Meek Defined

Blessed are the meek… – Matthew 5:5

By now, you see a pattern emerging. Is Jesus totally confused about what makes people happy? If we are going to believe Him, the worse off we are, the happier we should be. If I realize that I am worthless and that I have offended God at every turn in my miserable life – this is a sure source of happiness for me! God’s kingdom seems truly upside-down, and we need to get this if we are ever going to live right side up.

Meek will need some explanation. Who are the meek? When (or should I say IF) you hear the word “meek” today it is likely either an insult or a low estimation. When I think of a winner, a go-getter, a ‘get ‘er done’ kind of person, I don’t think meek. Meek is more likely to conjure up the doormat. You want to come in heresure thing–just wipe your feet on me, and in you go. Not exactly the stuff legends are made of.

Most of the more recent translations use words like humble or gentle here, and that’s not a bad thing, but I think there is a little more to it than might be conveyed with either of these terms. So rather than living with terms that either confuse us or point us in the wrong direction, I thought I would point us to a couple of guys the Bible describes as meek (or gentle or humble.)

There are two men in the scriptures who are specifically described using this word, one in the Old Testament (actually using the Hebrew word Jesus is quoting) and one in the New.

Meek Man #1 – Moses

I love this because of all the guys you could pick as a meek man, Moses does not jump to mind. This is the guy who goes before Pharaoh and demands freedom for hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of slaves. This is the man who killed an Egyptian for abusing one of his countrymen. This is the man who somehow convinced the same hundreds of thousands of men to submit to circumcision as adults. This is the man who led those multitudes right up to the shores of the Jordan River.

He argued with God. He smashed tablets of stone written in God’s own hand. He made the Israelites drink the water with ground up gold from their make-shift God.

And yet…

Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth. ~ Numbers 12:3 (KJV)

I need a new definition for meek.

Meek Man #2 – Jesus

Jesus tells us of himself in Matthew 11:29, “I am meek and lowly in heart.” (KJV) So here is another man among men. Jesus wrecked the status quo at every turn. The religious men hated Him and He would go head to head with them in every encounter. He protected the broken and lifted those who were crushed. When I look at the man Jesus, I do not think meek–definitely no doormat status here.

I really need a new definition for meek!

I believe the key to this character trait is directional. Both Moses and Jesus clearly live with humility toward the Father. They stand in fear of no man, but they walk in submission to the voice of God. Moses leaves the known universe of his life on the back of the desert to take on a role that would seem crazy to anyone else.

Jesus said it of Himself over and over.

My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work. – John 4:34

For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.John 6:38

Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. – John 5:19

For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.John 12:49

Jesus only did the will of the Father and taught us to pray this same thing.

Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. – Matthew 6:10

There it is. This meekness we are called to is no doormat status, but rather complete and radical submission to the will and voice of our Father. This is the way to a truly blessed life, a life filled with satisfaction in God’s favor regardless of the outward situation. [tweet this]

Are you getting anything out of this study of the Beatitudes? I know I am. We’ll be back next Thursday with more.

BenHeadshotSo glad you came by.

Walk in the light!

Ben

House and Builder, Servant and Son

He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house. For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God. Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house–whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end. – Hebrews 3:2-6

As we move forward in Chapter 3 of our wander through Hebrews, we come to the comparison of Jesus and Moses.

Moses holds a special place in the heart of God, and in the eyes of men.

We learn that he was the meekest man who ever lived. (We’ll talk about this in our study of the Beatitudes in the next week or so.)

(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.) – Numbers 12:3 KJV

David speaks of Moses in his beautiful song about the mercies of the Lord,

He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel. – Psalm 103:7

Moses even shows up to encourage, or be encouraged by, Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration.

And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. – Matthew 17:3

We find the greatest testament to Moses in this statement from Exodus:

Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses returned to the camp, his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent. – Exodus 33:11

He wrote more of our Bible than anyone, even Paul.

Meek as he was, he stood before Pharoh and made demands, he stood before millions and led the nation, he stood for God in defense of the people and required God to accompany His people through the wilderness.

He acted as prophet, priest, and king, to a rebellious nation. He was a shepherd and judge, teacher and lawgiver. He was a striking type of Christ in many ways.

God used Moses hands to do arguably the greatest miracle since the creation of the heavens and the earth, the opening of the Red Sea.

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided. The sons of Israel went through the midst of the sea on the dry land, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. – Exodus 14:21-22 

I’m afraid we’ve turned this into a Sunday school story, or fairy tale, and forget that this REALY happened. No CGI. No special effects. Real water stacked on the left and right like walking down a New York City block with skyscrapers on each side.

What a guy! What a relationship with God!

…Faithful in all his house…

More later…

BenHeadshotThanks for stopping by.

Have a great day.

Ben

Of Men and Angels

Hebrews 1 stated in no uncertain terms, Jesus stands superior to angels in every way.

In this next bit, Hebrews 2:5-8 he briefly points his lens at us.

For He did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking. But one has testified somewhere, saying,

“WHAT IS MAN, THAT YOU REMEMBER HIM?
OR THE SON OF MAN, THAT YOU ARE CONCERNED ABOUT HIM?
YOU HAVE MADE HIM FOR A LITTLE WHILE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS;
YOU HAVE CROWNED HIM WITH GLORY AND HONOR,
AND HAVE APPOINTED HIM OVER THE WORKS OF YOUR HANDS;
YOU HAVE PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET.”

For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him. – Hebrews 2:5-8

First, let’s have a shout-out to all of us who sometimes remember a verse, but can’t quite pinpoint where it is. And to the rest, who judge harshly those who forget references – back-off dude!

He’s quoting from Psalm 8, and again if you go back and compare, depending on what translation you have in your lap (or laptop, tablet, phone…) there’s a 50-50 chance you’ll find God not angels in the text.

A bit of the nerd…

Let me start by saying I love the KJV. Much of the word hidden in my heart is in the king’s English. I honor it and am so thankful that we had God’s word in our language.

But one of the reasons some folks don’t see it as the “most accurate” translation comes from the fact that it is translated from the Septuagint, not the Hebrew scriptures. So, it’s a translation of a translation which, from a practical standpoint can be a little dangerous.

On the other hand, and somewhat ironically, in my opinion, the writer to the Hebrews quotes the Septuagint to his Jewish readers. Clearly, God has the ability to speak and anoint two layered translations.

…end of nerd bit.

The translation in question: Angels. Hebrew – Elohim, Greek (LXX) Aggelos.

In any case, the writer’s point is that though man may come across as being lower than angels in the hierarchy of heavenly economics, it’s not so, because God put all things in subjection to us, even the “world to come.”

Adam gave up much of man’s right and authority to the accuser in the garden. He chose to obey satan, rather than God, and this cut him off from walking in dominion as God planned.

Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? – Romans 6:16

Enslaved to sin and satan, we gave up dominion. But Jesus redeemed us from that slavery and God put us back on track for dominion over “all things,” including, “the world to come.”

We may not see the full aspect of that dominion as yet, but the writer here promises it’s coming.

In the Beatitudes Jesus teaches us:

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. – Matthew 5:5

This word meek doesn’t mean doormat, as you are no doubt aware. The best definition of meek I can come up with is “submitted to the will of the Father.”

Take the Bible’s two examples of meek.

(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.) – Numbers 12:3 KJV

Moses!

They had to get Charlton Heston to play Him in the movies. A man’s man if there ever was one. This is the guy who stood before Pharoh and demanded the release of hundreds of thousands of slaves. This is the man who led millions of complainers through the wilderness. This is the man who told God what was on his mind, over and over. And this was the man who is remembered as the friend of God.

Moses – meekest man on the face of the earth!

The Bible’s second picture of meek is Jesus.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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.Matthew 11:28-30 KJV

I used the KJV in both cases because it links to the word meek. The NASB (my favorite) uses gentle, and I just don’t think gentle communicates the intent of the word here.

So, Jesus is meek! Was He meek when He dumped the tables of the money changers and drove out the livestock with a whip of His own making in John 2? Was He meek when He pronounced the “woes” to the Pharisees in Matthew 23?

Yes, because the meekness God is looking for, and the meekness God has promised the earth to, is the meekness marked by submission to Him and His will.

These are the ones who are crowned with glory and honor. These meek ones will reign with Christ in His coming kingdom. These meek ones walk in the favor of God and will hear those fine words, “Well done thou good and faithful servant, enter into thy rest.”

BenHeadshotThanks for stopping by today.

Blessings

Ben

If you’ve missed anything – check out the Hebrews page to get caught up.