Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5 NIV)
There was a time when it was easy to find modern day illustrations of meekness. The most recent illustration I can think of comes from one of my favorite television shows, Due South. The hero of the show is a Canadian Mountie named Benton Fraser. He is a modern-day Superman who routinely puts other people before himself. In the opening credits for the first season of shows Fraser drives his partner crazy by letting an older person get onto an elevator before them. His partner assumes that because they have badges and uniforms they should go first.
There are two characters in the Bible who personify meekness. The first is Moses and the second is Jesus. William Barclay has this to say about Moses:
“Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all men that were on the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3). Moses was no milk and water character; he was no spineless creature; he could be blazingly angry; but he was a man whose anger was on the leash, only to be released when the time was right. The writer of Proverbs has it: “He that rules his spirit is better than he who takes a city.” (Proverbs 16:32). – William Barclay in The Daily Study Bible
This is the core idea behind the word meek, power under control. I have the power, position, or the right to go to the front of the line, but instead I choose to let you go first. This is Jesus turning the natural order of things upside down and it only works because we’re not in control. God is in control. We don’t have to strive or fight to get our way because the God who loves us will always get His way. Those who submit to the upside-down ways of His kingdom will inherit the earth. God has promised, and He is faithful.
Jesus lived this out. The gospels are filled with examples of Jesus putting others first. The most obvious examples are the washing of the disciple’s feet and His sacrifice on the cross.
Scriptures for Further Study:
- This is a long psalm and I encourage you to read it all the way through.
- What is the situation that faces God’s people?
- What does David tell us about God?
- There are two groups of people in this psalm: the wicked and the righteous. What is the temptation for the wicked? What is the temptation for the righteous?
- What will eliminate the temptation for the righteous?
- Why can the righteous practice meekness and generosity?
- How does this Psalm expand on what Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount?
- What seems to be inevitable for those in leadership?
- How were Miriam and Aaron responding to Moses? What attitude is at the core of their response?
- How does God feel about them and their behavior?
- How does Moses demonstrate his meekness?
- What do you learn from this encounter?
- What do verses 3 and 4 share with Matthew 5:5?
- Jesus is the definition of meekness. How would you define the word meek based on the example provided in this passage?
- How does this passage impact your understanding of Matthew 5:5?
- Who will you have the opportunity to serve today? How will you serve them?
A good article on the definition of meekness with some additional examples:
An excellent article by John Piper that looks at what the concept of meekness teaches us about God:
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