Blessed [inwardly peaceful, spiritually secure, worthy of respect] are the gentle [the kind-hearted, the sweet-spirited, the self-controlled], for they will inherit the earth.
The word meek has a bad reputation. Most people hear it and think of someone cowering in timidity, but that’s not what the word means. It actually means “power under control,” like the strength and beauty of a champion Reece horse under the direction on an expert jockey.
Meekness doesn’t come naturally. Often, we see the opposite extreme of angry defiance or wilting fear. Meekness isn’t a blend of those two traits; it’s altogether different. God has given all of us a set of abilities and character qualities. We are gifted in relationships, tasks, goals, or reasoning, and our personalities shape the way we interact with people and the way we fulfill our responsibilities. Desire is completely normal, but too often, our desires control us instead of our controlling them.
Meekness acknowledges that all our abilities and qualities are gifts from the hand of God, but we recognize that we distort God’s original intentions when we pursue selfish aims. We thank God for all He has given us, and we put it in His hands. Like the horse responding to the jockey’s directions, we move in concert with God’s instruction. And like the horse, we may sometimes need a little stronger motivation! The Scriptures tell us that the humble will be exalted (Luke 18:14). When we allow God’s Spirit to direct us, a world of possibilities opens up to us. That’s what it means to “inherit the earth.”
A man can counterfeit love, he can counterfeit faith, he can counterfeit hope, and all the other graces, but it is very difficult to counterfeit humility.
D. L. Moody
Meekness can be described as quiet confidence. For us as the children of God that confidence comes from the affirmation and acceptance we receive from Him. We have no need to prove our worth or value. We have no need to strive for position or power or prestige for who we are is defined by our Heavenly Father and we rest secure in that place. Like the insecure teenager who is trying to prove their manhood or womanhood, those who are constantly demanding their way or their rights choose either angry defiance or wilting fear. Passive-aggressive behavior often stems from a lack of quiet confidence. When we become secure in all that God has made us to be and when He determines our approval rating, we are liberated from trying to impress others with our abilities and gifts.
Jesus taught us that those who humble themselves will be exalted and those who exalt themselves will be humbled. Unfortunately in this world that truth is not accepted. Instead we buy in to the idea that success is being the “king of the hill.” I remember playing this game as a child. We would find an elevated spot and each would try to gain and hold the hill. As I recall, even if you were to gain the top, it wasn’t long before someone would be able to push you from that place and they would be the “king of the hill.” I think we carried this game into the adult world. We are taught to climb the corporate ladder no matter who we step on on the way up. We use expressions like, “it’s a dog eat dog world” to justify our selfish climb to the top. Even in families we see a striving to be the one in charge or the most important person in the room. We forget what Christ taught us. He said that those who would be great are those who serve others. Greatness, then, isn’t how many serve us, but how many we serve. Often we measure leaders by their power or influence, but Jesus measured them by their meekness, humility, and service. What a contrast to much of what we find in the world today.
In our divided world where envy, jealousy, anger, and strife seem to reign, perhaps a quiet revolution of meekness might change the environment. If we truly believe that God supplies our need then we can cease to be envious of what others have. We recognize that God in His grace has given us everything He can trust us with. As we prove our faithful dependence and obedience toward God, He blesses us with more and more at the level that we can manage. If we accept that we are the precious and loved children of God and that God loves us unconditionally then we never feel less loved and so we don’t feel the need to compete for God’s love and there’s no need to be jealous of others. We can rejoice in every blessing they are given because we know the blessings of God are unlimited and their blessing will not hinder our blessings. We have no need to respond in anger at injustice or mistreatment for we trust the God who said, “Vengeance is Mine.” We trust God to deal with those who may wrong us or who may be cruel or unkind toward us and we wait in quiet confidence till He does.
Moses, who the Bible calls the meekest man on earth besides Christ, learned to wait on God’s vindication. There was a time when even his brother and sister questioned his leadership. They brought the charge that he had even married outside his people by marrying a Midianite. They spoke strong words against him, going so far as to say that God spoke to them as much as He did to Moses. Moses quietly waited for God to respond. The words that God spoke and the way God managed the situation is a great lesson about meekness.
“The Lord came down in a pillar of cloud and stood at the doorway of the tabernacle, and He called Aaron and Miriam, and they came forward. And He said, “Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I the Lord will make Myself known to him in a vision And I will speak to him in a dream. “But it is not so with My servant Moses; He is entrusted and faithful in all My house. “With him I speak mouth to mouth [directly], Clearly and openly and not in riddles; And he beholds the form of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid to speak against My servant Moses?” And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Miriam and Aaron, and He departed. But when the cloud had withdrawn from over the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, as white as snow. And Aaron turned and looked at Miriam, and, behold, she was leprous. Then Aaron said to Moses, “Oh, my lord, I plead with you, do not account this sin to us, in which we have acted foolishly and in which we have sinned. Oh, do not let her be like one dead, already half decomposed when he comes from his mother’s womb.” So Moses cried out to the Lord, saying, “Heal her please, O God, I plead with You!”
Moses could have thought that since Miriam had got what she deserved and since it was the result of an attack against him, that he would do nothing. Instead he pleaded with God for her. True meekness.
We see the same attitude in Christ who prays from the cross, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
We hear the words from Stephen toward those who are stoning him, “Lord do not hold this sin against them!”
May God give us grace to rest in quiet confidence. May we cease to strive for attention, power and prestige. May we learn to walk in peace no longer demanding our way or our right but trusting wholly in the goodness and love of our Father. May we learn meekness and humility and in quiet confidence “inherit the earth.”
May the Holy Spirit grant to us a gentle, kind-hearted, self-controlled spirit.
Dr. John Thompson