Summary: Sermon on the Mount #4
No doubt when Jesus spoke the words, "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth", more than a few eyebrows were raised by those who heard Him. His statement ran against the current mood of the religious leaders of the day. To their way of thinking, the only way to inherit the land was to overthrow the Roman government, and that certainly could never be done by being meek. It would take a massive show of force and a great deal of aggression to accomplish such a monumental task.
When’s the last time you heard someone say, "If you really want to get ahead in life, try being meek."? Or, "If you want to rise to the top and be someone and get somewhere, exhibit a little meekness along the way."? Meekness is not a characteristic that is promoted much in our society today. As a matter of fact, the world’s philosophy is just the opposite. The world tells us that the more we assert and express ourselves, the more we organize and manifest our powers and abilities, the more likely we are to succeed.
We should not be surprised to find that once again the Lord shatters the conventional of wisdom both of His day and ours with this third beatitude.
I. MEEKNESS EXPLICATED
A. Meekness according to the World
Like most other spiritual issues, the world is profoundly mistaken when it comes to meekness.
1. According to the world, meekness is to be equated with weakness. The world views one who is timid, fearful, shy, or lacking in self-confidence as being meek.
2. According to the world, meekness is simply being nice. However, meekness is not something that we obtain biologically. Some people are just naturally nice people. But then again, some dogs are naturally nicer than other dogs and some cats are naturally nicer than other cats. Being nice and easy to get along with does not mean that a person is meek.
3. According to the world, meekness is displayed by those who are willing to promote "peace at any price." The person who readily compromises on issues that would otherwise divide is considered to be meek. But that is not meekness at all. Meekness is compatible with great strength, power, and authority.
B. Meekness according to the Word
1. Meekness is closely related to humility and is first and foremost a divine work of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). It is allowing the One who is meek and lowly at heart to rule our lives, our emotions, and our behavior. Meekness, like all the fruit of the Spirit, is simply Jesus living in us.
2. Meekness is a by-product of being "poor in spirit" and mourning over our sinful condition.
a. Our poverty of spirit causes us to see our own unworthiness and nothingness before God. By being "poor in spirit" we are able to see that we are totally dependent upon God and His grace for salvation.
b. Next, we begin to mourn over our lost condition. This mourning is godly sorrow which leads us to repentance.
c. The recognition of our spiritual poverty and the mourning that results leads to a broken will and receptive heart before God.
II. MEEKNESS DEMONSTRATED
"True meekness is ever manifested by a yieldedness to God’s will, yet it will not yield a principle of righteousness or compromise with evil. God-given meekness can also stand up for God-given rights; when God’s glory is impeached, we must have a zeal which is as hot as fire." (Arthur W. Pink) Meekness if perhaps best understood when we see it demonstrated by various individuals in the Word of God.
A. Old Testament Examples
1. Abraham was truly a meek man.
a. In the story of Abraham and Lot (Genesis 13), Abraham took his wife and all that he had and left Egypt and Lot followed him. Because both Abraham and Lot had a considerable amount of possessions, "the land was not able to bear them." It wasn’t long before "there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle." Because of the strife, Abraham and Lot were forced to part ways. In the parting of ways, Abraham gave Lot the first choice as to where he wanted to settle and Abraham would be satisfied with what was left over.
b. In his actions, Abraham demonstrates genuine meekness. It was to Abraham that God had made the promise of blessing, not Lot. Abraham could have easily insisted on having his way and choosing the best of the land and letting Lot be satisfied with the leftovers. But he chose rather to forego is "rights" without murmuring and without complaining.
2. Another aspect of meekness is demonstrated by Moses who was "very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth" (Numbers 12:3).