Blessed Are the Meek
Homilies of Jesus 3
By Fred Pruitt
“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matt 5:5)
One thing most of us do not realize when we begin our journey in Christ, is the meaning of the word, “blessed,” in the context of the “Sermon on the Mount.” We read it according to our understanding at the time, and for many of us Jesus’ words translated into (in our thinking, not in Jesus’ intent), “When you act in a meek or humble way, God will bless you and the things of the earth will become yours.”
But that is really not what Jesus was teaching that day.
Most of us early on see these as qualities for us to work on. Therefore, meekness, poor in spirit, a spirit of mourning, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, merciful, pure in heart and all the others we believe to be attributes or qualities we not only need to develop in ourselves (with God’s help, of course), but also to fervently put into practice, so that we’ll receive the blessings contained in each promise.
However, we have learned (most of us, “the hard way”), that it doesn’t work like that in God. The “world” is about going out and grappling with everyone else and clawing our way to the top while twisting arms and stepping on necks, whatever it takes, to get to the honeypot first. Once there we take everything we can carry before anybody else gets it, then fight and claw our way back to our place all-the-while fending off would-be thieves who would take it if we let them. Bottom line, the “world” is about “getting” and “amassing.” The overall idea is about the “pile” we accumulate and we have only one wish for it, that the pile never decrease but instead will continually increase exponentially. (Never mind what Jesus said in Matthew 6:19-21!)
But that is not the Kingdom of God.
Later in the same “sermon,” Jesus described Life lived out of His Kingdom:
(Reader: This passage below has probably been quoted more than most over the years. I hadn’t read these words for a while until this writing, and hearing them anew, again I see how plainly Jesus explained living in His Life and Spirit, and how different it is from the ways we have learned in the world. Different goals. Spirit “goal” is the Life of the Spirit alive in us, which is the prize of prizes – the “Pearl of Great Price,” or “Treasure hidden in a field,” given as a gift and not able to be purchased with money, which also expands and expands by giving it away. All those things we “worry about daily,” the outer “supports” that hold up our daily physical lives, we have learned to entrust with the Spirit, living Paul’s word in 2 Tim 1:12. All that which concerns us “physically” comes to us as God’s gift in our “seeking first the Kingdom,” which isn’t so much a daily activity as much as it is a “lifestyle” or “LIFE ITSELF.” That is truly inner satisfaction and inner peace.
(As it points out below, the “nations” or “Gentiles” [meaning in our context those who have yet to know Christ as Life], seek the “things that can never satisfy,” knowing not the Kingdom. God’s heart is that we would not continue on in the wrath and inner conflict – the “hell” in which we’ve lived all our lives in our unsettled and fearful state [though many of us hide it well!].
(Christ doesn’t enter our conscious awareness [i.e., make Himself known], to prevent some future afterlife event from occurring [even though He actually does do that – by His intercession He cancels out any condemnations or sentences of death that might be legitimately held against us, by taking them into Himself. He went to our lowest depths, the bottomless pit of lies and deception, the darkness of hopeless despair, in order to swallow them up into Life and to bring us out of the real hell in which we exist now! Not by behavior modification, where we work on each rung of the behavior ladder one by one, conquering and reconquering, but by the power of the Spirit of God. He came to OUR bottom and He took OUR captivity captive and ascended up on high, and out of that Ascension in which we participated He gave gifts unto men (humanity) – particularly, to you and to me!
(People have wrongly thought [myself among them] that Jesus came to deliver them only from some future “hell,” which I’ll just describe as a place or state of ultimate dread, ultimate despair, ultimate darkness, ultimate restlessness, ultimate self-loathing, continuous strife and contrariety. Lots of people think that God is dangling that “place” in front of us for the express purpose of getting us to behave ourselves and follow His rules. Sort of like the big old-school nursery school teacher I had briefly, who told us if we misbehaved we would have to go out and cut her a switch so she could whip us with it. Mine did, as I recall. Crime leads to punishment, a lesson learned at an early age!
(The Scriptures speak of that place or condition [or both], and speak of it as having either an “eternal – never ending” aspect, or only existing for an “age” or “eon.” I know most people require us to land on one or the other so people know which team we’re on. But for me it’s right here I leave my trust in the Father’s Hands. At the Great Feast to come, I would not be disappointed to see anyone we’ve ever known or heard of in our historical past, no matter who they are and what they have done, and that includes anyone whom the Lord our God includes and invites to sit at the table, and I mean anybody. It’s going to be a vast multitude that no one can number, so no telling who might be there. Anybody the Lord wants there I do, too!
(But if there are vacant seats at the Banquet Table, I know that “True and righteous are all His judgments,” and that He is Love and whatever are His judgments and His “sentences,” He is Love. He expressed His heart in the matter by the mouth of the prophet Ezekiel: “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live …” [Ez 33:11].
(For that reason I never count anybody out, but have faith, hope and love for all, for it is to God we pray, the One and Only One Who grants Life, and Whose Eternal Ways are Good altogether, the One Who always does the impossible. In the “Rich Young Ruler” story, at the end Jesus says, “How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” People standing by asked, “Who can be saved then?” Jesus replied, “With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.”)
“Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles [nations] seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
In the Kingdom of God, initially we strive to attain, giving it our all, but eventually find out the time of our earnest striving has reached its end – because everything is already ours. Everything comes as a gift. Everything. The ultimate “Gift” is He, Himself, as “Alpha and Omega,” “A – Z,” the Father “above all, through all and in you all,” There is no reason to fret or be anxious about anything because we have the blessing, the “beatitude”, and we all live in a “state of Grace” in our Father through the Son and by the Spirit.
In the kingdom of the world, where wrath rages all day long every day, we are as people living in fear of our fellow human brothers and sisters. Everybody is out to get us, and we fear “they” are going to come and take what we have, and supplant us in the land. Every interaction with other humans starts out guarded and adversarial. The assumption is, “they’re out to get us so we have to get theirs first, or hide our stash and defend it with violence.”
Let’s look more into the “beatitudes.” Various sources define beatitudes as a state of “supreme blessedness” or “exalted happiness.” It is not an act or an event, but a state of being. These terms have their roots in Catholicism, which accounts for them being lesser known among non-Catholics. In a classical sense, in the old days they would have said that someone, usually a priest or nun, contemplative or monastic, was living in a “state of grace,” or was blessed by a “beatitude.” They didn’t receive it because of any striving on their part, though no doubt many did strive for God even as we do now. It becomes “ours” the moment the Spirit causes us to realize it has already been given, and no need to strive any further for something already in our possession. But for those who realized they have already received, they live in an inner harmony and peace established and sealed by the Spirit .
Therefore, we see that “poverty of the spirit,” instead of a quality we have to work on to develop, is ours as a gift of the Spirit, having been re-created in our unified Spirit/spirits the moment Heaven replaced the darkness that had been before, replaced with Light blazing with the heat of a noonday Sun.
The spirit of mourning in us through grace is mourning in His mourning when it is time for mourning. It is participating in the Cross which bore the “Man of Sorrows,” living in His Sorrows in us for the blessing of the world. “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus …”
Let’s talk again about being “meek.” Now, being that these are not “qualities” or “ways of behavior” in a fleshly sense, we have to scrap what for many is the first thing we think of when we think, “meek.” It’s somebody milquetoast, shy, unsure, timid, non-aggressive, lets more aggressive folks walk all over them, etc. (Many newer English Bible versions replace “meek” with “humble.” Those words have different contexts in modern usage, but KJV “meek” does not equal 21st Century “humble.” It’s the meaning we’re interested in, not necessarily the terms.)
Biblical “meekness” is not the same Wally Cox kind of meekness I’ve described above. It has little to nothing to do with outer behaviors. Though a person of the Holy Spirit could certainly appear as weak, as milquetoast, and give out that kind of impression to those around, it is just as likely we would find divine meekness in boisterous, outspoken and bold people. All types, actually.
It might seem that “poor in spirit,” and “meekness,” are very near to each other in meaning. Though that is somewhat true, there is a big difference between them in this context. “Poor in spirit” has to do with our inner Spirit/spirit union “relationship” with God. It is finding in ourselves “emptiness of self” that He might be All in all within us. That is why the “reward” of that attribute is “the Kingdom of heaven.” It is “poor in spirit” in relation to God the Spirit. In a very real sense, it is “how” we relate to and in God.
But the reward for the meek is to “inherit the earth.” Though the “earth” does not exist outside the Kingdom of heaven, it is contained within it because “heaven” and “earth” vibrate in different levels of spirit. In the earth universe or dimension, we have no consciousness of the Spirit of heaven. It is as if it does not exist to us in this realm, because we cannot find solid “scientific evidence” that “proves” the existence of God or the Spirit.
The meekness Jesus speaks of in the famous “Sermon,” is not “to God,” as much as it is “to us – humanity.”
“Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.” (Num 12:3 – KJV)
We don’t normally think of Moses as a “meek” person, certainly not in our normal definition of the word. Scripture says he was so that’s where we can start to see what is “divine meekness.” He was meek, but he accomplished tremendous things, even rescuing the entire enslaved 12 tribes of Israel, wresting them from Pharaoh’s hand without an army or warriors, while Moses was “armed” only with his shepherd’s rod and the Word of God. He was the “meekest man on earth” and yet mighty were his acts in God!
Where we find the “meekness” of Moses, are in his moments of breakdown or consternation regarding the acts of Pharaoh while they were being delivered from Egypt, as well as in his many crisis moments with the children of Israel in “the howling wilderness.”
Moses takes the Lord to task after the first meeting with Pharaoh, after Pharaoh refused to let the people go and as a result increased their work load. The people came to Moses saying, “We were okay before you showed up, now look what has happened. What you said the Lord would do He hasn’t done!” Moses did the only thing He knew to do, to take his complaint to the top. He basically repeated the charge of the people before God, and asked the Lord why did He let that happen? Moses said to God, “For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath done evil to this people; neither hast thou delivered thy people at all.” (Ex 5:23).
At this point the Lord decides to let Moses in on more of the plan. About how Pharaoh’s refusal to let the people go will give an opportunity for God to be glorified publically in rescuing Israel without an army or any kind of subterfuge.
In other events with the children of Israel later in the desert, they are always coming to Moses with problems and complaints. He is constantly “falling on his face before the Lord,” seeking God’s counsel on how he should lead and judge among the people.
It was his “meekness,” (as a Spirit gift within him) that got him through all those difficult times, all the way to his final moments on Mount Nebo. Always in everything, seeking only God’s counsel, power and will. Moses never said, thanks to his “meekness,” “Don’t worry y’all, I got this, I know what to do. Move over and give me room, for I am about to amaze and stun you.”
But King Saul later said the exact same thing. At the battle with the Amalekites, 1 Samuel 15, Samuel had given Saul instructions from the Lord about to handle the booty and the prisoners they captured. He was to await Samuel’s arrival, who was to perform a burnt offering sacrifice to give thanks for the battle. Saul presumed to change Samuel’s Word that had come from the Lord, and took it upon himself to perform the sacrifice, which was not lawful for him to do. Though it took some years for all the events to play out to make it manifest, in that moment of presumption the kingdom was ripped from Saul, and the “anointing” passed from Saul to David, by means of the Prophet/Priest Samuel, who secretly anointed David in the presence of his family in Bethlehem to be the new King of Israel to replace Saul, because the Lord told Samuel that He had found David, a “man after my own heart.”
Unlike Saul, the man of presumption, David knew that only God could rightfully bestow on him the kingdom. He could not reach forth and put his hand on Saul, claiming the kingdom for himself. Even though Saul had been rejected, he still held legal title to the office of King as the Lord’s “Anointed.” David knew not to touch him, to let God’s plan play out. He determined to never bring an insurrection or put together an army to rid them of Saul and place David on his throne.
That’s the meekness of David. He knew he could probably get the kingdom from Saul if he wanted to fight for it. Saul’s increasing failure to keep the land safe from the Philistines was making the people nervous, and David could have capitalized on that and made the best of Saul’s unpopularity and failures by ripping the kingdom from him. David was popular with the people and he knew there would be wide support for his cause if he decided to go that way.
But he did not. Instead, he chose the Lord’s way in him, because David was the Lord’s. Even though he had multiple opportunities to capture or kill Saul (when Saul was trying to kill and capture him), David never budged. Finally, Saul and Jonathon and the armies of Israel were overrun by the Philistines at the battle of Mt. Gilboa. Jonathon was killed by the soldiers and Saul was left alone, finally falling on his own sword.
The meekness of David, as God’s gift, brought him into the Kingship of Israel and Judah, where later prophets would say, (starting with Nathan), “He [Jesus Christ] shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” (Luke 1:32,33).
And finally, the ultimate Mr. Meekness – Jesus Christ!
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt 11:28-30).
“Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.” (Matt 21:5).
2 Tim 2:24-26
1 Tim 6:11,12
2 Cor 10:1