Meditations on Meekness - Part 2
A Biblical Definition
Psalm 37 is perhaps the best place to look for a biblical definition of meekness. In fact the Beatitude in Matthew 5:5 is taken directly from that Psalm and verse 11. The wording is virtually parallel. Further on in verse 22 we read, “For those blessed by the Lord shall inherit the land”. In other words the blessed man inherits the land just as the meek man does. So, blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.
Notice two things about the meek man:
(i) He trusts the Lord: “Fret not yourself because of evildoers be not envious of wrongdoers! …Trust in the Lord, and do good, dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness” (Ps. 37:1,3). He trusts God and doesn’t worry when evildoers seem to be getting their way. God is bigger in his vision than men. They will soon wither and fade (Ps. 37:2). He knows that God will vindicate him at some point (Ps.37:6). So he continues to do what is right and remain faithful to the Lord.
When others panic and run the other way in times of trial or persecution, or when the culture seems to be prevailing, meek people stay steadfast with their eyes on God.
(ii) He commits his way and quietly waits: “Commit your way to the Lord” (Ps. 37:6). “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him” (Ps. 37:7). His trust is revealed in his dependence on God in all his ways. He literally “rolls” his works onto the Lord. He is not hasty of spirit. He is also not passive (he is doing good and staying faithful), but he waits for the Lord to act.
The meek person is prayerful, casting their anxieties upon the Lord (1 Peter 5:7). And the meek person is patient, knowing the Lord will give good gifts to his children (Matt. 7:11).
Meek people have a quiet steadfastness about them. They are not angry or anxious because they know God is sovereign and has their back.
A Biblical Illustration
Finally, lets look briefly at a biblical illustration of meekness - Moses.
“Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth.” (Num. 12:3).
The context is that Aaron and Miriam have pridefully challenged Moses authority by accusing him of sin but revealing, in themselves, an envious desire for power:
“Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married, for he had married a Cushite woman. And they said, “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?” (Num. 12:1-2)
The reason Moses was called the meekest of men, is that he didn’t leap to his own defence or lash out in vengeance. Instead he waited for the Lord to act. There is a key phrase at the end of verse 2, “And the Lord heard it”. The Lord sees and hears everything. Meek people know that and trust that. Most of the time when we get angry at injustices against us and lash out it’s because we are not meek. It is enough that the Lord knows. You can be sure he will act justly and eventually bring things to light. Of course, the Lord does act for Moses: “And suddenly the Lord said to Moses and to Aaron and Miriam, “Come out, you three, to the tent of meeting.” (Num. 12:4). The result is that he deals with Aaron and Miriam and they face the consequences of his displeasure.
Moses did not assert his rights, even when he could. He showed strength that was under control. He trusted the Lord, committed his way to him and quietly waited.