The Strength of Kingdom Living
Prepared by Susan Holmes
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5
“Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.” Matthew 11:29
What do you normally think of when you hear that someone is “such a meek little guy”? Typically, in our North American mindset, meekness gets interpreted as weakness. Sadly, as in so many other cases, we have turned the word meekness upside down.
According to Strong’s Concordance, the Greek word for meek (praus) “refers to exercising God’s strength under His control“. This sounds amazingly different than ‘weakness.’ It is the surrender of our own strength to take on God’s strength. It is the surrender of our own will to allow His purposes. The meek one not only realizes his own spiritual poverty, he also understands it.
This brings David, the son of Jesse, to mind. But not the regal king, rather the shepherd boy who rose up to take on the challenge of the giant. David knew that the strength that man provides wouldn’t fit the circumstance. When we face a battle bigger than ourselves our own strength will never measure up to the need, no matter how much we try. David refused the king’s armour and took on the strength of his Lord.
How did this young boy who spent most of his days in the field looking after his father’s sheep know God’s strength? Young David spent those otherwise lonely hours communing with God. He grew to know God as the One who would provide strength for the battle. “The LORD who saved me from the claws of the lion and the bear will save me from this Philistine!” (1 Samuel 17:37) David stepped forward as those prepared by man for battle stepped back. David knew his place in the battle, “Today the LORD will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head … And everyone will know that the LORD does not need weapons to rescue his people. It is his battle, not ours.” (1 Samuel 17:46 – 47)
David learned the real source of strength in the field protecting his father’s sheep. He put that lesson learned to the test on the battleground defending his God’s people. It was David who demonstrated that “The weapons we use in our fight are not made by humans.” (2 Corinthians 10:4) long before Paul had instructed the church at Corinth. For me, the David of the Old Testament has stood out as a prime example of meekness fueled by his passion for the God he learned to love.
So what is Jesus trying to teach us in this third beatitude? In order to be strong in this world I need to learn to take on the strength of His world – I need to take on Christ. “Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls.” Matthew 11:29 (Amplified)
I need to learn to hide myself in Him just as David did as he rushed toward Goliath. Our human nature will fight against the strength of meekness. Our enemy doesn’t want us in submission to our Lord. Our enemy doesn’t want us to ‘Be still and know that I am God” (Psalms 46:10)
This part of Christ’s lesson concludes with a promise … an inheritance. “The meek shall inherit the earth”. He has the legal right to promise us this inheritance … “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness of it, the world and they who dwell in it.” (Psalm 24:1) The shepherd boy turned king knew this.
Our right in claiming the earth as our inheritance comes with submission. Any father has the right to give an inheritance to his own children. Jesus called His Father ‘Abba’. This denotes the more personal relationship a child has with his or her ‘Daddy.’ Growing up, I had a reasonable expectation that I could rely on my daddy to provide my needs, to provide protection and to provide love.
On that mountainside classroom Jesus was confirming the right of adoption that comes with submission and placing ourselves in His will. ‘The meek shall inherit the earth’. In giving ourselves to Him as our Daddy we gain the privilege of knowing that He will “meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) Again, David understood this … “But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.” (Psalms 37:11)
But our inheritance is not just a temporal one. Christ, as the perfect example of meekness, became the seed that fell to the earth as He died on the cross. His death allowed us to become sons and daughters of Abba – Daddy. As we hide in our Daddy’s strength and make His will our own something wonderful happens. “Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” (Romans 8:17) We have an eternal inheritance waiting in His kingdom.
This third lesson is one of promise. It is one of rest. It is one of relationship and grace. When we truly go beyond recognizing our spiritual poverty and come to the place of understanding it, we realize our weakness and our need for Him. Christ, in compassion is offering us the opportunity to rest in Him and give up the struggle of trying to fight our own battles and ending up with our own reward.