Matthew 5:5 - "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth."
a. To be meek or have meekness means to be humble or gentle-spirited. Matthew Henry describes meek as, "who are rarely and hardly provoked, but quickly and easily pacified; and who would rather forgive twenty injuries than revenge one, having the rule of their own spirits." To be meek, we are to be forgiving, slow to anger, peaceful and loving. When your enemy slaps your right cheek, you offer the left cheek (Matt. 5:39). John MacArthur explains the meek person beautifully, "The meek person has died to self, and he therefore does not worry about injury to himself, or about loss, insult, or abuse. The meek person does not defend himself, first of all because that is His Lord’s command and example, and second because he knows that he does not deserve defending. Being poor in spirit and having mourned over his great sinfulness, the gentle person stands humbly before God, knowing he has nothing to commend himself." We first have to realize our spiritual poverty (Mt. 5:3) and mourn over our former sin (Mt. 5:4) before we can truly become meek. We must die daily to our fleshly desires. Meekness has no room for boastfulness, arrogance, vanity, greediness, pride, etc. Kent Hughes gives us the benchmarks in which we should evaluate our personal manifesting of Christ's call to meekness:
Harshness: If you are mean in your treatment of others, if there is an absence of gentleness in your treatment of others, take heed.
Grasping: If you make sure you always get yours first, if numero uno is the subtle driving force in your life, if you care little about how your actions affect others, beware.
Vengeful: If you are known as someone never to cross, if you always get your "pound of flesh," be on your guard.
Uncontrolled: If rage fills your soul so that life is a series of explosions occasioned by the "fools" in your life, watch out.
Convicting right? Let us lay down our burdens of our sinful nature and take up the cross of meekness. Why? Because James tells us in James 4:10, "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor." God will exalt us for our humility. Once we realize our worth does not come from ourselves but from the Father above, can we fully humble ourselves.
b. Jesus says that if we are meek, we will inherit the earth. He is not saying that we will gain the earth's riches and glory and fame, but we will be absolutely happy and content with the things that he has given us. The allegory of Charles Spurgeon's words describe it in a new light, "The quiet-spirited, the gentle, the self-sacrificing, it looks as if they would be pushed out of the world but they shall not be, “for they shall inherit the earth.” The wolves devour the sheep, yet there are more sheep in the world than there are wolves, and the sheep, continue to multiply, and to feed in green pastures." The wolves of this world can never overcome the sheep if they truly follow their Shepherd. Other Biblical scholars such as Kent Hughes describe inheriting the earth as, "It is the meek who own the earth now, for when their life is free from the tyranny of "just a little more," when a gentle spirit caresses their approach to their rights, then they possess all" and Lloyd-Jones who describes is as, "The meek already inherit the earth in this life, in this way. A man who is truly meek is a man who is always satisfied; he is a man who is already content." But my favorite quote is described from a man named Goldsmith who puts it simply, "Having nothing yet hath all." To put it plainly, it means to be content. Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 6:6, "But godliness with contentment is great gain." If we are humble before God, we can have the least of this earth and we will be content because we have all we need through Jesus.
c. How can we develop this attitude? Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:28-30, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Jesus wants us to take off the yoke of boastfulness, arrogance, vanity, and pride and put on his yoke of humility, loving-kindness, forgiveness, and peacefulness. The yoke of the world is hard and burdensome. But when we put on God's yoke, we have someone to help us and guide us. We don't have to do this alone. He is pulling along side us.
Psalm 37:11 gives us God's promise, "But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace." Let us humble ourselves before the King so we can have contentment on this earth until we reach our ultimate reward which is the Kingdom of Heaven.