The Beatitudes are divine blessings pronounced on those of godly character. These attributes are required for those who wish to enter the kingdom of heaven. The third of these blessings is prescribed for “the meek”. Matthew 5:5 (NKJV) 5 Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. In the case of this beatitude, we have a better understanding of the attribute. However, the blessing is a bit obscure. Jesus quotes directly from Psalm 37:11, a psalm of David. A review of the psalm provides insight into the meaning of the blessing.
Psalms 37:7-11 (NKJV) 7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. 8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret—it only causes harm. 9 For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the LORD, They shall inherit the earth. 10 For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; Indeed, you will look carefully for his place, But it shall be no more. 11 But the meek shall inherit the earth, And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
David instructs God’s people to forsake anger and wrath against sinners. They were not even to waste time in worry which only harms oneself. We know to be meek is to be quiet, gentle and submissive. We also know that meekness does not preclude strength. Moses is described as a man “mighty in word and deed” (Acts 7:22), yet he was also the humblest of men (Numbers 12:3). Those who practice restraint (meekness) will inherit the earth (literally “the land”) and enjoy abundant peace.
God will deal with the wicked. They will be cut off and no place will exist for them. It is not that the wicked cease to exist on earth. Rather, the wicked have no place among God’s people. It is not that God’s people are not aware of sin or its consequences. The godly choose to trust in God and wait patiently for His promises. The peace afforded is perhaps like being in the eye of a hurricane. The chaos of sin churns around yet the godly experience absolute calm, perfect peace. Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV) 3 You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.
How does that look for the Christian? John reveals that by keeping ourselves from sin we stay safe from Satan’s power. 1 John 5:18-20 (NKJV) 18 We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him. 19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. 20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.
Meekness for the Christian is demonstrated in wise behavior. James 3:13-14 (NKJV) 13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. We divest ourselves of envy and selfishness. Selfishness is replaced with kindness, patience and a spirit of forgiveness providing access to peace. Colossians 3:12-15 (NKJV) 12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.
Rest in the Lord. Wait for His promises. Delight in His peace.