“Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.”
The Greek word here translated as ‘meek’ can also mean gentle, humble, considerate and courteous. It carries too the implication of the self-control through which these qualities are expressed. There is no sense in the word of either weakness or effeminacy. The New English Bible therefore translates it as ‘gentle spirit.’
Dr Martyn Lloyd –Jones has said that it denotes a humble and gentle attitude to others which is determined by a true estimate of ourselves. He goes on to say, ‘Meekness is essentially a true view of oneself, expressing itself in attitude and conduct with respect to others …. The man who is truly meek is the one who is truly amazed that God and man can think of him as well as they do and treat him as well as they do.’ Recognising his own weakness and ignorance this then would lead him to be gentle, humble, sensitive and patient in all his dealings with others.
To assess the truth of our understanding we have to look to Jesus Himself. We do see Him exercising these qualities in His dealings with others, in His trial before Pilate and during His hours on the cross. However, nowhere does it appear as a weakness. On the contrary His strength and courage are also seen in His public confrontations with the Pharisees, His clearing of the Temple and, again, on the cross. His meekness was certainly not due to weakness or to fear.
The meek and gentle people of the world are, with some notable exceptions, so often ignored or sidelined by others, and excluded from the worldly marks of success. However Jesus, in referring to them here, promises that they, and not the self-promoters, ‘will inherit the earth.’ This is not a completely new idea because through the Psalmist God had already hinted at it:
- “For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land” (Psalm 37:9)
- “But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace” ( Psalm 37:11)
The great truth behind all these statements is that it is God who owns and possess all of creation and everything in it and He may dispose of it as and when He wishes. So too the Christian knows that in Christ he or she already possesses all things that have lasting value, and that they will inherit all the blessings that God has prepared for them in the life to come. Whilst it is not an invitation to laziness it is not for us to strive for success, wealth, status or to fulfil for ourselves the promises of God. They come to us from His great and abundant love, and in the God of that love we trust and rest. Out of this trust and confidence in God we can then be people of a gentle spirit. As the Psalmist began the great Psalm 37,
- Do not fret
- Trust in the Lord
- Delight yourself in the Lord
- Commit your way to the Lord
- Be still before the Lord
Whilst the world worries, stresses and strives around us we are to be the ones who stand out because we have a different approach, different values and a different spirit within us. This gentleness of spirit may take time to grow and develop into its fullness as it is so contrary to the worldly way of things. It will be tested according to developments in our lives. However, knowing that it is of God, we can pray for it and look to develop it with His help. Also we will find that the closer we draw to Him the more we will trust and find our peace and rest in Him.
Jesus promised us the peace that passes understanding. Pray that it may grow within you.
Father, please help me to find my peace, joy and fulfilment in You and in Your great love for me. Amen.