“Blessed are the meek”
The third beatitude that Christ taught during his Sermon on the Mount is on the subject of meekness. Meekness it is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), and as such, should be produced in the life of every believer. The Strong’s Concordance defines the quality of meekness as: “Mildness of disposition, and gentleness of spirit.”1 The Webster’s 1828 Dictionary further defines this quality as: “Mild of temper; soft; gentle; not easily provoked or irritated; yielding; given to forbearance under injuries. Appropriately, humble, in an evangelical sense; submissive to the divine will; not proud, self-sufficient or refractory; not peevish and apt to complain of divine dispensations.”2 The Word of God teaches that the quality of meekness is to be displayed by a Christian both to God and our fellow man.
Some consider being meek a sign of weakness, but God considers it a valuable quality. 1 Peter 3:3-4, “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” God tells us in His sight, it is of a great price. God doesn’t want us to adorn ourselves outwardly with fancy hairstyles, jewelry, expensive clothing and making the fads of the world our adorning, but rather, to adorn the hidden man of the heart, not with corruptible, things, but with what the scripture refers to as the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. Consider an ornament, or something added to beautify – a Christian life is beautified by wearing the ornament of meekness.
When a person is meek in their attitude towards God, this quality will be demonstrated daily. A meek person will be in full submission to God, living out the will of God to the best of their ability. They will carry themselves calmly, acknowledging that God already knew what every minute of the day would hold and, as it says in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” A meek child of God understands the divine providence of God and submits to it. They will display the same attitude we read Job had in Job 23:10, “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Jesus Christ, who is our example as Peter tells in 1 Peter 2:21, that we all “should follow his steps”, set the perfect example in the Garden of Gethsemane when he uttered these precious words recorded in Luke 22:42, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”
A child of God should take comfort that regardless of what they are currently facing or will experience in this life, the Word of God says that good that will come from it. A scripture that provides this comfort is Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to who are called according to his purpose.” When a person is not patient and submitted to the plan of God, they may try to find alternative means to modify their situation instead of maintaining full consecration to the will of God. This inability to accept God’s will and plan in one’s life may show a lack of meekness.
We can find wonderful examples of meekness in the Word of God. For example, reading about the life of Job can bring encouragement and a lesson in meekness. One of the heartfelt and touching statements he made in the book of Job is found Job 13:15, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.” Reading about the life of Job and many others in the word of God who remained meek in spite of what life presented them can teach us and be an example to follow as we face our own circumstances.
Another example of meekness is found in our attitude toward our fellow man. A meek Christian will bear injuries received from others with the right attitude. This does not only refer to physical injuries, but more often will be mental or emotional injuries. Handling these injuries properly with the attitude of meekness will create spiritual growth. What the Apostle Paul wrote to the saints in Ephesus, found in Ephesians 4:2, is still applicable today and is a reminder for how every Christian should be conducting themselves “With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love.” Again, in Colossians 3:13 the Apostle Paul is exhorts the saints, “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” When we follow the counsel found in these scriptures, it will be easy to measure up to what we are told to do in Romans 12:21, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”
How a Christian views the state of their life with regards to position and possessions is another aspect of meekness. A meek person views their accomplishments and achievements as a gift from God rather than a reward based on their own merit. For this reason, they find it easy to share and to be giving because they understand that everything they have has come from God. They will not envy those that are in more appealing conditions and positions, but instead they will rejoice with them. When the meek find themselves prospering in life, they will not allow themselves to become puffed up or esteem themselves better than others. 1 Corinthians 4:7 reminds us, “For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” Albert Barnes explains this scripture this way in his Bible commentary: “Why dost thou glory … – Why dost thou boast as if it were the result of your own toil, skill or endeavor. This is not designed to discourage human exertion; but to discourage a spirit of vain-glory and boasting. A man who makes the most painful and faithful effort to obtain anything good, will, if successful, trace his success to God. He will still feel that it is God who gave him the disposition, the time, the strength, the success. And he will be grateful that he was enabled to make the effort; not vain, or proud, or boastful, because that he was successful. This passage states a general doctrine, that the reason why one man differs from another is to be traced to God; and that this fact should repress all boasting and glorying, and produce true humility in the minds of Christians.”3
The blessing promised to the meek is that they will inherit the earth. Some think that this inheritance will be received when we die, or during a millennial reign, but this inheritance is something the believer can experience and receive now in this life. One reason we can know this is true is because we are told in 2 Peter 3:10, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” This is showing that after Christ’s second advent there will be no earth left for the meek to inherit. Therefore, if the meek are going to inherit the earth, it is going have to happen now, not in the future after Christ’s return. The problem is that some don’t think it is possible to be meek in this life. Thank the Lord, the Bible says it is possible to both be meek, and receive the inheritance of the meek right now in this present time.
When Christ said in Matthew 5:5, “they shall inherit the earth”, He was taking this expression from Psalm 37:11, “the meek shall inherit the earth.”The Hebrew word for the earth is ehrets, which means “land or earth”, according to the Strong’s Concordance.1 There are total of six times that the word eherts is used in the 37th chapter of Psalm, meaning “earth or land.”
Verse 3 – “Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land,(eherts) and verily thou shalt be fed.”
Verse 9 – “For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.” (eherts)
Verse 11 – “But the meek shall inherit the earth; (eherts) and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”
Verse 22 – “For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; (eherts) and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.”
Verse 29 – “The righteous shall inherit the land, (eherts) and dwell therein for ever.”
Verse 34 – “Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: (eherts) when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.”
God’s promise to ancient Israel in the Old Testament was that they would receive the Canaan land to be their inheritance – which is referred to as the land or earth in the scriptures. Also, in Exodus 19:5, and in Deuteronomy 10:14, it says the earth (eherts) belongs to God (God owns everything because He is the Creator of the universe.) So, the question one may ask is, how do the people of God inherit the earth today? In Romans 8:16-17, it tell us that when a person has been born again, “the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” We can understand from this, that if a person is heir with Christ, this means they have inherited the earth or earthly blessings. God cares about His people and He likes to bless His people with earthly blessings, in addition to spiritual blessings. In 3 John 1:2 it says, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” Also, in Matthew 6:33 it says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” It pays to serve God, and the rewards for serving Him meekly are out of this world! It is a win-win situation, reaping the blessings here in this life, and in the life to come in eternity.
Thinking back to the definition of the word “blessed”, which means “happy”, the ultimate blessing of the Christian is true happiness. A meek person who is submitted to the will of God will be happy. They will be an inheritor of both spiritual and earthly blessings. The meek have fulfilling relationships with God, family, friends and their fellow man. Because they are willing to accept God’s will over their own desires, they are positioned to receive “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20), because they are not forcing their own desires to be, but letting God bless in His time and in His way. This blessing always exceeds our expectations and is satisfying, leaving us happy and blessed. Choosing the ornament of meekness is choosing happiness.
- Strong, James, The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Cincinnati: Jennings & Graham, 1890
- Webster, Noah, American Dictionary of the English Language, First Edition, 1828
- Barnes, Albert, Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament (Complete and unabridged in one volume), Grand Rapids, Michigan: Kregel Publications, 1962