Matthew 5:1-12 (ESV)1 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Each beatitude starts with the word “blessed” which is sometimes translated “happy”.
Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.
First of all we need to remind ourselves that the sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes were to the disciples not unbelievers.
Matthew 5:1 ESV Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.
So,what Jesus said is directed to Christians.
Can you truly be meek and happy at the same time? Can you picture a meek person who is also a happy person?
You might find it rather challenging, because of our misunderstanding of meekness. In a world that thinks only an aggressive and ambitious person can get ahead in life, it is hard to believe that those who are meek will inherit anything, much less the earth!
Jesus wasn’t implying that being fearful or weak brings happiness. Instead, Jesus was talking about an attitude or an outlook. The meekness he described requires us to be strong people who are grounded in Him. It demands us to have a personal relationship with God. This kind of meekness really does bring happiness.
Meekness is the way to happiness for several reasons.
Meekness maintains an even temperament.
Aristotle defined meekness as the mean between two extremes—intense anger and excessive indifference. It is the happy medium between too much anger and too little passion.
Ephesians 4:26-27 ESV Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.
When is the right time to be angry? When insult or injury is suffered by others, not us.
It’s hard for us to maintain an even temperament and not get angry when we are injured or insulted, so how do we develop this even temperament? How can we avoid the extremes of severe anger or apathy?
We can’t! We can’t but God can do for us what we can’t do for ourselves.
How does God give us an even temperament?
First, through salvation; nothing happens before salvation we must be born again. We must become new and different people.
2 Corinthians 5:16-17 ESV From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
The word translated “meekness”, praus, has a second meaning. Often it was used to express the idea of “self-control.” So this beatitude could also be translated, “Blessed are they who are entirely self-controlled for they shall inherit the earth.”
Weakness is giving in to the worst that is in you. Meekness is mastery over it. To be meek does not mean that you are cowardly, but it does mean that you are strong enough not to retaliate when wrongly treated.
1 Corinthians 10:23-24 ESV All things are lawful," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful," but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.
Having great freedom, those who are meek do not flaunt it. They would rather forgive than accuse. That kind of self-control results in an inner peace. People who cannot control their anger, greed, lust, tongue, or ambition will never be at peace within. They will constantly be at war with themselves.
Meekness expresses itself through gentleness.
A third meaning of the Greek word for meekness tells us something else about this quality of a happy life. Meekness may be translated “kindness” or “gentleness”. Kindness, gentleness and self-control are all associated with the “Fruit of the Spirit”. Let’s go back again to the fruit of the Spirit;
Galatians 5:22-23 ESV But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Jesus said the meek are assured of victory.
Matthew 5:5 ESV "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
This truth is affirmed many times throughout the Bible.
Psalms 37:9-11 ESV For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land. In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there. But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.
Psalms 22:26 KJV The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek him: your heart shall live forever.
Psalms 25:9 KJV The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.
Psalms 147:6 KJV The Lord lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground. (emphasis in the preceding scripture mine).
It is significant that Jesus said the meek shall “inherit,” not “capture,” the earth. An inheritor is a receiver, not an aggressor. God in his providence has structured the world so that the meek are certain to inherit it.
If you think that meekness is hard to develop, you’re right. I cannot tell myself to be meek and then I become meek. God never intended for us to be able to make ourselves meek. That is not our nature. But before what we cannot do for ourselves God does for us—first through salvation and then continuing his work through the daily infilling of the Holy Spirit.