(Synopsis of message preached at Ebenezer Fellowship on 24 Oct 2015)

“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5)

Meekness is belittled in a world which promotes pride and boastfulness. Conventional wisdom dictates that assertiveness, self-belief and some ex-tent of arrogance is needed for one to be successful. Students are taught to boast about their strengths during job interviews. One should not appear to be meek, for meekness is associated with weakness of character, and is detrimental to success.

The third beatitude teaches otherwise. The blessed are characterised by meekness. However, one must not confuse this meekness with pseudo humility. The Pharisees may appear humble before man, but in reality they are proud of their own self-righteousness. Similarly, a man may “boast” of his humility in order to win the praise of men.

The meekness described by the Lord Jesus Christ must be seen in relation to the first two beatitudes. A person who is poor in spirit is one who understands that he is a sinner, and thus can do nothing to save himself. He will mourn for his sin which has separated him from the one living and true God. He will then submit himself meekly before God and embrace the Messiah as his Saviour. This humble submission to God continues throughout his life for he realises that he is nothing but a sinner saved by the grace of God. This humility will be seen in how he conducts himself before others. Meekness is thus gentleness and humility expressed in our actions displaying the inward spiritual reality of a Christian who is submissive to the will of the Heavenly Father.

A meek person is one who readily accepts his shortcomings, and is open to correction from God’s Word. He will not be defensive nor critical of others who admonish or rebuke him. Neither will he attempt to cover up his sin, nor will he be vengeful in spirit. His constant cry will be, “Teach me Thy way, O LORD! Teach me Thy way!”

The LORD Jesus Christ is our perfect example of meekness. Jesus Himself declares, “. . . for I am meek and lowly in heart.” Matthew 21:5 further describes Christ as the King who is “meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.” Christ’s meekness is seen in how He emptied Himself of His outward shekinah glory, taking the form of a slave, coming into this world to suffer and die on our behalf. Though He was the King of kings and the Lord of lords, He went meekly to the cross as the Lamb of God, that we may be cleansed by His precious blood and find redemption in Him.

Moses is another example of meekness, for the Scriptures describe him as “very meek, above all men which were upon the face of the earth.” (Numbers 12:3) When Miriam and Aaron unjustly rose up against him, he spoke not a word for himself, neither did he sought to take revenge, but fully submitted Himself to the LORD. The LORD readily vindicated His servant – “And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” (Numbers 12:6-8) God judged Miriam and made her leprous. Having witnessed the judgement of God, Aaron pleaded with Moses to intercede for Miriam. Moses was not vindictive nor spiteful, but readily did so. He was a man who understood that He was a nobody, but simply a sinner who was given the wonderful privilege to lead the children of Israel in the wilderness.

Nevertheless, we must not confuse meekness with weakness of character and a lack of courage. The Lord Jesus Christ was bold in denunciation of the Scribes and Pharisees, and cleansed the temple twice – once in the be-ginning of His earthly ministry (see John 2:11-25) and the other near the end after His entrance to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday (see Matthew 21:12-13), turning over the tables of the money-changers, and driving them out of the temple. Moses also stood firm against the children of Israel when they made the Golden calf, breaking the tablets of the Ten Commandments in righteous anger. When the time comes to earnestly contend for the faith, the meek will battle to be fully submissive to God and His Word, and will stand boldly in the battle for the truth.

The last half of the beatitude describes the blessedness of the meek. The aggressive and boastful seek to conquer the world, but it is the meek who will inherit the earth. In some sense, the meek already owns the earth, for God as the Sovereign God reigns over the whole world and “owns the cattle on the thousand hills”. However, this beatitude also looks forward to the time when Christians will be citizens of the New Jerusalem and reign together with Christ (see Revelation 21). As Christians, our inheritance in that city is sure. We patiently wait for the final consummation of our inheritance.

Dear reader, are you meek in the Lord Jesus Christ? Will you be with the believers in the New Jerusalem?

Lovingly in Christ,
Preacher Clement Chew