PRAYING THE BEATITUDES, PART 4
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”
The spiritually poor inherit heavenly kingdoms. Mourners obtain comfort. The meek inherit the earth. God delights in doing the impossible, the unlikely, the unimaginable. He makes dead souls alive, sinners righteous, mortals immortal. So it’s really no surprise that today we see that those who choose meekness will be in for some amazing recompense. I’ll be treading lightly here, because I lack wisdom in these things; I’m intrigued, though, by the reward: inheriting the earth. How does this connect with meekness?
Let’s look at meekness for a moment. Firstly, the meek are those who choose to submit to the Father of their souls rather than the dominant culture of earth, instant gratification. As a result, the meek are rarely at the top of the list of those who rule this earth. Many of its goods rarely find their way into the pockets of the meek. Jesus clearly connects following Him with disinterest in this world’s treasures. The meek do not have the world by the tail. In fact Jesus implies that to gain the world is to forfeit one’s soul (Matt. 16:26). Secondly, the meek are those who choose humility. They focus on the greatness of God and the sanctity of God’s image in every person. They see their own worth not as self-made but made by and for God. To be meek means to reject every temptation to view self other than how God views us. Jesus knows this is a challenging task for us, embracing this character trait of meekness. In his call to discipleship he invites us, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls”. The apostle Paul describes a connection between the meekness of Jesus and his sovereign administration of earth: ”Christ Jesus…made himself nothing…humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place…that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth” (Phil.2). Let’s not confuse meek with weak. It takes enormous strength of character to choose meekness over autarchism, submission to God over retention of self-rule.
Somehow in God’s mysterious plans for earth, God intends to delegate something of His earth-rule to His people, specifically the meek people. I’m not sure if it will be this version of the earth, or another one. This old earth has suffered badly since the fall from Eden, but Revelation 21 reveals a new earth will come. Perhaps this is when the meek will come into their inheritance. Perhaps He has something further in mind we have yet to discover. Regardless of the when and how and where, the axiom will hold. Its fulfillment is sure. The meek will inherit the earth.
Again Jesus brings prayer into the process of our transformation. He includes in His sample prayer of Matthew 6:13, “And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one”. To exchange our pride for meekness we must earnestly desire to avoid pride. We must pray without ceasing for God’s protection from the temptation to revert to self-rule (the root of every temptation). How quickly we rise to defend our positions of power, our rights, at the slightest hint of offense. Only the prayer of humility will do.
2500 years ago God gave this advice to a young ruler of Israel. I believe its relevance still holds for us today. “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (II Chron. 7:14).