Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.
The meek encourage others, lifting them up to their highest level of success, and thereby they themselves enjoy all things God has created.
God’s basis of choice is contrary to human reasoning. God chooses on the basis of the inward attitude of the heart; human reasoning leads us to look on the outside. God, of course, sees what we cannot, but there is still a different perspective and priority to His choice. When He is deciding to bless us or not one of the key ingredients that God looks for in our souls is the spirit of meekness.
Meekness is a much misunderstood trait. It is not weakness nor a blatant widespread surrender of rights, but a specific submission to God and thereby to others. Christ was the perfect picture of meekness (Matthew 11:29), He was obedient to the plan of the Father, emptying Himself of His glory and going all the way to the cross. He graciously accepted injustice at the hands of sinful men to accomplish our salvation.
Yet it is very different to imagine that Christ thought He deserved the injustice He received. Christ challenged the injustice of a guard’s slap when he was questioned before the high priest, “If I said something wrong testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?” (John 18:23) The author of Hebrews wrote that Christ despised the shame of the cross (Hebrews 12:2) knowing it was unfitting for Him.
Barnes wrote that meekness is “the opposite of sudden anger, of malice, of long-harbored vengeance.” Meekness is kin to humility. It is the willingness to accept one’s situation in life and to live without pretense and without anger. In the context of the faith it is surrender to God, to His will and to His word. It is a life that takes no shortcuts to maturity. It is strength under God’s authority. As a horse is willing to place his power under the will of the rider, so the meek let God turn them the way He wills.
The meek have every reason to be enthusiastic about their prospects, for Christ says they will inherit the earth.
The meek inherit the earth in at least three senses. First, there is the promise of Scripture of a future time when Christ shall reign on this earth and His people shall reign with Him (Revelation 20:4-6), dispensing justice with hearts and minds that are completely submissive to the will of Christ. Second, there is the sense that the meek, and we may consider them the teachable ones among us, who are willing to sit at the feet of the wise and humbly learn, that they become more here on this earth than many of those who think so proudly of themselves. Humility and meekness are requirements for any real success.
Third, there is the sense that the meek whose hearts are surrendered to God are the only ones who really see things as they really are and who truly enjoy life. They inherit the earth in the sense that they enjoy the beauty of creation. It does a man little good to own a beautiful piece of land if he has not the meekness of heart to enjoy it as a creation of God. Their hearts are with God in heaven but they are possessors of all that their heavenly Father has made.
I recall a scene on a sports field where a parent angrily berated his child for some mistake in play and made the child feel ashamed and unworthy. Then I turned my gaze to a family with a child with cerebral palsy in a wheel chair at the same sporting event, who had come to see his sibling play. This family with peace and graciousness endured and accepted their circumstance, they personified meekness and their example lifted up others and refreshed all around them.
Tonight let’s ask ourselves, as the Spirit guides us, where we need to apply meekness in our lives.
Where am I bitter about life? Where has forgiveness been neglected and unforgiveness held on to?
Where do I need to become more teachable? Less angry? Less irritable?
Have I been guilty of putting others down out of fear that they would steal some of the limelight that I want to be mine?
Where do I need to let go of my temper and accept things as they are?
Who have I been jealous of? Have I hurt others with my words just for the sake of my own pride or out of envy?
Am I guilty of exaggerating my successes and blaming others for my failures?
Am I afraid of living under the authority of God? Am I more concerned with outward appearances than inward spiritual realities?
Am I guilty of living in pretense and trying to take shortcuts to meaningful success?
What are circumstances I need to accept, people I need to accept as they are?
Am I constantly argumentative with others, or do I assert my rights above the rights of others?
Lord, teach us to surrender our hearts to Your will and our minds to Your word, to live without bitterness and pretense, and to live with hope. Your hands are strong, faithful, righteous, protecting, and there is no fear in those who place themselves entirely in them. Amen.