Blessed are the Meek (Matthew 5:5)
The story is told that one day a young Benjamin Franklin made a surprise visit to the home of Cotton Mather. As Franklin was leaving, Mather shouted at him, “Stoop, stoop!” But, it was too late. Franklin had struck his head on the low door frame. Mather said to Franklin, “You are young, and have the world before you; stoop as you go through it, and you will miss many hard thumps.” Later, Franklin wrote, “I often think of [Mather’s words] when I see pride mortified, and misfortunes brought upon people by their carrying their heads too high.”
We, too, need to stoop as we go through life; we must be a people willing to stoop, willing to be humble. Romans 12:3. 1 Peter 5:5.
Christians view meekness quite differently than does the world. The world views meekness as weakness, allowing individuals to walk all over you. However, true meekness is found in strength rather than weakness. John Milton referred to the “invisible might of meekness.”
- “Gentleness” is part of the fruit of the Spirit” (Gal 5:23). Paul, inspired of the Spirit, writes that the Spirit produces gentleness in our lives, but Paul was not a man you walked all over. When Paul withstood Peter to his face (Gal 2:11-14), I doubt Peter would have said that you could walk all over Paul. When Paul offered to come to the Corinthians with a rod (1 Cor 4:21), I seriously doubt the Corinthians would have said that they could walk all over Paul.
- Numbers 12:3. While Moses was the meekest man on the face of the earth, it’s certainly the case that you didn’t walk all over Moses. The morning Pharaoh awoke to find his firstborn son dead, I doubt seriously that Pharaoh would have said that he could walk all over Moses.
- The Lord Jesus spoke the words we’re studying this morning, but you didn’t walk all over Jesus. When Jesus entered the temple and cleansed it, I doubt the money changers would have said that Jesus could be walked all over. When Jesus referred to the scribes and Pharisees as hypocrites, none of them would have said that Jesus could be walked all over.
This third Beatitude deals with humility: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” This morning, we want to examine this Beatitude in detail. We want to hear these words of Jesus as they call us to be a meek people.
The Meek are Blessed
Just who are the meek?
- To be meek means to have a strong, but a tender and humble life. The word translated “meek” means “gentle, humble, considerate.” This is a man who has all the ability to take and conquer, but he is able to control himself.
- The person who is controlled, not undisciplined, is meek. Passion and urges, speech and behavior, sight and touch are always controlled by the meek individual. The Scriptures exhort us to be controlled.
- Romans 6:12.
- 1 Corinthians 6:12.
- We are to add self-control to our lives (2 Pet 1:6).
Someone has described self-control as “the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands-and then eat just one of the pieces.” This person does not allow the chocolate to control him; rather, he controls the chocolate. We can allow nothing in our lives to control us; we must stay in control.
The person who is humble, not prideful, is meek.
This person is humble before God. He knows his need for God. Micah 6:8. As we are meek toward God, we have an attitude of submission to his will. We desperately need an attitude of submission toward God. Galatians 2:20. Mary had this attitude of submission-Luke 1:38.The word for “meek” can also refer to the taming of a wild animal. In this sense, it refers to an object that comes under the control of another. If we are meek, we are under God’s control. Bobby Richardson, former New York Yankees second baseman, once offered this prayer: “Dear God, your will: nothing more, nothing less, nothing else. Amen.” That’s what it means to be meek, to allow God to reign in our lives!
The one who is meek is humble before men. This person does not consider himself any better than anyone else. The Scriptures exhort us to be humble toward one another. Romans 12:3. Philippians 2:3-4.
The person who is gentle, not easily provoked, is meek.
This person is always in control when dealing with people; he is cool and even-tempered. The Scriptures exhort us to be gentle. 2 Timothy 2:24. 1 Corinthians 13:5.
The person who is forgiving, not revengeful, is meek.
Since Jesus has forgiven us of our sins, we Christians should be characterized by forgiveness. The Scriptures exhort us to be a forgiving people. Matthew 6:14. Ephesians 4:32. An African proverb says, “He who forgives ends the quarrel.”
Jesus is the perfect example of one who was meek. Christ left us an example that we should follow in his steps (1 Pet 2:21). Jesus certainly left us an example of meekness.
- Jesus is referred to as one who was meek. Matthew 11:29. 2 Corinthians 10:1.
- Jesus showed his meekness in the garden as he prayed. Matthew 26:39.
- Jesus showed his meekness when he refused to retaliate for the injuries done to him by others. Isaiah 53:7. 1 Peter 2:23.
Are you following the example of Jesus? Are you meek?
They Shall Inherit the Earth
The meek shall indeed inherit the new earth which is coming when this earth is destroyed. 2 Peter 3:13. Revelation 21:1.
The meek, however, shall inherit this present world. This Beatitude is a near-exact quote of Psalm 37:11: “But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.” This promise primarily pertains to the abundant blessing that God gave the Jews who were meek, the blessing of enjoying their earthly home in Canaan.
It is also true of Christ’s followers who are meek: “they shall inherit the earth.” They shall enjoy the abundant blessings of God in this life. The meek receive the best that human beings are able to enjoy in this present world. 1 Corinthians 3:21-23. Without a doubt all worthwhile things in this life are the possession of the meek. Among the rich blessings God makes possible for the meek to enjoy in this life as the best men have to give: love and friendship. Only those of a gentle spirit can really win the hearts of others.
The Bible calls upon Christians to be a meek people. Meekness means that we: are controlled, not undisciplined; humble, not prideful; gentle, not easily provoked; forgiving, not revengeful; and follow the example of Christ. Are you a meek person?
If we are a meek people, we will receive abundant blessings in this life. Are you receiving abundant blessings? Are you meek?
This sermon was originally preached by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at the Alum Creek church of Christ in Alum Creek, West Virginia.