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The meek inherit the land

by on July 24, 2012

Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth [or land] (Matthew 5:5)

Sadly, I’m not able to join the other bloggers at bible camp this week.  In their absence, though, it seemed opportune to throw something into the hiatus.

The above verse is one of the beatitudes – one of the blessings spoken by the Lord during His sermon on the mount.  I wanted to bring it to your attention, as this blog’s title (Searching Out The Land) is what the blessing encapsulated by this verse is all about.  I want to explain a little more about what I mean by the ‘land’ and how we can, indeed, inherit it today.

But, first, I should say something about… meekness.

So, what is meekness?

The bible distinguishes meekness both from humility (e.g. Matt. 11:29) and from gentleness (e.g. 2 Cor. 10:1).

Like humility, meekness is a temperament of mind; but humility is a prerequisite for meekness.  Gentleness, on the other hand, is an outward expression of meekness; it’s one of the actions which flow from a meek mind.

Meekness is an attitude of mind that is first of all exercised towards God.  It’s a temperament of spirit in which we accept all God’s dealings with us as good and, therefore, without disputing or resisting.  The humble mind says, “He must increase; I must decrease”.  And the meek mind says, “not my will, but Yours be done”.

There are, I think, two elements to meekness:

  1. submission to the will of God for my life (i.e. like Saul learned on the road to Damascus, I have to stop kicking out against God and the circumstances He places me into); and
  2. subjection to God’s Word (i.e. whatever the Word of God brings to my heart whether by rebuke, instruction or otherwise, I have to bring my life into conformity with it).

Though primarily exercised towards God, meekness can also be expressed towards men.  I find it interesting that in the fruit of the Spirit, meekness is linked with self-control.

Whether provoked by insults or even physical assault, meekness of mind brings a calm assurance of the hand of God.  A meek spirit will be quick to forgive and slow to anger, not trading blows (see the Lord’s illustration of a meek spirit later in the sermon – Matt. 5:38).  It brings with it a gentleness that will be evident in our dealings with other men and women.  We’ll be far less concerned with asserting our rights; in fact the meek mind is not occupied with self at all!

Humility… sorrow for sin… meekness

So, how do we become meek and receive the blessing?  Well, there’s a progression, an order clearly evident in Matthew 5:3-5

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.

It starts (in verse 3) with humility – poverty of spirit, lowliness of mind.  If I have a proper regard for the majestic holiness of my great God I will (not by spending time thinking about myself) have a true perspective of my  infinitesimal importance!

Just as in Isaiah’s case (see Isaiah 6) true humility (not self-pity) will first of all bring me to my knees in sorrow for sin.  This is the mourning of verse 4.  And as I mourn for sin,  God will touch me with the comfort of the gospel of Christ and allow me to stand again.

Then, in the assurance of His deep love for me, but remembering His incomparable greatness, I will bind heart and mind to doing all that He asks of me and following wherever He leads.  That’s the meekness of verse 5.

Do you see the order?  Its application will result in great blessing – even inheriting the land!  We’ll say more about the blessing later in the week.

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  1. Wisdom from above (2) « searching out the land

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