We live in a society that renounces meekness as weakness and pronounces might as right. This society is very likely to laugh at Jesus who said, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). There is an old joke to revise the saying, “The meek will inherit the earth – if that’s okay with the rest of you.” This joke came about as a result of the general belief that meekness is weakness and the weak will always be dispossessed by the strong.
We should not doubt the veracity of the Lord’s saying because it is belittled by the world. We must believe and practise the sayings of our Lord to be truly blessed. As Christians, we should not allow ourselves to be shaped by what everyone else thinks in this world. We are to be moulded by the truth that Jesus teaches us. He wants us to understand the true strengths and blessedness of life. So let us consider the words of Christ: “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.”
What does it mean to be meek? Meekness has been defined as “a humble and gentle attitude towards God and man”. Knowing that we, as Christians, are poor in spirit, we humble ourselves to trust the Lord for the divine redemption and resources to live the Christian life. Christians mourn over their sins and the sins of others. So they should not be self-assuming and proud, but self-denying and meek.
A Humble Admission
Meekness is a virtue that humbly admits the shortcomings and sins in one’s life, believing that God will deliver him from them all. When he is wrong and is corrected, he will not become defensive and aggressive. Admitting one’s sins meekly is a spiritual blessedness, for it opens the way to truth and righteousness. “The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way” (Psalm 25:9).
Becoming defensive and critical of the person who corrects our sins is never a meek behaviour. To say to the one who corrects us, “Well, you’re neither perfect, so what’s the big deal?” – is pure arrogance and rudeness.
Meekness will not permit us to be bitter and vengeful to others, even when we are chided for our mistakes. The meek will humbly receive reproof without getting defensive. The meek person is able to say, “You’re right. That’s an aspect of my life where I need to change. Would you help me improve in this area?” Covering up our sins is not meekness, but pride.
A Humble Devotion
Meekness is a virtue that humbly devotes itself to God always. Meekness moves a person to be totally preoccupied with serving God. However the world may perceive his commitment to God, the meek person remains resolved to fulfil the good will of the Lord.
Moses is a fine example of this aspect of meekness. Miriam and Aaron, his elder siblings, began to challenge his leadership ostensibly because he had married a Ethiopian woman. They were envious that the Lord has been speaking through him to the people of Israel. Yet Moses was not troubled, neither was he vengeful. The Word of God records, “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3). The Lord then intervened and rebuked the dissenting Aaron and Miriam. He also told them, “My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house” (Numbers 12:7). The meekness of Moses was truly a reflection of his faithfulness to God’s calling.
Zephaniah the prophet proclaimed: “Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness” (Zephaniah 2:3). Seeking the Lord’s righteousness is the chief business of all who are truly meek. For this, we must humbly receive the Word of God – “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21).
A Humble Disposition
The meek, having boldness and humility, are willing to take on any opposition for the sake of God, while at the same time being equally willing to put up with any insult or indignity aimed at themselves. Meekness is a quiet and calm disposition that results from absolute trust in and submission to God’s will and power. Even when we are persecuted and rejected, the meek, trusting in God’s sovereignty, will boldly stand for Him. When intimidating and threatening words and actions are directed to meek persons, they will quietly rest in God’s providence, instead of being stirred up to behave violently. Our previous example of Moses in Numbers 12 proved this case. The reason they are able to do so is because they have committed their cause to God. This is the real secret of being meek. They are not agitated by what others think or say about them. They are only concerned about what God has to say about them.
The life of the Lord Jesus was an epitome of meekness. Isaiah’s prophecy affirms this. “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7). Christ our Master was as meek as a lamb. It would be tragic for His followers to be seen as fierce wild beasts, avenging or retaliating those who have hurt them.
The blessing of the meek, according to Jesus, is that the meek will inherit the earth. This saying of Jesus resembles the words of Psalm 37:11 – “But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”
God is not looking for superstars or celebrities to preach the Gospel all over the earth. The true soldiers of the cross whom He sent to win His elect from every part of the world are the meek. With meekness, they preach the meek and lowly Christ who promised rest to those who would come to Him (cf. Matthew 11:28-30).