Summary: Joseph literally "inherited the earth" because of his attitude of meekness. But how did Joseph show meekness and how can we learn from his example?
OPEN: At one time, a man named Upton Dickson began a club called:
When you make an acrostic of the first letters of its name, you have the word "Doormats."
Dickson founded the society after he wrote a pamphlet called "Cower Power."
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 else!"
(Martin Field on Sermoncentral.com)
APPLY: When Jesus said - “The Meek shall inherit the earth” I’m pretty sure that’s not the kind organization He had in mind. But when most people think someone is “meek” that is pretty much what they envision:
• Prey for bullies
• Quiet, unassuming, and easily pushed around kind of folks.
In the Bible tells we’re told about two individuals who were described as being meek.
The first is described in Numbers 12:3
“… Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.” KJV
Now Moses is not someone I generally think of as being a “doormat”.
When I think of Moses - I think of Charlton Heston coming down off the Mountain of God carrying the 10 commandments. When he heard the people partying in the camp below he became overwhelmed with righteous anger and took those tablets of stone and broke them to pieces. Then he went down into the camp and ground the golden calf they’d been worshipping into dust and mixed it in the drinking water of the camp and commanded: “DRINK!”
No… Moses isn’t someone I’d ordinarily visualize as being meek.
I picture him more as someone you wouldn’t want to “mess around with”
Then there’s Jesus.
Jesus spoke of Himself saying “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart..” Mt 11:29 KJV
Despite the tendency of Hollywood to paint Jesus as some kind of effeminate individual, I just can’t see Jesus as a doormat. For the better part of his life, He was a carpenter, used to working with saws and hammers for hours and forming wood to his liking.
He was a powerful speaker who commanded the attention of 100s of people
And when He walked into the Temple and found the moneychangers turning God’s House into marketplace, He reached down and took some cords, knotted them into a whip – and then He cleaned house.
That’s not the kind of behavior I’d attribute to someone who is Meek.
But Moses was meek
And Jesus was meek
So, maybe my idea of what meekness is different than Scripture’s!
One man observed that the Greek term for meek is extremely colorful. It wais used several ways in extra-biblical literature, one of which describes
“a wild stallion that has been tamed, brought under control”
(Charles Swindoll "Improving Your Serve”)
That leads me to believe that meekness is when you take something powerful (like a stallion)
and you tame it. You bring it under control of something or someone.
Biblically, a meek person is someone who under the control of God. They may have powerful emotions, but those emotions have been tamed and brought under control of God’s will. Like a wild Stallion, the power is still there, but it’s held in check by God’s power.
ILLUS: Years ago, I was part of the Purdue Glee Club and the director had a unique hand signal for when the men’s choir was supposed to sing a quiet section of music. The tendency in amateur singing groups was to sing soft sections limply and relaxed. This director despised that way of singing, and so he’d hold his left hand in a fist, and shake it just a little. At the same time he placed his right hand as if covering the fist.
What he was saying was this: “I want intensity… I want excitement… I want power! But I want all this to come across in a soft controlled tone.
Intensity, power, excitement all in the mind and heart of someone who has allowed themselves to be brought under the control of a powerful and loving God. This kind of meekness is very important to God. That’s why in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said: “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the Earth”
There are several men and women throughout Scripture that exhibit this kind of “meekness” (emotions held in control by a powerful God), but the one we’re looking at today is Joseph.
Joseph was a man who allowed his emotions and his passions to be under God’s control.
We see it several times in his story in Genesis
1. We see him as a young man of 17 to whom God gives a vision of greatness. He wanted to share this experience with his family… but they rejected his dreams, they belittled his vision for the future. And his brothers turn on him in hatred him.