“Emmanuel’s Kingdom – Part 4” – Matthew 5:5

November 23nd, 2014

Matthew 5:5 (Psalm 37)

“Emmanuel’s Kingdom – Pt 4”


Meditation/Preparation: Without admitting and confessing our poverty of spirit and as a result mourning over our inability to be who God created us to be; we will never become meek which empowers us to inherit the earth without the earth owning us.


Bible Memory Verse for the Week:  Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. — Matthew 5:5


Background Information:


  • This statement must have come as a great shock to the Jews of our Lord’s own day; and there can be no doubt, as we agreed at the beginning, that Matthew was writing primarily for the Jews. He places the Beatitudes in the forefront of the Gospel for that reason.  They had ideas of the kingdom which, you remember, were not only materialistic but military also, and to them the Messiah was one who was going to lead them to victory.  So they were thinking in terms of conquest and fighting in a material sense, and immediately our Lord dismisses all that.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 52-3)
  • The emphatic pronoun autos (they) is again used (see vv. 3, 4), indicating that only those who are meek shall inherit the earth. (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 1-7, 174)


The questions to be answered are . . . What does it mean to be meek?   Why should I care?


Answer: To be meek is to be gentle, self-controlled, humble, courteous, patient, considerate and selfless.   Jesus tells us that unless we are meek we will have no share of the inheritance He desires to give.


There is probably no more beautiful quality in a Christian than meekness.  It enhances manliness; it adorns femininity.  It is a jewel polished by grace.  But it is all too rare.  Is that because so few of us know what it is to be poor in spirit and to mourn for our sins?  (Sinclair Ferguson, The Sermon on the Mount, 23)


The Word for the Day is . . . Meek


Three questions we need to ask about meekness?:



  • What is meekness? (Num 12:3; Prv 16:32; 25:28; Isa 42:2-3; 53:7; 61:1-2; Mt 11:29; 21:5; Eph 4:2; Col 3:12; Phil 2:1-11; 1 Pt 2:21-23; 3:4)


Meekness is a controlled desire to see the other’s interests advance ahead of one’s own.  (D. A. Carson, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, 20)


Meekness means power put under control.  A person without meekness is “like a city that is broken into and without walls” (Prv 25:28).  “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city” (Prv 16:32).  An unbroken colt is useless; medicine that is too strong will harm rather than cure; a wind out of control destroys.  Emotion out of control also destroys, and has no place in God’s kingdom.  Meekness uses its resources appropriately.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 1-7, 171)


By the meek he means persons of mild and gentle dispositions, who are not easily provoked by injuries, who are not ready to take offense, but are prepared to endure anything rather than do the like actions to wicked men.  (John Calvin, Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, 261-2)


In classical Greek the word was used to describe tame animals, soothing medicine, a mild word, and a gentle breeze.  “It is a word with a caress in it.”  (R. Kent Hughes, The Sermon on the Mount, 34)


Meekness is the attitude that does not always insist on its own rights.  It is the meek person who is strong enough to yield.  He inherits the earth by renouncing it, and this will be abundantly evident when he reigns with Christ (Rv 20:4).  (J. Oswald Sanders, Bible Studies in Matthew’s Gospel, 26)


In order therefore to learn what is meant by the expression “the meek” we do best to derive the content of this concept from that psalm.  It describes the person who is not resentful.  He bears no grudge.  Far from mulling over injuries received, he finds refuge in the Lord and commits his way entirely to him.  All the more does he do this because he has died to all self-righteousness.  He knows that he cannot claim any merit before God (cf. Ps 34:18; 51:17).  Since God’s favor means everything to him he has learned to take joyfully “the plundering of his possessions, knowing that he has a better possession and an abiding one” (Heb 10:34).  (William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Matthew, 271-2)


It is submissiveness under provocation, the willingness rather to suffer than to inflict injury.  The meek person leaves everything in the hand of him who loves and cares.  (William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Matthew, 272)


The man who is meek is not even sensitive about himself.  He is not always watching himself and his own interests.  He is not always on the defensive.  We all know about this, do we not?  Is it not one of the greatest curses in life as a result of the fall–this sensitivity about self?  We spend the whole of our lives watching ourselves.  But when a man becomes meek he has finished with all that; he no longer worries about himself and what other people say.  To be truly meek means we no longer protect ourselves, because we see there is nothing worth defending.  So we are not on the defensive; all that is gone.  The man who is truly meek never pities himself, he is never sorry for himself.  He never talks to himself and says, “You are having a hard time, how unkind these people are not to understand you.”  He never thinks: “How wonderful I really am, if only other people gave me a chance.”  Self-pity!  What hours and years we waste in this!  But the man who has become meek has finished with all that.  To be meek, in other words, means that you have finished with yourself altogether, and you come to see you have no rights or deserts at all.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 57)


He is “meek and lowly in heart” (Mt 11:29, AV).  In fact, this meekness is virtually the only personal quality about himself to which Jesus drew specific attention.  (Sinclair Ferguson, The Sermon on the Mount, 22)


But the word praus has a second standard Greek usage.  It is the regular word for an animal which has been domesticated, which has been trained to obey the word of command, which has learned to answer to the reins.  It is the word for an animal which has learned to accept control.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, 96-7)


But there is still a third possible side from which we may approach this beatitude.  The Greeks always contrasted the quality which they called praotēs, and which the Authorized Version translates meekness, with the quality which they called hupsēlokardia, which means lofty-heartedness.  In praotēs there is the true humility which banishes all pride.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, 97)


The Greek adjective praüs means “gentle”, “humble”, “considerate”, “courteous”, and therefore exercising the self-control without which these qualities would be impossible.  Although we rightly recoil from the image of our Lord as “gentle Jesus, meek and mild,” because it conjures up a picture of him as weak and effeminate, yet he described himself as “gentle (praüs) and lowly in heart” and Paul referred to his “meekness and gentleness”.  (John R.W. Stott, The Message of the Sermon on the Mount, 42)


We observe how Jesus dealt with the Pharisees and the scribes.  He responded to strength with strength, but when He encountered people who were lowly, broken by their sin, Jesus ministered to them with gentleness.  Our Lord Himself was a paragon of meekness.  No one has ever really mistaken Jesus for someone weak or spineless.  (RC Sproul, St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary: Matthew, 81-2)


The children of this world never think themselves safe, but when they fiercely revenge the injuries that are done them, and defend their life by the “weapons of war,” (Ez 23:27).  But as we must believe, that Christ alone is the guardian of our life, all that remains for us is to “hide ourselves under the shadow of his wings,” (Ps 17:8).  (John Calvin, Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, 262)


When Judas came and kissed him in Gethsemane, Jesus called him “friend.”  And Jesus meant it.  He was never insincere.  Even in the throes of death, he pleaded, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Lk 23:34).  In all of this Jesus, meek and mild, was in control.  He radiated power.

Yet, when it came to matters of faith and the welfare of others, Jesus was a lion.  He rebuked the Pharisees’ hardness of heart when he healed the man’s withered hand on the Sabbath (Mt 12:9-45).  He was angered when his disciples tried to prevent little children from coming to him (Mk 10:13-16).  Jesus made a whip and drove the moneychangers from the temple (Jn 2:14-17).  He called Peter “Satan” after the outspoken fisherman tried to deter him from His heavenly mission (Mt 16:21-23).  All of this came from Jesus, the incarnation of gentleness.  (R. Kent Hughes, The Sermon on the Mount, 35)


Look at the portrait of that great gentleman–in many ways, I think, the greatest gentleman in the OT–Abraham, and as you look at him you see a great and wonderful portrait of meekness.  It is the great characteristic of his life.  You remember his behavior with respect to Lot, and how he allows the younger man to assert himself and take the first choice and does it without a murmur and without a complaint–that is meekness.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 54)


The same is true of David, especially in his relations with Saul.  David knew he was to be king.  He had been informed, he had been anointed; and yet how he suffered Saul and Saul’s unjust and unkind treatment of him!  Read the story of David again and you will see meekness exemplified in a most extraordinary manner.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 55)


Take Jeremiah and the unpopular message that was given to him.  He was called upon to speak the truth to the people–not the thing he wanted to do–while the other prophets were saying smooth and easy things.  He was isolated.  He was an individualist–non-cooperative they would call him today–because he did not say what everybody else was saying.  He felt it all bitterly.  But read his story.  See how he suffered it all and allowed the unkind things to be said about him behind his back, and how he went on delivering his message.  It is a wonderful example of meekness.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 55)


Look at the portrait of Stephen and you will see this text illustrated.  Look at it in the case of Paul, that mighty man of God.  Consider what he suffered at the hands of these different churches and at the hands of his own countrymen and various other people.  As you read his letters you will see this quality of meekness coming out, and especially as he writes to the members of the church at Corinth who had been saying such unkind and disparaging things about him.  It is again a wonderful example of meekness.  But of course we must come to the supreme example, and stand and look at our Lord Himself.  “Come unto me,” He said, “all ye that labor…and I will give you rest…I am meek and lowly in heart.”  You see it in the whole of His life.  You see it in His reaction to other people, you see it especially in the way He suffered persecution and scorn, sarcasm and derision.  Rightly was it said of Him, “A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench.”  His attitude towards His enemies, but perhaps still more His utter submission to His Father, show His meekness.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 55)


Look at the portrait of Him which we find in Philippians 2 where Paul tells us that He did not regard His equality with God as a prerogative at which to clutch or something to hold on to at all costs.  No, He decided to live as a Man, and He did.  He humbled Himself, became as a servant and even went to the death on the cross.  That is meekness; that is lowliness; that is true humility; that is the quality which He Himself is teaching at this point.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 55)


So it (meekness) does not mean to be naturally nice or easy to get on with.  Nor does it mean weakness in personality or character.  Still less does it mean a spirit of compromise or “peace at any price.”  How often are these things mistaken.  How often is the man regarded as meek who says, “Anything rather than have a disagreement.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 56)


Meekness is compatible with great strength.  Meekness is compatible with great authority and power.  These people we have looked at have been great defenders of the truth.  The meek man is one who may so believe in standing for the truth that he will die for it if necessary.  The martyrs were meek, but they were never weak; strong men, yet meek men.  God forbid that we should ever confuse this noble quality, one of the noblest of all the qualities, with something merely animal or physical or natural.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 56)


Meekness is essentially a true view of oneself, expressing itself in attitude and conduct with respect to others.  It is therefore two things.  It is my attitude towards myself; and it is an expression of that in my relationship to others.  You see how inevitably it follows being “poor in spirit” and “mourning.”  A man can never be meek unless he is poor in spirit.  A man can never be meek unless he has seen himself as a vile sinner.  These other things must come first.  But when I have that true view of myself in terms of poverty of spirit, and mourning because of my sinfulness, I am led on to see that there must be an absence of pride.  The meek man is not proud of himself, he does not in any sense glory in himself.  He feels that there is nothing in himself of which he can boast.  It also means that he does not assert himself.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 57)


John Bunyan puts it perfectly.  “He that is down need fear no fall.”  When a man truly sees himself, he knows nobody can say anything about him that is too bad.  You need not worry about what men may say or do; you know you deserve it all and more.  Once again, therefore, I would define meekness like this.  The man who is truly meek is the one who is amazed that God and man can think of him as well as they do and treat him as well as they do.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 58)


Meekness always implies a teachable spirit.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 58)


To Aristotle meekness was also a virtue because it was the mean between excessive anger and the inability to show anger at all.  He describes as meek the man “who is angry on the right occasion and with the right people and at the right moment and for the right length of time.”  (James Montgomery Boice, The Sermon on the Mount, 32-3)


Praus also was used of animals to designate those that had been domesticated.  These were animals who had learned to accept control by their masters and who were therefore properly behaved.  By extension, the word was then used to persons who also knew how to behave.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Sermon on the Mount, 33)


There is a time for everything under the sun (Eccl 3).   Meekness is knowing what time it is and having the power, will and self-control to act appropriately for the welfare and benefit of others not for yourself.  — Pastor Keith


  • Why is it important? Without meekness we default to becoming like the world instead of the honorable, lofty, noble creatures we were created to be… Furthermore, in giving up our pride, power, agenda and priorities now we end up inheriting everything.   (Psa 25:9; ch 37; 149:4; Prov 15:16; 16:32; Rom 8:17; Gal 3:18; 4:30; 6:1; 1 Cor 3:21-23; 2 Cor 6:1-10; 15:50; Eph 1:18; 5:5; Phil 4:8-13; Col 3:12; 1 Tim 6:6-10, 17-19; Heb 6:2; 11:24-26; Jam 2:5; 2 Pt 3:13)


One would think that “meek” people get nowhere because everybody ignores them or else rides roughshod over them and tramples them underfoot.  It is the tough, the overbearing who succeed in the struggle for existence; weaklings go to the wall.  Even the children of Israel had to fight for their inheritance, although the Lord their God gave them the promised land.  But the condition on which we enter our spiritual inheritance in Christ is not might but meekness, for, as we have already seen, everything is ours if we are Christ’s.  (John R.W. Stott, The Message of the Sermon on the Mount, 43-4)


The meek are those who have the greatest enjoyment of the good things of the present life.  Delivered from a greedy and grasping spirit, they are content with such things as they have.  “A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked” (Ps 37:16).  Contentment of mind is one of the fruits of meekness of spirit.  The proud and restless do not “inherit the earth,” though they may own many acres of it.  The humble Christian has far more enjoyment in a cottage than the wicked has in a palace.  “Better is little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith” (Prv 15:16).  (Arthur W. Pink, The Beatitudes and the Lord’s Prayer, 28-9)


The meek already inherit the earth in this life, in this way.  A man who is truly meek is a man who is always satisfied, he is a man who is already content.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 59)


O the bliss of the man who is always angry at the right time and never angry at the wrong time, who has every instinct, and impulse, and passion under control because he himself is God-controlled, who has the humility to realize his own ignorance and his own weakness, for such a man is a king among men!  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, 98)


The aggressive are unable to enjoy their ill-gotten gains.  Only the meek have the capacity to enjoy in life all those things that provide genuine and lasting satisfaction.  (Robert H. Mounce, New International Biblical Commentary: Matthew, 39)


The godless may boast and throw their weight about, yet real possession eludes their grasp.  The meek, on the other hand, although they may be deprived and disenfranchised by men, yet because they know what it is to live and reign with Christ, can enjoy and even “possess” the earth, which belongs to Christ.  Then on the day of “the regeneration” there will be “new heavens and a new earth” for them to inherit.  Thus the way of Christ is different from the way of the world, and every Christian even if he is like Paul in “having nothing” can yet describe himself as “possessing everything.”  As Rudolf Stier put it, “Self-renunciation is the way to world-dominion.”  (John R.W. Stott, The Message of the Sermon on the Mount, 44)


When the will is bowed, a man is far on his road to perfection; and the meaning of all that God does with us–joys and sorrows, light and darkness, when His hand gives, and when His hand withdraws, as when His authoritative voice commands, and the sweet impulses of His love graciously constrain–is that our wills may be made plastic and flexible, like a piece of wrought leather, to every touch of His hand.  True meekness goes far deeper down than any attitude towards men.  It lays hold on the sovereign will of God as our supreme good, and delights in absolutely and perfectly conforming itself thereto.  (Alexander MacLaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture, St. Matthew 1-8, 127-8)


He is glad to own himself a beggar and bow  in the dust before God.  Once, like Naaman, he rebelled against the humbling terms announced by God’s servant; but now, like Naaman at the end, he is glad to dismount from his chariot of pride and take his place in the dust before the Lord.  (Arthur W. Pink, The Beatitudes and the Lord’s Prayer, 27)


God-given meekness can stand up for God-given rights.  (Arthur W. Pink, The Beatitudes and the Lord’s Prayer, 28)


His words, literally understood, are, “they shall inherit the land,” i.e., Canaan, “the land or promise.”  He speaks of the blessings of the new economy in the language of OT prophecy.  Israel according to the flesh (the external people of God under the former economy) were a figure of Israel according to the spirit (the spiritual people of God under the new economy); and Canaan, the [earthly] inheritance of the former, is the type of that aggregate of heavenly and spiritual blessings which form the inheritance of the latter.  To “inherit the land” is to enjoy the peculiar blessings of the people of God under the new economy; it is to become heirs of the world, heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ [Rom 8:17].  It is to be “blessed…with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ” [Eph 1:3], to enjoy that true peace and rest of which Israel’s in Canaan was a figure (Dr. John Brown).  (Arthur W. Pink, The Beatitudes and the Lord’s Prayer, 29-30)


It is this meekness, Jesus says, which will inherit the earth.  It is the fact of history that it has always been the men with this gift of self-control, the men with their passions, and instincts, and impulses under discipline, who have been great.  Numbers says of Moses, the greatest leader and the greatest law-giver the world has ever seen: “Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all men that were on the face of the earth” (Nm 12:3).  Moses was no milk and water character; he was no spineless creature; he could be blazingly angry; but he was a man whose anger was on the leash, only to be released when the time was right.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, 98)


It was the lack of that very quality (meekness) which ruined Alexander the Great, who, in a fit of uncontrolled temper in the middle of a drunken debauch, hurled a spear at his best friend and killed him.  No man can lead others until he has mastered himself; no man can serve others until he has subjected himself; no man can be in control of others until he has learned to control himself.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, 98)


The psalmist, contrasting the destinies of the meek and wicked, wrote, “For evildoers shall be cut off; but those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.  For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; indeed, you will look carefully for his place, but it shall be no more.  But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace” (Ps 37:9-11 NKJV).  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, 77)


There is a sense in which those who set their minds on riches never possess anything.  This was given classic expression by one of the world’s wealthiest men when asked how much is enough money.  “Just a little bit more,” he answered.  He owned everything, yet possessed nothing!  (R. Kent Hughes, The Sermon on the Mount, 37)


As Izaak Walton explained: “I could there sit quietly, and looking on the waters see fishes leaping at flies of several shapes and colors.  Looking on the hills, I could behold them spotted with woods and groves.  Looking down the meadows, I could see a boy gathering lilies and lady-smocks, and there a girl cropping columbines and cowslips, all to make garlands suitable to this present month of May.  As I thus sat, joying in mine own happy condition, I did thankfully remember what my Savior said, that the meek possess the earth.  (Hugh Martin, The Beatitudes, 44-5)


People like this are genuinely blessed by God.  They also possess the earth because they take what God spreads before them and enjoy it, while others fight for more and fail to enjoy even what they have.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 1, 75)


Their very meekness makes them a blessing to their fellowmen, some of whom will bless them in return (Mk 10:30; Acts 2:44, 45; 16:15; Phil 4:18).  (William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Matthew, 272)


They may possess only a small portion of this earth or of earthly goods, but a small portion with God’s blessing resting upon it is more than the greatest riches without God’s blessing.  (William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Matthew, 272)


Does a man whose soul is racked by the fear of the coming judgment really possess his earthly goods?  Does he possess them in the sense of enjoying them?  Of course not!  It is not he who has them: they have him!  (William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Matthew, 272)


He is to be loving, well-mannered, polite, balanced, and well-behaved.  His is to be God’s gentleman.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Sermon on the Mount, 33)


  • How do you get it? You don’t.  Christ gives it!  Trust in the Lord with all your heart.  Do not lean on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge Him so that He might make your paths straight.  (Prv 3:5-6; Mt 6:33; Gal 5:22-23; Eph 1:3-23 ;1 Tm 6:6-11; Jam 1:21; 4:10)


It is not so much the blessing of the man who is self-controlled, for such complete self-control is beyond human capacity; rather, it is the blessing of the man who is completely God-controlled, for only in his service do we find our perfect freedom, and in doing his will our peace.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, 97)


. . . the man who gives himself into the complete control of God will gain this meekness which will indeed enable him to inherit the earth.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, 98)


Meekness is also an intrinsic aspect of the “fruit of the Spirit” that is wrought in and produced through the Christian (Gal 5:22, 23).  It is that quality of spirit that is found in one who has been schooled to mildness by discipline and suffering and brought into sweet resignation to the will of God.  When in exercise, it is that grace in the believer that causes him to bear patiently insults and injuries, that makes him ready to be instructed and admonished by the least eminent of saints, that leads him to esteem others more highly than himself (Phil 2:3), and that teaches him to ascribe all that is good in himself to the sovereign grace of God.  (Arthur W. Pink, The Beatitudes and the Lord’s Prayer, 27-8)


Who then are the meek according to the 37th Psalm?  They are those who trust in the Lord, who delight themselves in the Lord, who commit their way unto the Lord, who rest in the Lord.  It is these who are happy, according to Jesus Christ; and it is these who shall inherit the earth.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Sermon on the Mount, 34)


He wants us to be meek.  But first he may have to break our pride, destroy our sense of self-sufficiency and humble us under his mighty hand before he uses us for his glory.  He sends trials, reveals the secret ambitions we have hidden in our hearts, and uncovers our reliance upon ourselves.  Then, as he patiently changes us, he develops within us this meekness of character.  (Sinclair Ferguson, The Sermon on the Mount, 22)


If I have learned myself, and have penitently received God’s pardon, I shall be meek with God and with man.  If I am not meek with God and with man, have I received God’s pardon?  (Alexander MacLaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture, St. Matthew 1-8, 132)


Quintilian, the great Roman teacher of oratory, said of certain of his scholars, “They would no doubt be excellent students, if they were not already convinced of their own knowledge.”  No one can teach the man who knows it all already.  Without humility there can be no such thing as love, for the very beginning of love is a sense of unworthiness.  Without humility there can be no true religion, for all true religion begins with a realization of our own weakness and of our need for God.  Man reaches only true manhood when he is always conscious that he is the creature and that God is the Creator, and that without God he can do nothing.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, 97)


Poverty of spirit and mourning over sin have a pervasive influence on our lives.  Their immediate effect is to make us meek.  (Sinclair Ferguson, The Sermon on the Mount, 21)


The meek man is the one who has stood before God’s judgment and abdicated all his supposed ‘rights’.  He has learned, in gratitude for God’s grace, to submit himself to the Lord and to be gentle with sinners.  (Sinclair Ferguson, The Sermon on the Mount, 21)


In earlier days Moses may have been self-sufficient, and like so many self-sufficient men, impetuous and self-willed.  Acts 7:25 seems to indicate that Moses had a sense that God was calling him to lead the Israelites out of their bondage in Egypt.  When he slew an Egyptian who was mistreating an Israelite, he “thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them” (Acts 7:24).

It took forty years in the loneliness and isolation of the desert–forty years of tending sheep rather than shepherding Israel–before Moses’ natural spirit was subdued by God, and he was prepared for the call he received from within the burning bush (Ex 3:1ff.).  (Sinclair Ferguson, The Sermon on the Mount, 21-2)


The Israelites to whom the Psalm was written, despite living in the land, did not truly possess it because of the working of evil men.  What were they to do?  In a word, trust (“trust,” vv. 3, 5; “be still…wait,” v. 7).  Thus a deep trust in the sovereign power of God is the key to meekness.  (R. Kent Hughes, The Sermon on the Mount, 35)


And the meek shall inherit the earth!  These words, cited from Ps 37:11, constitute a devastating contradiction to the philosophical materialism so prevalent in our own day.  But this blessing of inheritance is true in at least two ways.  First, only the genuine meek man will be content; his ego is not so inflated that he things he must always have more.  Besides, in Christ he already sees himself “possessing everything” (2 Cor 6:10; cf. 1 Cor 3:21-23).  With this eternal perspective in view he can afford to be meek.  Moreover, one day he will come into the fullness of his inheritance, when he will find the beatitude fulfilled most literally.  (D. A. Carson, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, 21-2)


The world thinks in terms of strength and power, of ability, self-assurance and aggressiveness.  That is the world’s idea of conquest and possession.  The more you assert yourself and express yourself, the more you organize and manifest your powers and ability, the more likely you are to succeed and get on.  But here comes this astounding statement, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth”–and they alone.  Once more, then, we are reminded at the very beginning that the Christian is altogether different from the world.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 52)


Am I wrong when I suggest that the controlling and prevailing thought of the Christian Church throughout the world seems to be the very opposite of what is indicated in this text?  “There,” they say, “is the powerful enemy set against us, and here is the divided Christian Church.  We must all get together, we must have one huge organization to face that organized enemy.  Then we shall make an impact, and then we shall conquer.”  But “Blessed are the meek,” not those who trust to their own organizing, not those who trust to their own powers and abilities and their own institutions.  Rather it is the very reverse of that.  And this is true, not only here, but in the whole message of the Bible.  You get it in that perfect story of Gideon where God went on reducing the numbers, not adding to them.  That is the spiritual method, and here it is once more emphasized in his amazing statement in the Sermon on the Mount.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 53)


Worship Point:  Did you hear what Christ says you will inherit if you see your spiritual poverty, mourn over your inability to become what God designed and created you to be, and therefore become meek?  Do you understand that your meekness comes as you rest “in Christ”?  And you want to know how to worship?



When we know what we are before God, and look to him for grace and salvation, then we become poor in spirit; then we mourn for our sins; then, having seen ourselves as we really are, we bow to his will in all things.  And as we experience the gentleness of his grace, we are meek and gentle with others.  (Sinclair Ferguson, The Sermon on the Mount, 23-4)


Gospel Application:  Realize that God in Christ has made available to you everything you could ever want by being “in Christ”.  But, you must be willing to die to your own agenda and priorities to obtain it as you find yourself “in Christ”.


Spiritual Challenge:  Trust Jesus.  Don’t trust yourself.  Die to your own understanding and abilities.  In all your ways acknowledge Jesus and He will allow you to inherit more than you could ever dream or imagine.



Jesus did not once raise a finger or give a single retort in His own defense.  Though at any time He could have called legions of angels to His side (Mt 26:53), He refused to use either natural or supernatural power for His own welfare.  Meekness is not weakness, but meekness does not use its power for its own defense or selfish purposes.  Meekness is power completely surrendered to God’s control.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 1-7, 172)


Self-renunciation is the way to world-dominion — Rudolf Stier


All Powerful

Meek Christ

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