Why the Meek Are Blessed By God
by Andy Diestelkamp

From Washington, D.C., to Beverly Hills, California, it is the rich and famous, the influential and powerful, whose lives are glamorized. From our youth, entertainers and athletes of all kinds are our heroes. As we mature, perhaps we begin to see beyond the thin facade of fame, but let a notable personality suddenly cross our path and we revert to giddy groupies mugging for a photo-op. (“If I may but touch his garment, I shall be...”what?! Made whole? important? powerful? wealthy? humble?) Aren’t we just a little bit embarrassed about how we sometimes behave ourselves in the presence of flawed men and women who have become famous for their looks, their money, their power, or their ability to do something with a ball?
Greatness is often sought through very carnal means and measured by very shallow standards. However, just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so is strength, intelligence, and greatness. Paul wrote, “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called” (1 Cor. 1:26). So, who are the wisest, the strongest, and the most beautiful in the eye of The Beholder? Who are the ones who will achieve greatness, success, and reward? Those the world would least expect.

            Have you ever found yourself being envious of what others (who do not fear God as they ought) have? Perhaps you have questioned why the corrupt and godless can live so comfortably while you struggle to make ends meet. Indeed, when I make such comparisons, I reveal a discontentment that does not befit the faith that I profess in Christ. Paul wrote that he had learned to be content regardless of his economic or physical status and boldly announced, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:11-13).

            David wrote, “Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity” (Psa. 37:1). In this psalm he proceeds to reveal that the end of the wicked is nothing to be envied. The reward and inheritance offered by God is not going to go to the famous but to the meek (vs. 11). The defining characteristics of the meek are revealed in this psalm. The meek trust in God (vs. 3). They delight in God (vs. 4). They commit themselves to God (vs. 5). They patiently wait on God (vs. 7). They cease from anger and wrath (vs. 8). To be meek is to forego what the flesh has the ability to do, and what perhaps the world would say we have the right to do, and instead submit to the will of God. Thus Jesus quotes from this psalm in beginning His sermon on the mount and identifies those to whom the kingdom of heaven belongs (Matt. 5:5).

            So, why does God favor the meek? One reason is that the meek know their place. Paul tells us that because men in their arrogance have chosen not to know God, He has chosen to reveal the way of salvation in a manner that would be foolishness to many who are wise in their own eyes (1 Cor. 1:21). This He did so that no flesh should glory in His presence (vs. 29). At first one might ignorantly think that God feels threatened by any competition; however, our pride does not threaten God in the least. It threatens us. A warped perspective of our own worthiness based on our  own intelligence, wealth, power, or beauty significantly decreases the likelihood that we will see how dire our spiritual condition really is.

            When Eve rationalized her choice to ignore God’s instructions (Gen. 3:6), she was not being meek. God values the quality of meekness because it honors and submits to what is right, rather than what the flesh selfishly wants. The problem of sin is not merely the technical transgression, but the prideful attitude that rationalizes and justifies serving one’s own will over God’s will. (And this can even happen with things that are not technically sin.) The end result of such my-opic arrogance is a depravity that can only be called ugly (Rom. 1:22-32).

            God offers something much better, and the meek recognize this. Indeed, it is the meek who will repent, obey, and conform to the will of God. Recall the incident with Naaman and his leprosy (2 Ki. 5:9-14). For whatever reason, Naaman was too proud to do something as apparently foolish as washing in the Jordan River to be made clean. It just did not make any sense from his perspective. God does not ask us to do “foolish” things for the sake of the act itself but to demonstrate the submissive attitude of meekness. When we resist doing the will of God simply because it does not make any sense to us, it indicates that we are not as meek as we ought to be.

            If we are not as meek as we ought to be, then it is going be very difficult to have a righteousness that exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees. Yet, unless we do, we will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 5:20). Indeed, as we then continue to read all of Jesus’ “but I say unto you” commands following His challenge to have excellent righteousness, we come to realize that meekness is critical to carrying out those commands. Reconciliation (vss. 23-25), self-control (vss. 28-30), not causing someone else to sin (vss. 31,32), being true to your word (vs. 37), and enduring unfair treatment (vss. 39-42) all require this quality of meekness.

            Yet ultimately the reason God values meekness so highly is that it is reflective of His image in which we were created. Jesus calls upon us to love our enemies (vss. 43-48), which certainly takes meekness. When we bless those who do not deserve to be blessed, then we are being like God. In our relationships with one another, we are called upon to have the mind of Christ and not look out after our own interests but the interests of others (Phil. 2:3-8). The example of the suffering of Christ is an example of meekness, not only in that He endured the cross, but that He did it for us, and we do not deserve such grace (1 Pet. 2:21-24). When we follow Jesus’ example and meekly submit to the governing authorities (1 Pet. 2:13ff), our masters (vss. 18ff), and our spouses (3:1-4), then we are truly disciples of Jesus Christ.

            The world has its standards of greatness, and so does God. They are rarely the same. From the evolutionary theory of survival of the fittest, to the fleeting fame of Hollywood, to the endzone antics of athletes, there does not seem to be much meekness. Yet God has told us what is good and what He expects of us: “to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with [our] God” (Mic. 6:8).

            The spirit of meekness is not just for women in their relationships with their husbands; it is essential in our relationships with God and one another. It is no wonder then that God in His “foolishness” requires us to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins (Ac. 2:38). True repentance is only possible in a heart that is meek; and a meek heart will not resist but will submit to being baptized (note the passive action) into Jesus Christ.

            Nothing we do is done truly on our own, nor should it be done for our own glory, but in humble submission to the will of God. It is only in meekness that we can respond to the meek and lowly invitation of our Lord and God and find rest for our souls (Matt. 11:29).

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