Thursday, February 16, 2012

Blessed Are the Meek

Repentance, as we have seen, begins with a change of heart. But if it is real and genuine it must also entail a change of behavior as well. And so Jesus goes on in the next five beatitudes to tell us what that behavior is.

It is significant that what Jesus describes in these verses is not a mere external conformity to a set of rules, but rather an attitude or state of mind. What He lays out are basic character traits – values to guide our life and conduct.

    The third beatitude reads, "Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth" (Matt. 5:5; NKJV). This is a direct reference to Psalm 37:11: "But the meek shall inherit the earth . . ." By "meek" He did not mean what the word often means today: "deficient in spirit and courage," but rather the term carries the older English connotation of "enduring injury with patience and without resentment (Webster's 7th New Collegiate). Moses was said to be "very meek above all the men which were upon the face of the earth" (Num. 12:3; AV), but he was hardly "deficient of spirit and courage." Rather, no doubt because of his close dealings with God, he was a humble and unpretentious man, open to and approachable by all. He lived his life in humble dependence upon God.

    What is required of us is to have a proper attitude about ourselves and our relationship with others. This is not a false humility, but a matter of looking at ourselves honestly and realistically. Meekness is the opposite of arrogance. We are to be kind and gentle with others because we recognize that we are not better or more important than them.

     It may seem unlikely that "the meek shall inherit the earth" – we are accustomed to seeing nice guys finishing last. Yet Jesus' saying, and the entire 37th Psalm, contain a certain warning. The final outcome is determined not by man, but by God. And those who lived their lives in accordance with God's will and commands are those who will finally prevail. It is what God wants that counts in the final analysis.

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