elevate him for an eternal purpose, that is good. If His Master chooses to keep him in a debased state for His own purposes, that is also good. Whatever brings honor and glory to the Eternal God, His Lord, is all that matters. In the end, this is what brings whatever reward is due him at the end of his earthly sojourn. That is truly being “meek”. We are given a very good passage in the Book of James that speaks of Godly wisdom having the attribute of meekness.
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and like against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3:13-18
Jesus said the meek would inherit the earth and yet in our fallen world, there is a continuous competition for ownership of anything that can be gained for oneself. The ownership of land is something desired by most people, and in many places on the planet today that is nearly impossible. The world population is becoming more and more urban centered. Most people who live in large cities have no opportunity to own land; in fact, most won’t ever own their own house and live in cramped apartments. Even in rural areas, private ownership of farms is becoming increasingly rare.
But, I think what Jesus is speaking of here is much more far-reaching. Inheriting the earth is speaking of something much greater than ownership of property. Could it have to do with a contentment in life that has a two-fold promise; one for this life, and also one for our life eternal? I believe so. Here is what is I see included in this short Scripture:
The Apostle Paul taught about contentment in all situations. Part of being meek is being humble enough to accept situations and circumstances from the hand of God. These words are found in Paul’s letter to the Philippians:
…I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11b-13
If my outlook on life is only focused on this temporal life, I will have a much greater drive to gain possessions, money, recognition, position of authority, or any of the other things that gives a man “status.” But, if my outlook is one that is submitted to the will of my heavenly Father in heaven, my circumstance or situation here does not matter near as much. I will remember that I am only passing through on my way to a much greater place and much greater existence than what one can experience here. The reward for having lived a faithful life on this earth will far outweigh anything we suffered lack of in this life.
There is something about those who live at peace with themselves and with God. The peace they experience affects the very atmosphere around their person and around their dwelling. Science also proves that a contented mind and soul also promotes physical health. Many human diseases are aggravated by bitterness, unforgiveness, anger, resentment, and desire for vengeance for wrongs experienced from others. The world ridicules a temperate meek spirit, but God puts high value on it. All the blessedness of heaven above and all the blessings of earth beneath, are the portion of the meek.
One thing that Jesus made clear in His teaching to the people. Human emotions and reactions to life’s challenges are meant to be under the control of the Godly person. Some additional Scripture referring to the subject is found in 2 Peter 2:
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust, but also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble, for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 2:2-11
That passage makes it abundantly clear that God has given us the divine power we need in order to live by the example set for us by Jesus, both in everything that has to do with our earthly life and also for living a godly life. As true followers of Jesus Christ we are not victims to our fallen nature. God has provided the way to overcome in all areas of life. This is why we read so often in Revelation chapters 2 and 3, the words, “Blessed are the overcomers…”
We will next look at what Jesus had to say about those who hunger and thirst after righteousness…
To Be Continued in Part Four