Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.
Meekness is the third beatitude the Lord is naming in His glorious Sermon on the Mount. As with all the beatitudes, Jesus is promising us great rewards if we succeed in mastering them through the power of His Spirit. The beatitudes are the very qualities of the Lord Himself, and thus we already possess them as the Holy Spirit dwells in us as believers. However, we need to abide in the Lord, i.e. in His word (John 8:32; 15:5), in order to be able to experience them and let them be manifested through us. In fact, if we look at the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22 we will see many parallels with the beatitudes. The same Greek word used here in Galatians 5 for “meekness” is used in the Sermon on the Mount. Zane Hodges, a Free Grace author, says in his sermon on Romans 5-8:11 that if we live by the Spirit, we experience the resurrection of Christ in our “dead-because-of-sin” bodies. I think that’s beautiful and very motivating.
Biblical meaning of meekness
To master meekness we must first understand its biblical meaning. In the original Hebrew, Proverbs 22:4 literally says: “By meekness, the fear of the Lord, are riches and honor and life.” Thus to be meek is to fear the Lord, to experience a reverence towards Him, to acknowledge His absolute authority over you. A perfect example of meekness can be found in the book of Job. Job was blameless and upright before the Lord, and feared Him (Job 1:1). He knew that God was the only one who had sovereign and absolute authority over all things and people in his life. We see from Job’s own words that he knew that everything that was happening in his life was under the total sovereignty of his Creator (“for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks”, Matthew 12:34). These are the words of Job as he learned about his terrible losses:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” (Job 1:21)
Notice though that these riches mentioned in Proverbs 22:4 do not mean simply materialistic riches but rather spiritual ones referring to being intimately close with the Lord and truly know Him (Jeremiah 9:23-24). Despite being meek Job didn’t avoid suffering in his earthly life, however he received blessings from God for his perseverance and faithfulness and most importantly he got to know His Savior more intimately:
“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You.” (Job 42:5)
While suffering is not the only way to get closer to the Lord as we shall see in a moment, knowing your Savior better allows you to live a more abundant life in a spiritual sense (John 10:10) and to experience eternal life-the very life of God Himself-here and now (John 17:3). Salvation is a free gift offered by God’s grace in Jesus (Eph 2:8-9, John 3:16; 5:24; 6:47; 6:40 etc), but getting to know our Heavenly Father is a work we are called to undertake (2 Peter 3:18) by submitting ourselves to the authority of the Bible (John 8:31-32) and the guidance of the Holy Spirit (John 14:15-17; Hebrews 13:20-21).
Rewards promised for being meek
The beatitudes contradict the qualities praised by this world, and as we start to manifest them, we will be persecuted in one way or another (through psychological pressure or open disdain), just like the Lord was. The more we put Christ on, the more different we will feel living in the world. Be prepared to encounter an opposition and don’t be dismayed, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2) and look at the coming reward (Hebrews 11:26; 12:2). Knowing which specific rewards we will receive if we master and persevere in meekness of the Spirit will help us to overcome those adversities and not become weary while doing good (Galatians 6:9). Here are the rewards the Lord promises us in His Word for being meek:
- You will inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5, Psalm 37:11)
- You will delight in the abundance of peace (Psalm 37:11)
- You will receive grace from God (Proverbs 3:34, James 4:6; Proverbs 3:34)
- You will receive glory and be honored (Proverbs 15:33; 18:12)
- You will be rich from a biblical standpoint (Proverbs 22:4)
- You will experience life (Proverbs 22:4)
- You will be praised (Proverbs 31:30)
- You will be truly beautiful (1 Peter 3:3-4)
- You will become wise (James 3:17)
- You will be virtuous (Proverbs 31:30)
- You will please God (Psalm 147:10-11)
How to become meek
This list amazes, doesn’t it? Meekness is definitely something worthy of being pursued for the sake of this life and the one to come. The question is how do we reach it? Proverbs 2:3-5 tells us the way we can grasp what the fear of the Lord is:
If you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding, If you seek her [wisdom] as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, And find the knowledge of God.
Unlike the view of many, we acquire meekness not by acting in a meek manner based on our own understanding but by seeking God’s wisdom and guidance for it (Proverbs 3:5). Our view of meekness, like any other beatitude, by default, is distorted (Jeremiah 17:9; Isaiah 64:6) and we need to learn to look at life situations through the lense of the Word. In order to do that, we need to first get familiar with what the Word says, and then ask God for wisdom in applying it. The Holy Spirit will then use the scriptures that we study to guide us, as we walk with our Heavenly Father and learn from Him. And this learning will never end – isn’t that great?! For “this is eternal life… [to] know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3)
The Most Important Reward Meekness Brings
Finally, I think the greatest reward for being meek any of us can desire is the pleasure of the Lord Himself. And He does promise us that in Psalm 147:10-11
He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man. The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, In those who hope in His mercy.
Written By: Alla Kristina Lozenko