Blessed Are The Meek (Matthew 5:5)

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5, ESV)

Blessedness has always looked different in the eyes of God. Many of us would not immediately think of the word “meek” when considering those who will “inherit the earth.” We probably think of bold, boastful, brutish men who have drive and determination. A cunning general or a ruthless dictator. History shows us portraits of men who were exceptional in war and strategy. Politics and espionage. Some of these individuals we celebrate and others we would rather forget. As is often the case in Scripture, His thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are His ways our ways (Isaiah 55:8).

The Lord continues in His conferring of favour by now highlighting “the meek.” The statement is found in Psalm 37:11 where we read, “But the meek shall inherit the land.” The context there has the psalmist answering the question as to why the ungodly are flourishing and why the godly are suffering. The thought throughout that psalm develops to show us that the ungodly are withering even though it looks like they are flourishing. “For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb” (Psalm 37:2, ESV). Greenery yes, but inevitable withering. A contrast would develop where we learn that “Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked” (Psalm 37:16, ESV). Why? Because our God does not gauge and grade blessedness like we do. The people in this psalm had to be reminded where true blessedness resides.

This truth is no different here at The Sermon on the Mount. It’s a truth just as real as it was in Psalm 37. The Lord makes another declaration that defies our logic when He exalts the meek. Perhaps there were various parties that had to hear this small yet crucial word that day. It would be needful for both the Pharisees and His own followers to take such a word to heart.

Consider His own followers. No doubt similar trials and tribulations were being experienced like what we find in Psalm 37. The people in Psalm 37 had to be reminded that the “The LORD knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will remain forever” (Psalm 37:18, ESV). Those people would watch the  “wicked, ruthless man, spreading himself like a green laurel tree” (Psalm 37:35, ESV). It looked like they were inheriting the earth. The very next verse tells us that “he passed away, and behold, he was no more” (Psalm 37:36, ESV). Why? Because God had made a promise and He has His plan that will not be thwarted. Everything looked like it was falling apart and it was no doubt tempting to take up arms against the wicked or wallow in envy and bitterness regarding their rule and reign. David in that psalm reminds them that indeed it is the meek who shall inherit the land. Really? It sure isn’t looking like that. It’s often the case that the lens of life become dirty and cloudy. We need to constantly be meditating upon who God says He is, what He has done, and what He has promised to do so that we can have a proper perspective. Being meek means that I trust God. There was a stillness and a faithfulness being pointed to in Psalm 37. Things looked crazy but the promise had been made. The promise could be trusted because of Who made it.

There was a shadow greenery about the Pharisees. They looked like they had it all together but in the eyes of God they were withering. This meekness, gentleness, humility flew in the face of all that the Pharisee was. There was a pride that smelt wretched to The Lord Jesus Christ. Their behaviour stemmed from a lust for being noticed and adored. It was totally contrary to Himself. It would do us well to consider how our Lord described Himself when He said, “for I am meek and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29, KJV). This is the opposite of the attitude adopted by the Pharisee in Luke 18:9-14. We’ve referred to that passage several times over the course of these articles but such an account is needful and powerful in getting across the point. The point is that there is to be a gentleness and humility associated with the inheritor regardless of dispensation. Sometimes we find it uncomfortable to read passages highlighting the Pharisees because we discover that we are too often a reflection of them.

Is my life marked by that “meek and lowly” spirit? I claim to be a co-heir with Christ and a recipient of “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4, ESV). Is there a humility and a tenderness about me? Such should mark the Christian. Self fades and it is Christ, not myself , that becomes altogether lovely. He is sufficient and supreme. I am not. “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). Is this a simple thought? Yes. But if it is simple than why do we forget it so easily? Why are we so prone to grip and grasp for power and position? Why must we have our way? We read that love “does not insist on its own way” (1 Corinthians 13:5, ESV). How often I want things to go my own way.

Mr. Spurgeon reminds his readers as he comments on Matthew 5:5 that:

“It is not your high-spirited, quick-tempered men who will put up with no insults–your bullying, lofty ones who are always ready to resent any real or imagined disrespect. There is no blessing here for them. But blessed are the humble, those who are ready to be thought nothing of. [1]

May God help us all to be a people who are ready to be thought nothing of whether it is under the oppression of the wicked or struggling against our own glory hunting tendencies. We have been shown that the Lord considers those who are meek to be truly blessed. May we know what it is to decrease as He increases.

[1] The Spurgeon Study Bible by Alistair Begg (Nashville, Tennessee: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), pg 1287.