Having been purged of the aggressive desire for riches and fearful grasping for what is “mine, not yours,” the faithful are purged of wrathful anger by the Lord.

Meekness is the virtue that moderates anger and preserves the middle ground between too much anger and not enough (for there are things (e.g., injustice) that should incite anger). The meek are given the gift of authority over their anger. They are purged of anger rooted in obsession with improper objects.  They possess the land but are not possessed by it.

Purged of excessive and inappropriate anger, they do not seek vengeance nor do they wish to dominate others. They do not judge rashly and do not see in their neighbor a rival to be overcome, but rather a brother to be helped and to be a source of support. The meek are not stubbornly attached to their own judgment. Because they are not dominated by egocentric anger, they are able to express themselves simply and straightforwardly. They do not need to call Heaven to witness in trivial matters. There is little need for a person purged of this sort of anger to feel he must return anger to the angry, or crush a vulnerable oppressor.

To say that the meek are purged of unrighteous anger is also to say that they are purged of the most common root of anger: fear. The first Beatitude removes a good bit of this by purging from us our obsession with worldly and passing matters. No longer obsessed with having more, we are purged of many of our fears as well. And thus the way for meekness is paved. As fear is purged, meekness grows.

 
 
In this beatitude, again there is a word that gives negative feelings. On first glance, meek implies weakness. A popular idea of a meek person is one who lacks spirit and courage. A second look at the dictionary yields other and more positive definitions.

The meek is one who is strong but not violent, able to endure injury with patience and without resentment. A better idea of the meaning is “humility”. The meek person of this beatitude is one who is secure, humble, and unassuming. Jesus called himself meek and gentle. It describes a person who is able to handle conflicts and insults without an ego crisis. In our time, we say the meek person is one who “has it all put together”.

Jesus said these non-aggressors would inherit the earth. What did he mean? Inheritance is to receive an unearned gift. The recipient is an heir who, without personal effort, takes control and ownership of property as a beneficiary. This idea contrasts with the popular belief that you must work harder, think faster, and compete aggressively to succeed.

But it is here – the meek shall inherit the earth. What is the earth? Here “earth” means the realm of your existence. It is your environment. It is the place and circumstance of your life.

So the humble and gentle will be given control of their existence. God will do this. He will cause harmony between the meek person and all the circumstances of his life. Toil and effort to exist, survive, and succeed are no longer required. The God who controls all things takes control of you life to make your efforts easier, more productive and satisfying.

Strife can become a thing of the past when your life is in God’s hands, and is managed by His power and love. Worry and anxiety go away. This is Hs gift, His blessing to the meek.  
 
St. Gregory of Nyssa taught that the Beatitudes build one upon another. A humble person becomes meek, or becomes gentle and kind, and exhibits a docility of spirit, even in the face of adversity and hardship. A person that is meek is one that exhibits self-control. St. Augustine advises us to be meek in the face of the Lord, and not resist but be obedient to him. Obedience and submission to the will of God are certainly not in vogue these days, but they will bring one peace in this world and in the next. 
 

 He is meek who represses every rising impulse of anger, impatience, and desire of revenge, and willingly puts up with everything that God, to prove him, decrees or permits to happen to him, or that men inflict upon him. He who thus controls himself is like a calm and tranquil sea, in which the image of the Divine Sun is ever reflected.

 

Matthew 5:5. Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth. In our meditations on the third beatitude, we find ourselves in happy company with that blessed One who was "meek and lowly in heart." There is evidently, in this third class, a great advance in the soul's blessedness. The heir of glory has been learning in the school of Christ how to meet the troubles of this life, as He met them. This is a great lesson, and greatly needed. Let us see that we master it fully.

In our first lesson we were shown the true condition of every soul that really knows God, and is conformed to the character of Christ — "poor in spirit." This condition being the result of what the soul sees itself to be in the divine presence, it is chiefly a question between the soul and God. All is blessed and happy there. But in going forth into the world, and attending to the various duties of this life, so many causes of trouble come in our way, that we groan in spirit. This is our second lesson. It is one of daily experience. The great advance in the third class seems to be this: the soul has so grown in grace, that now, in place of a questioning, reasoning, self-willed spirit being manifested in this scene of trial, the disciple meekly bows his head in submission to the Father's will, and learns of Jesus to be meek and lowly in heart; for, after all, in these circumstances it is a question of either self-will or submission.

The lowly in heart begins to see more clearly that, in spite of everything around him, God is accomplishing the counsels of His own will, and making all things work together for good to them that love Him, and are the called according to His purpose. This fuller knowledge of God and His ways produces a deeply chastened state of mind. Though groaning in spirit, and mourning over the wickedness of man, the rejection of Christ by those we love, and the failure of those who bear His name, the man of faith is quiet and humble! he walks with God in the midst of it all, and refers everything to Him. In the lowest murmur of the enemy, or in his loudest roar, he hears his Father's voice; in the smallest injury or in the greatest outrage, he owns His hand; he envies not the world its pleasures, or the wicked their prosperity; all his resources are in the living God; and he can turn to Him, rest in Him, rejoice in Him, and walk with Him, above the conflicts of this troubled scene. But rest assured, my soul, that this state of blessedness is only enjoyed by those who thus know God, and believe that He is accomplishing the hidden purposes of His love, in spite of the abounding evil and wicked purposes of man. A Father's voice, a Father's hand, a Father's will, a Father's purpose, cannot fail to create and sustain a meek and lowly spirit. Faith has thus forcibly expressed itself in one of our finest songs:- 
"Is God for me? I fear not, though all against me rise; 
When I call on Christ, my Saviour, the host of evil flies. 
My friend, the Lord Almighty, and He who love's me, God! 
What enemy shall harm me, though coming as a flood? 

I know it, I believe it, I say it fearlessly, 
That God, the highest, mightiest, for ever loveth me. 
At all times, in all places, He standeth at my side; 
He rules the battle's fury, the tempest, and the tide. 

No angel and no heaven, no throne, nor power, nor might, 
No love, no tribulation, no danger, fear, nor fight; 
No height, no depth, no creature that has been or can be, 
Can drive me from Thy bosom, can sever me from Thee. 

My heart in joy upleapeth, grief cannot linger there; 
She singeth high in glory, amid the sunshine fair; 
The sun that shines upon me is Jesus and His love, 
The fountain of my singing is deep in heaven above."

But if thou wouldst see, my soul, in absolute perfection, the meekness of which we speak, thou must turn in thy meditations to Him who knew deeper sorrow here, and deeper communion above, than any of His people can ever know. While discoursing to the people of the kingdom, and answering their questions, He has the sense of the true state of the people, and of His own rejection as the Messiah, the King of the Jews. What sorrow must have filled His heart! What relief and rest He ever found in His Father's bosom!

We will now turn for a little to Matthew 11:20-30. Here we have the distinct expression and the perfect combination of these two things in Jesus — groaning in spirit because of surrounding evil, and entire submission to His Father's will, with praise and thanksgiving. Scarcely had "Woe, woe," fallen from His lips, when He looked up to heaven, and said, "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth." With the growing, deepening sense of the unbelief of the people whom He loved, and their blinded rejection of Himself as Emmanuel in their midst, He meekly bows to His Father's sovereign will, sees only perfection in it here, and the glory that would follow it hereafter. "Thou hast hid those things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight." As it then was, so has it been ever since, and so is it now. Mark well, my soul, what thou art now writing. Thou hast Jesus before thee as the obedient man, and the Father's ways in grace with the meek and lowly. He shields the Person of His beloved Son from the unholy gaze of unbelief, and hides His glory from the pride of man. "No man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him." All who have dared to penetrate, in the pride of intellect, into the deep mysteries of His Person, have but revealed their own blindness and folly, and exposed themselves to the snares of the enemy. But to the lowly in heart — the worshipping heart — the full blessedness of the knowledge of Jesus and His ways is made known. "The meek will he guide in judgment, and the meek will he teach his way. . . . The meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace." (Ps. 25, 37) These passages no doubt refer to the millennial earth, when the God-fearing remnant shall possess it, in association with Christ as their king of glory. It is not said, observe, that they shall inherit heaven, but the earth. The place of their trial and sorrow will one day be the scene of their rest, their glory, and blessedness. The Christian will possess it in a higher way — as one with Christ, who will then feed the poor with bread, and, like the disciples of old, the heavenly saints may be privileged to distribute it.

But, to return, it may be well for the servant — the Christian, especially tried ones — to look more closely into the nature of the discouragements which led the blessed Lord and Master to turn to His Father as His only resource.

He had come to His own, but His own received Him not. The people He loved, and had come to redeem, had no heart for Him. When John the Baptist came with mournful tidings, they refused to lament; when Jesus came with glad tidings, they refused to rejoice. They would not have Him on any terms. This is the secret of the comparatively small success of the gospel in all ages. The natural heart prefers the enjoyment of present things to a rejected Christ and a heaven that is thought to be far away. The most solemn warnings by John, and the most gracious invitations by Jesus, were alike unheeded by that generation. Enough to break any preacher's heart. When the attractions of grace, the appeals of love, the threatenings of justice, the miseries of hell, the glories of heaven, fail to arrest or awaken the careless — when the preacher's heart is broken because of the hardness of men's hearts — what is he to do? Retire into the presence of God, and in communion with Him learn his lesson more perfectly, both as to service and submission. This is the only refuge and resting-place for the disappointed workman. Let us now see how the Lord acted.

He knew perfectly the state of the people, and how they had refused the goodness of God, both in His Person and ministry. The inevitable result of such unbelief must be judgment. Accordingly, we read, "Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not. Woe unto thee, Chorazin! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida! . . . . And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shall be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works which have been done in thee had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for thee." This is most solemn! A more terrible, a more unsparing judgment is denounced against these highly-favoured cities in the land of Israel than on the notorious corruptions of Sodom. But has not this a voice to the highly-privileged gospel-hearer of our own day? Most assuredly it has. No judgment will be so heavy, so unsparing, as that which will ere long fall on apostate Christendom. The higher the place of privilege, the deeper must be the fall of those who are untrue — who have merely the name of Christ, without the reality. And do not such abound now, as in the days of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum? Alas! the answer need not be given; the question rather is, where are the real, the true, witnesses for the glory of His Person and the authority of His word? The thought is overwhelming. What is to be done? What did the Lord do? He turned to His Father.

"At that time Jesus answered, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth." In a word, in place of complaining of the treatment He received from others, and vindicating Himself, He meekly bows to the sovereign will of His Father, falls into His hands, as Lord of heaven and earth — the wise disposer of all things; and what is the result? Just what it must ever be — He receives the blessing. Not merely a promise, but the possession — "All things are delivered unto me of my Father." And this proves to be the occasion, through grace, of a fuller revelation of God, and of a richer blessing to mankind. "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." How beautiful and precious this is, as an example to us! it is always the way of blessing both to ourselves and others. When Jesus was despised as a man, rejected as the Messiah, and refused His crown of glory, He did not stand up for His rights, as we would say, but meekly submitted, and looked up to His Father as Lord of heaven and earth. He could leave all in His hands, and wait His sovereign will. In the meantime the blessing flows, like a wave of life, from the ocean of eternal love — it overflows all Jewish limits.

The Gentiles are brought in here. The Father is revealed as the source of all blessing. "Come unto me. . . . I will give you rest." The poor Gentile as well as the Jew; are you weary and heavy laden? "Come unto me." It is pure grace now. No qualification required, save that you are weary and heavy laden. Come, just as you are, just now; "I will give you rest." The blessed Lord does not here say by what means He will give us rest, but we must trust Him. He can no more trust man, man must now trust Him. There is no other way of blessing now. There is only one question: Is He fit to be trusted? This is all. Trust Him. "Blessed are all they that put their trust in him." Psalm 2:12.

But this full, flowing tide of grace does not lead to carelessness of walk, as man might say it would. "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." The difference between the two verses is very distinct, and has been often noticed. In verse 28 it is, "Come unto me . . . . and I will give you rest;" in verse 29 it is, "Take my yoke upon you . . . . and ye shall find rest to your souls." The one is pure, absolute, unconditional grace to the sinner; the other is the yoke of Christ for the believer. The reason why so few have learnt to meet the troubles of this life as He met them, is, because they are not under His yoke, and learning of Him. They are thinking of their own character; how much they have been misunderstood, how grossly they have been misrepresented, how falsely accused, and how unjustly or unkindly treated. They have not learnt that their own reputation is the last thing they should think about; that now they have only to care for the character of Christ. Those who are under the same yoke must walk side by side, and step by step. True, the strong one may pull the weak one through, when the chariot wheels sink deep in the sand of the desert; but they must walk together. The Lord give us thus to learn the great truth of our third beatitude, "Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth."

"Smooth let the waves of life be, Lord, or rough,
Without Thine arm to lean on, I must fail;
But while upheld, by Thy sustaining grace
Calmly I walk, superior to them all.

And as I gaze upon Thee, where Thou art — 
The vague, wild tumult of life's inner sea,
The feverish throbbings of this restless heart,
Are calmed, as, risen Lord! I walk with Thee.

For since I've seen Thee seated far above,
At God's right hand in yonder glorious sphere,
The light which led me to that place of love
Revealed the wreck of everything down here!"

 
 
Daily Meditation by(c) 2013 Don Schwager
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