Summary: The message describes the 1. The Meaning of Meek, 2. Men Who Were Called Meek, and 3. Blessedness of the Meek.

"Blessed are the Meek"

Matthew 5:5

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.


Jesus continues the beatitudes with another blessed attitude. About now I think you are wondering how Jesus expects us to be happy with these attitudes in our life. After all, "the poor in spirit", "those who mourn" and now, "the meek" do not sound too happy or blessed. And if you look at the next on the list it doesn’t get much better, "those who hunger and thirst". The beatitudes have given some the wrong idea of what it means to be a believer.

Some psychologists and psychiatrists, following Freud’s lead, point to the Beatitudes as proof of Jesus’ imbalance. Said one distinguished British psychologist, in a speech prepared for the Royal Society of Medicine:

“The spirit of self-sacrifice which permeates Christianity, and is so highly prized in the Christian religious life, is masochism moderately indulged. A much stronger expression of it is to be found in Christ’s teaching in the Sermon on the Mount. This blesses the poor, the meek, the persecuted; exhorts us not to resist evil but to offer the other cheek to the smiter; and to do good to them that hate you and forgive men their trespasses. All this breathes masochism." (Philip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew)

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

1. The Meaning of Meek

Many associate the word meek with the word weak. To some the word meek brings to mind a person who is unable to stand firm on a position, is easy to persuade, is generally a weak minded and weak willed individual.

Have you ever heard of the "Dependent Order of Really Meek and Timid Souls"? When you make an acrostic of the first letters of its name, you have the word "Doormats." The Doormats have an official insignia—a yellow caution light. Their official motto is: "The meek shall inherit the earth, if that’s OK with everybody!" Upton Diskson founded the society after he wrote a pamphlet called “Cower Power.”

The word carries none of the meanings associated with weak. The meek, (hoi praeis) has been translated mild or gentle. The word was originally applied to the outer characteristics of things and people. It was not considered a virtue or an attitude. Today’s meaning of meek has been watered down to the point it has lost most, if not all of its true meaning.

The image most closely associated with "meek" and its meaning is that of the horse. The Greek historian Xenophon used the very same word Jesus used to describe a horse broken to saddle, so that it is under control.

A horse is a powerful animal. It is a symbol of strength in the Greek world. Wild and untamed the horse is a useless animal. It can not be used for any of the tasks man has for it. However, if the horse is broken it can be used for all kinds of tasks for which it was created. It can be tamed and then taught. A tamed horse is a picture of power under control.

The word meek means one who has an attitude toward others that is humble (poor in spirit). A person who is teachable is considered meek. A meek person does not have to be right all of the time and a meek person will live a life of strength under control. I prefer the translation, "Blessed are they who choose to obey".

A.W. Tozer once wrote, The meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather he may be in his moral life as bold as a lion and as strong as Samson; but he has stopped being fooled about himself. He has accepted God’s estimate of his own life. He knows he is as weak and helpless as God declared him to be, but paradoxically, he knows at the same time that he is in the sight of God of more importance than angels. In himself, nothing; in God, everything. That is his motto."

2. Men Who Were Called Meek

Moses and Jesus were called meek. The list, which is not complete, represents two men of the Bible who most would say were strong and able, especially our Lord Jesus.

Moses, the great lawgiver and leader is described as meek. Moses who went before Pharaoh demanding the release of God’s people, who took his people out of Egyptian bondage, who stood before the Red Sea with staff in hand as it parted, who led a grumbling, complaining mob faithfully for four decades, was “very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth” according to Numbers 12:3.

The Lord Jesus invites in Matthew 11:29 says, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls”

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