BEATITUDES SERIES: Under His Control
MATTHEW 5:5 (NIV): “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”
This verse is all about what ‘meekness’ is and what it has to do with the Kingdom of God. Poverty of Spirit and mourning our sin (verses 3 and 4) creates in us a change. That change is meekness.
Meekness is difficult to define in my opinion because most of us get it wrong when we try to define it. Meekness is not weakness. Meekness is not being a doormat. Meekness is not giving up under pressure. Meekness is not being timid. Meekness does not mean never getting angry or standing up for yourself.
So what is meekness? Meekness is a super complicated word is what it is. Some English translations use the word ‘meek’ while others use words like ‘gentle and humble in heart’ for the word ‘meek’ because none of us really knows what it means. The reason why this is important is because in Matthew 11:29 Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (NIV). The word there is ‘meek.’ Jesus calls Himself meek so it should be a characteristic to which I should aspire. Jesus certainly wasn’t weak or a doormat or one who gave up under pressure, but He was meek. I would not describe Jesus as timid, but He was meek.
So what is meekness?
#1 Meekness is humbly operating under the will of God.
#2 Meekness is the person who has learned to submit to God in the midst of difficult people and difficult circumstances knowing that God will work everything out for the good.
#3 Meekness means we understand that we are under the authority of God and we give up our rights and submit to His will for our lives.
When we think about meekness, there is a passage from the Old Testament that we cannot pass by. We cannot pass it by because one of the verses, verse 11, says: “But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity” (Psalm 37). That sounds just like what Jesus is saying in Matthew 5:5! So let’s look at Psalm 37 and dig a little deeper into meekness.
PSALM 37:1-11: “Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; 2 for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. 3 Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. 4 Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this: 6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. 7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. 8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. 9 For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land. 10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. 11 But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity.”
What does Psalm 37 tell us about meekness?
How does Psalm 37 further help us?
Meekness is humbly operating under the will of God WHICH MEANS MEEKNESS IS TRUST IN GOD
Twice in the passage the word “trust” is mentioned (verses 3 and 5). Matthew 5:5 is all about trusting God.
We trust God to be God and do what He does.
We trust God to be righteous and to reward righteousness in our lives.
We trust God to be just for us in every single situation and to work justly.
Biblical meekness is rooted in the deep confidence that God is for us and not against us. God will work for our good even when we don’t know what “good” is… He knows. He is working. He is present. He knows where the safe pastures are. He knows the desires of our heart. He knows what is best. We must be deeply confident in Who God is and His plan.
Meekness is humbly operating under the will of God WHICH MEANS
MEEKNESS IS COMMITTED TO GOD’S WAYS
Verse 5 says clearly, “Commit your way to the Lord.” Almighty God is all-powerful and all-knowing and ever-present and has proven throughout history that His desire is to be our God and we will be His people. Life is complicated and hard and often tears us down. We then look to Him for guidance in our families, with our health, with our finances, and dealing with people. We hold the Bible up as our guide in this life because He has given us His ways of living that are the best ways in any and every situation. We must have a heartfelt belief that God’s ways are absolutely the best no matter what we think or feel.
Meekness is humbly operating under the will of God WHICH MEANS…
MEEKNESS IS STILLNESS BEFORE THE LORD
Verse 7 is like a strobe light on the page. Still. Still. Still. Flash. Flash. Flash. People who are still before the Lord are not lazy or indecisive or without faith. Being still before the Lord is meekness in that we know God can be trusted and we believe His ways are best and we allow God to do what He does. We wait while God does His thang! I believe this also means that we are not stressed while waiting because of the trust we have in God.
Worrying while God works is not being still.
Doing what you want to do while God works is not being still.
Meekness is humbly operating under the will of God WHICH MEANS…
MEEKNESS IS LETTING GOD BE THE JUDGE
Verse 7, 8, 9, 10 all deal with wicked folks around us and difficult relationships we are in… and in all these situations and with all these people… we let God be the judge. We let God deal with those people. That is easy to say and difficult to do.
We are to pray and watch how God changes hearts.
We are to pray and see how God moves mountains and changes situations.
We are to pray that we remain faithful to letting God be God in situations we want to control.
Meekness in these situations means that we may not win, we may not be declared right, we may not be vindicated, we may not get a refund, but we do have a right standing before God who says He will take care of it. In this way, sometimes, the meek choose to be wronged because we know in the end God is in control and we’d rather have His favor than people’s favor.
Jesus highlights meekness. Not only does Jesus highlight meekness in Matthew 5:5, but He also describes Himself meek in Matthew 11. We also have an entire section from Psalm 37 that digs into meekness. Matthew 5:5 not only speaks about meekness, but also says, “for they will inherit the earth.”
INHERIT THE EARTH
When do we inherit something?
We inherit something when someone owns something significant and that person who owns something significant dies. They think of us and they leave that significant thing to us after their death. That is what is meant by the word “inheritance.”
In this case, we serve God who owns everything. The heavens belong to God the Father. The earth belongs to our Creator God. God’s imagination created everything and it all belongs to Him alone.
Deuteronomy 10:14: “Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it.”
Psalm 24:1: “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein”
Job 41:11: “Whatever is under the whole heaven is Mine.”
In this case, Someone died as well. Jesus died. Jesus willingly allowed Himself to be arrested, falsely tried, and killed. He rose again. He ascended into Heaven. Jesus Christ left us an inheritance for those of us who are His children. Specifically, in Matthew 5:5, Jesus teaches us that we will inherit the earth. In my mind, Jesus is telling us that everything that God has created is given to us.
I love the picture of what will be… what our inheritance will be like. Even after Judgement Day God will renew all things and there will be a New Heaven and New Earth fashioned for us forever. There are several pictures, but listen to this one…
REVELATION 22:1-5: “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and His servants will serve Him. 4 They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. 5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.”
As a part of inheriting the earth, we will have…
… water of life forever
… no curse or sin or pain
… the opportunity to serve God
… total light and the presence of God forever
Jesus Christ sits people down on the side of a mountain and begins to teach them. He begins by saying that you and I need to be aware of our sinfulness and our place in the created order and more importantly God’s place in everything. This leads us to mourn for our sinfulness, He says, which God helps with by comforting us by the blood of Jesus. We then, as we have talked about today, must humbly decide to operate under the will of God which means we trust Him, commit ourselves to His ways, are still before Him, and let Him be the judge. This is not weakness, but rather choosing to be under the control of the Creator of the Universe and submitting our will to His will.
That. Is. Meekness.