The Beatitudes: The Meek
October 6, 2019
by Barry Fike
Isaiah 61:1- “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor and afflicted...” (Amplified)
Meek, to us, basically means some kind of a “Casper Milquetoast” sort of character. In English the word meek can be translated, “poor, weak, afflicted or humble.” But when Jesus uses the word what does it mean? Whatever it means I want it because those are the ones that are going to inherit the earth. We know from the previous two verses that he’s always hinting (remez) back to something that has already been said and then giving his own idealistic interpretation.
Psalm 37:9- “For evildoers shall be cut off: but those who wait and hope and look for the Lord, [in the end] shall inherit the earth.” (Amplified)
According to David those who wait and hope and look for the Lord shall inherit the earth. So what’s hope in this verse? It’s not wishful thinking. It’s simply one’s confident conviction that God will do what he has said he will do. This is the person who is hoping for, waiting for the looking for the Lord. They shall inherit the earth.
Psalm 37:11- “But the meek [in the end] shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” (Amplified)
Psalms 37:21- “The wicked borrows and pays not again; but the uncompromisingly righteous deals kingly and gives (is generous).”
Psalms 37:29- “[Then] the [consistently] righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell upon it forever.” (Amplified)
Isaiah 60:21- “Your people also shall all be [uncompromisingly and consistently] righteous; they shall possess the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the word of My hands, that I may be glorified.” (Amplified)
Jesus paraphrases the words of Ps. 37:11 “they shall inherit the earth” in the current manner of the midrash by “theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” According to his interpretation the word “earth” has a spiritual sense and symbolizes the “earth” of eschatology - viz. The kingdom of heaven.
Following a common Jewish pattern Jesus explained the biblical “they shall inherit the earth” as sharing in the final salvation (in the world to come or in the kingdom of heaven).
The wicked borrows and pays not again, but the uncompromisingly righteous deals kindly and gives. We see this idea of tzedakah, or generosity, rising to the forefront. Who is going to inherit the earth? The uncompromisingly righteous will.
Thus, to be meek means one who is hoping for, who is confidently expecting the coming of the Lord, who is waiting for him, who is uncompromisingly righteous in that he gives of himself in the ministry (of others or) to others. This is the person that’s going to inherit the earth. When Jesus said, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy leaden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me for I am meek and lowly at heart.” Here Jesus was alluding to those Jews who did not see the law as a burden at all but something to be borne proudly and joyfully—with happiness. Why? Those that are uncompromisingly righteous find that the “burden” of Jesus is the burden of a good heart, of tzedakah – the burden of generosity. The burden of being consistently and uncompromisingly righteous is easy. This is a burden that looks to the problems and burdens of others. It takes our eyes off of ourselves and puts us into the servant mode that sees everyone else and the needs that they have. This was the ministry of Jesus, and this is the ministry that he offers his followers. The burden of stinginess, or miserliness, of the evil eye—that is a heavy burden.
Who will inherit the earth? The uncompromisingly righteous. Who deals kindly and gives? The uncompromisingly righteous. Who shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever? The uncompromisingly righteous. Who are the meek? The uncompromisingly righteous. It has nothing to do with weakness or even humility. To be meek means to be righteous and to be righteous (tzedakah) means to serve others.