Laymanointing

…. they were unschooled, ordinary men …. they had been with Jesus …. the crippled man healed standing with them – Acts 4:13,14

Blessed are the meek … & responding in the opposite spirit

 

In the Sermon on the Mount, one of the 8 blessings is
Blessed are the meek‘.

What does meekness mean?

Does meekness mean weakness in our highly competitive, sometimes ‘win at any cost’ world?  When the environment is challenging, the stakes are high …. and we’re in the firing line, what can we do?

Is it worth it?


Meekness/Gentlenessmeek
a notable characteristic of Jesus … means to approach others (including one’s enemies) in a humble and caring spirit, not using force to get one’s way. – William Mounce 1

strength under control – Charles Swindoll 2


 

Jesus Meekness 

In today’s leadership bestsellers and media heroes,
winning and being in control is highly prized.
Others serve on the ground, get their hands dirty, … while leaders strategically plan, direct, delegate, motivate, and lead from the top.
Its seldom meekness/gentleness and humility are esteemed as desirable leadership traits …

Jesus says, “I am meek and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29 ASV)

i.e. coming down from a position of strength, authority, eminence … and taking the position of an unimportant servant, … serving others faithfully, quietly, … helping others be more successful … supporting others to win. (Philippians 2:5-11).
(undercover boss)

Jesus is both the Lion of Judah, and the Lamb of God.
A leader who gave up his life for everyone.

 

For Jesus, no ministry or work was too insignificant …. including years spent as an unknown carpenter … and physically washing His disciples feet … when none of the disciples aspired for this lowly servant task.

At the last supper, the disciples were contemplating on their self-importance … ‘who is the greatest?
A case of everyone wanting to lead at the top … no one willing to serve,
rolling up one’s sleeves and getting one’s hands dirty

As they waited … and waited …

Jesus laid aside everything,
took the role of the youngest, the least,
and graciously served everyone,
… an unforgettable quiet example etched in the disciples’ memory … exposing what’s in their hearts and our hearts.

Jesus led by His living example.

Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. (John 13:3-5 NIV)

Is our own identity confidently wrapped around what we do, what titles we have, which choice seat we sit, what qualifications/accolades we’ve earned,
… or who we are in Christ?

Jesus said,
25 …”Kings like to throw their weight around and people in authority like to give themselves fancy titles.
It’s not going to be that way with you. 

(Luke 22:25, 26a MSG)

“26 But you are not to be like that.
Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.
27  … I am among you as one who serves … ”
(Luke 22:26,27 NIV)

14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
(John 13:14-17 NIV)

Jesus defined leadership through His life, … through everyday acts of service
… the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:28 NIV)

In Acts, the ministries of Stephen and Philip began when they ‘wait on tables‘, i.e. serving the daily food distribution (Acts 6)

Jesus ministered to the high and mighty …  ate with tax-collectors and drunkards .. and patiently ministered to adulterers.  He did not ignore anyone or felt they were too lowly or sinful for Him to minister to.

While writing this post, somehow, had a chance meeting with a Chinese pastor with a shepherd’s heart of a sizeable church.  I’ve not seen him for a while, … however, as something else was on my mind, I was not able to stop by to chat.

Later in the day, … wrote an appreciation note for his kindness and time in ministering to 2 of my friends, and an update.
Although one of my friends is not part of his church, he went the extra mile to help him, …. as a result, they regularly pray for this pastor.

Despite leadership challenges within the church, this pastor faithfully continues to do good, giving his time to personally minister, humbly serve and bless others, …. including many a late nights; … wisely focusing on ministry in word and deed;
not a tinge of offense over the challenges he faced.

Received a prompt reply from him.  His gracious note is warm and inspiring,

“… It was a privilege to be able to help various people in some ways.
There’s indeed a lot of struggles in ministry,
but there’s a lot of rewards too.
The Lord is good and faithful.”

A portrait of meekness in leadership … a glimpse of Jesus our good shepherd.

By the way, this pastor’s response is exemplary in another way — he replied promptly, thoughtfully.
Its not often one receives a prompt, thoughtful reply from busy leaders, … especially on his rest day, …. and to one who is not part of his congregation.

…  sadly sometimes, … its just silence.

Little touches do matter to “little people.”
… and they will love you for it.


 

Like Jesus’ example at the passover dinner, ….
servant-hearted brethren are quite easy to spot at a fellowship dinner, eg
.. voluntarily coming early to assist in whatever way with a smile
.. quietly staying back late to clean up, clear up, throw away the rubbish
.. assisting the elderly
.. attentively serving others, hospitable with a smile


 

“26 … the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.
27  … I am among you as one who serves … ”
(Luke 22:26,27 NIV)

A strong team in any endeavor (or ministry) is made up of people with different strengths willing to humbly collaborate & cooperate together to multiply & synthesize their collective strengths, … meekly support & respectfully serve one another towards a shared outcome, … willing to lay aside ‘who gets the credit‘ for the greater good;
focused on the ultimate shared outcome and the benefits to the customer/beneficiary, … while laying aside each individual’s personal vision, methodology/process, perceived superiority/importance, pride and subjective preferences, qualifications … objectively choosing instead to support one another … for the greater good … and win together as a team.

14 …. you also should wash one another’s feet  ..
17 … 
you will be blessed if you do them.
(John 13:14,17 NIV)

Be devoted to one another in love.
Honor one another above yourselves.
Romans 12:10 (NIV)

Philippians 2:3,4 (NIV, MSG)
then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage.
Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.


 

Meekness in the firing line

In the gospels, when Jesus was provoked/challenged by the many religious leaders who tried to ensnare Him,
Jesus answered wisely, graciously, succinctly
… firmly staking His ground, without compromising His principles and values,
replying with clear, rational, logic, in a civil and respectful way  … exposing fallacy.

Let’s look at one example from Jesus,

John 8:1-11 (NASB)
Early in the morning Jesus came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees *brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they said to Him,

“Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act.
Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women;
what then do You say?”

They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them,

“He who is without sin among you,
let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. 10 Straightening up, Jesus said to her,

“Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?”

11 She said, “No one, Lord.”

And Jesus said,
“I do not condemn you, either.
Go. From now on sin no more.”

He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Note the tone and manner in which Jesus spoke to the religious leaders,
knowing their intentions.

While they accused the woman, … Jesus  did not accuse them.
While they were confrontational, … Jesus did not confront them of their sin.
While they were condemning the woman, … Jesus did not condemn them and the woman.
While they were ready to exercise judgment … it was not the time for Jesus to execute His final judgment.

On that morning, there was only One who was truly without sin,
and He did not sin in this confrontation.

Jesus was gracious and respectful to the religious leaders.
He was firm on where He stood, … without adding fuel to the flame.

In one compact sentence … He sentenced their intentions.

A true example of meekness under fire,
and responding in the opposite spirit.

Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Matthew 5:5 (NIV)

His measured response, quenched the misguided challenge from the religious leaders.
And in the silence that followed,
… they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones,
and He was left alone, and the woman
He silence silenced them.

Some other examples of His silencing one-liners:

“Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,
and to God the things that are God’s”

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

Now Jesus stood before the governor. And the governor asked Him, saying,
“Are You the King of the Jews?
Jesus said to him, “It is as you say.”

Matthew 21:23-27 (NKJV)
23 …  the chief priests and the elders of the people confronted Him as He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?”
24 But Jesus answered and said to them,  …25 The baptism of John—where was it from? From heaven or from men?”

And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’
26 But if we say, ‘From men,’ we fear the multitude, for all count John as a prophet.”

27 So they answered Jesus and said,
“We do not know.”
And He said to them,
“Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.

Towards the religious leaders,
Jesus was fortright, assertive and uncompromising.

Matthew 21:12-14 (NIV)
12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”
14 The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them.

At the temple, Jesus physically confronted the profiteering, irreverent money changers and merchants with authority (Matt 12:12-13) and single-handedly drove them out, … at the same time he tenderly healed the blind and the lame who came to him in the temple with compassion (Matt 12:14).
A perfect balance of strength and meekness … just and merciful.
(btw, years of physical carpentry work had built his muscular physique and stature)

With regards to the money changers and merchants, these are people of Israel who know the covenant and law of God  … therefore, they should know better  what not to do in the temple.

Just before Jesus entered the temple, there’s one little detail in Luke’s account

Luke 19:41 (NIV)
 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it

Jesus interceded for the city.

When in the firing line … its worth for us to keep in mind:

John 18:36 (NKJV)
Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here. 

Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV)
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood,
but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

1 Corinthians 3:10 (NIV, MSG)
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.

The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will.

Also, as we walk with Him, there’re times and seasons in the plans of the Lord,
He is in control.

Earlier, in Jesus’ ministry,

28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 29 They got up, drove Jesus out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff.
30 But Jesus walked right through the crowd and went on his way.
(Luke 4:28-30 NIV)

30 At this they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, because
his hour had not yet come.

(John 7:30)

Much later,

 He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him,
‘The Teacher says:
My appointed time is near. …
(Matthew 26:18 NIV)

On the cross, Jesus said

“Father, forgive them,
for they do not know what they do.”
(Luke 23:34 NKJV)

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said,
It is finished!”
And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.
John 19:30 (NKJV)

 


Loren Cunningham:

Meekness is the character trait of a strong person who is continually surrendering his or her rights to God.  Jesus was the perfect example of meekness, for as He said, He did nothing except what the Father told Him to do.  Jesus was meek when He took a whip and drove the money-changers from the temple, just as He was meek when He stood  before Pilate and refused to utter a word to save Himself.

When Jesus said that the meek would inherit the earth, He was telling us His master strategy for winning the war against Satan and demon forces on this earth.  God is going to utterly defeat Satan, and He’s going to do it with individuals who move in the opposite spirit to the forces of darkness.  We are going to win the victory, but only as we discern what the devil is doing and do the opposite thing in the power of the Holy Spirit….

Sometimes we need to do more than relinquish rights — we need to understand what the enemy is trying to do in our lives and combat it in the opposite spirit

God allows attacks from the enemy in order to extend Christ’s Kingdom on earth. We take literal ground for God in this world every time we respond correctly to Satan’s offensive ….

A tiny band of Christians found themselves pitted against the formidable forces of the entire Roman Empire.  A giant nation with hundreds of thousands of soldiers, enslaving every known nation on earth, fueled by the ambition and greed of its citizens and the madness of its dictators, had turned its entire fury upon a handful of people who preached that the Son of God had come to live, die and rise again in a remote part of the empire.

Early believers responded to this onslaught in the opposite spirit.  Thousands went meekly to their deaths in every terrifying form which successive emperors could devise.  But the meek won the war.  For every Christian torn apart by the lions of the arena, more would see their silent witness and join their ranks.  Within three hundred years, Christianity became the official religion of Rome.  Eventually the world’s mightiest nation lay in ruins, while Christianity continued to spark and spread among new lands and peoples.
The meek do inherit the earth.

Source:  Loren Cunningham, Making Jesus Lord, The dynamic power of laying down your rights,  YWAM Publishing, 1988, pg 100, 118, 107

Paul wrote,
… When we are cursed, we bless;
when we are persecuted, we endure it;
when we are slandered, we answer kindly …  
1 Corinthians 4:12,13 (NIV)

 


In 2012, a large restaurant chain in the US, Chik-fil-A was caught in a controversy over LGBT issues, that drew protests at restaurants & campuses, and strong responses from the mayors of Boston and Chicago.

From this episode, Shane Windmeyer of Campus Pride wrote an honest and open article  on how Dan Truetty, COO of Chik-fil-A reached out in friendship to Windmeyer.  Their friendship helped dispel Windmeyer’s  concerns about Chik-fil-A’s beliefs.

Dan and Me: My Coming Out as a Friend of Dan Cathy and Chick-fil-A (click here, Huffington Post)
by Shane Windmeyer (really worth reading)

Dan Truett’s humble response in building bridges of understanding, respect  and friendship is exemplary of a follower of Jesus; … responding in the opposite spirit.


Meekness – a Biblical perspective

Let’s look at the scriptures about the word meek,

Matthew 5:5 (NKJV, NASB, AMP)
Blessed are the meek (praÿs), For they shall inherit the earth

Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.

“Blessed    [inwardly peaceful, spiritually secure, worthy of respect]
are the gentle    [the kind-hearted, the sweet-spirited, the self-controlled],
for they will inherit the earth.

There are a few similar Greek words used in the New Testament to describe meekness.

praÿs – mildness of disposition, gentleness of spirit, meekness

praotēs – gentleness, mildness, meekness

praÿtēs – mildness of disposition, gentleness of spirit, meekness

praos – gentle, mild, meek


 

To see meekness in the Bible,
its best to let scripture interprete scripture,

Galatians 5:22-25 (NKJV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness (praotēs), self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Meekness or gentleness is the fruit of the Holy spirit working in our lives, as we walk in the Spirit; fruit birthed from the seed of God’s word.  Its not produced with our own strength.

Colossians 5:12-14 (NKJV)
12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness (praotēs), longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.

Meekness is one of the character traits of believers
in our loving behavior and attitude towards other believers.

Galatians 6:1,2 (NKJV)
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently (praotēs). But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Its also a restoring attitude towards those in our midst who may have stumbled,
knowing full well our own weaknesses.

For leadership, observe Paul’s attitude towards those who challenged him in leadership issues,

1 Corinthians 10:1 (NKJV)
Now I, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness (praotēs) and gentleness of Christ

Meekness or gentleness also characterises our behavior and attitude towards others who have yet to know Jesus.
Also, in the face of suffering for the sake of righteousness, Peter advises,

1 Peter 3:14-17 (NASB)
14 But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, 15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness (praÿtēs) and reverence; 16 and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. 17 For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.

Meekness is lived out by the wise and and understanding through their humble daily deeds.

James 3:13 (NIV)
13 Who is wise and understanding among you?
Let them show it by their good life,
by deeds done in the humility
(praÿtēs) that comes from wisdom.

Gained through learning from Jesus, our Lord,
our example.

Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle (praos) and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Meekness … responding in a Christlike way,
an attitude … a lifestyle.

In the Old Testament,

God commended Moses — Now the man Moses was very meek (anav), more than all people who were on the face of the earth. (Numbers 12:3 ESV).
When the Lord commended Moses in this passage in Numbers 12, Moses’ leadership was being challenged by those most closest to him, who served alongside him … a leadership coup was in the making.
Moses humbly submitted the matter to the Lord … he interceded for those who challenged him (Numbers 12:13), … and the Lord vindicated Moses.

Some other Old Testament verses referring to the meek (anav)

… He does not forget the cry of the humble (anav). (Psalm 9:12 NASB)

You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted (anav);
you encourage them,
and you listen to their cry (Psalm 10:17 NASB)

Surely He scorns the scornful,
But gives grace to the humble
(
anav). (Proverbs 3:34)

Jesus, James and Peter quotes this verse in the New Testament (Mt 23:12; Jas 4:6; 1Pe 5:5) with regards to our attitudes and behavior towards others.
i.e. God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor (anav).
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
(Isaiah 61:1 NKJV)
Jesus opens his public ministry by quoting this verse to referring Himself as the Christ (Luke 4 18,19).

20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down.  The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them,
“Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”  (Luke 4:20,21 NIV)

 


Meekness – in practice

Interestingly, a similar phrase like
Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth,
also appears in the Old Testament — Psalm 37.

Psalm 37:11 (NKJV)
But the meek (anav) shall inherit the earth

In fact, this theme is expressed in 6 different ways in this psalm,

For evildoers shall be cut off;
But those who wait on the Lord,
They shall inherit the earth.

11 But the meek shall inherit the earth

22 For those blessed by Him shall inherit the earth,

29 The righteous shall inherit the land,
And dwell in it forever.

34 Wait on the LordAnd keep His way,
And He shall exalt you to inherit the land;

and,

 18The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care,
    and their inheritance will endure forever.

those who wait on the Lord, … the meek .. the righteous … those who keep His way … the blameless … those blessed by Him … shall inherit the earth

Psalm 37  reminds us  to keep trusting God, living right, doing good, being meek … in whatever situation
… even when the situation is not fair, … in the firing line.

Let’s be encouraged by the Lord’s words to Abraham,
“Do not be afraid, Abram.
I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”
(Genesis 15:1 NKJV)


 

As mentioned, its best to use scripture to explain scripture.

Psalm 37, elaborates on our meek response
 when situations are difficult, unjust and challenging.

Let’s examine Psalm 37  from beginning to end,
and glean the Psalmist’s teaching.

Also, … observe the short/sharp action verbs that the Psalmist uses (trust, delight, commit, cease, etc) in this Psalm.

Psalm 37 (NKJV)
Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
And wither as the green herb.

When things go wrong, … and they do, sometimes,
or when others are winning through unrighteous means,
when situations are not fair,
what we should stop doing (verse 1), and why (verse 2).

i.e.  Let’s look away from other people and their deeds.
Let’s also not just focus on the current short-term gains/advantage of others.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.

What we should begin doing instead,
… our fresh new attitude —
Instead, look to God & His Faithfulness,
feed on His faithfulness.
(feed, i.e. fill up)

Don’t just give up,
continue to do good,
… we are not alone in this.

Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Instead of fretting, envious, angry,
let’s begin to delight in the Lord, i.e. praise & worship Him, and pray,
trusting in His faithfulness.

 Commit your way to the Lord,

Surrender the situation to the Lord,
surrender our rights to be right,
surrender our rights to win.

Invite Him in to deal with the situation,
in His time, in His way

Trust also in Him,

And He shall bring it to pass.
He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.

Rest in the Lord,
and wait patiently for Him;

(MSG)
Quiet down before God,
    be prayerful before him.

Quiet down,
Trust Him to turn the situation to the good, for His glory (see Romans 8:28).
Wait patiently, and rest in Him.

The Lord will vindicate,
the Lord will justify his people.
He will be glorified through this … as the light … as the noonday.

Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.

(MSG)
Don’t bother with those who climb the ladder,
    who elbow their way to the top.

With His help,
let’s stop looking at others who get their way through their means & schemes.

Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret—it only causes harm.

(NLT)
8Stop being angry!
    Turn from your rage!
Do not lose your temper—
    it only leads to harm.

Please don’t take matters into our own hands or create devices/schemes to get even.
Not only does it harm others, it harms us too.
Don’t fret, or be in an anxious state.
Respond in the opposite spirit.

Keep a cool, calm head, … a gentle tongue, .. and a listening ear.  
… a gentle tongue can break a bone (Proverbs 25:15 NIV)

A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1 NIV)

(see Jesus’ example above in his silencing one-liners to the hostile, provoking religious leaders’ interrogation – Meekness in the firing line)

19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.  (James 1:19,20 NIV)
have to remember this one … somehow, just lost it the other day in the heat of the moment 😦

So, ….
why should we not take matters into our own hands?

For evildoers shall be cut off;

But those who wait on the Lord,
They shall inherit the earth.

10 For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more;
Indeed, you will look carefully for his place,
But it shall be no more.

11 But the meek shall inherit the earth,
And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

Trust God’s faithfulness,
God’s vindication.
(btw, observe the alternating repetitive literary structure)

Dwell in His Word, presence and assurance,
receive His abundance of peace,
as we worship and delight in Him.

12 The wicked plots against the just,
And gnashes at him with his teeth.

13 The Lord laughs at him,
For He sees that his day is coming.

14 The wicked have drawn the sword
And have bent their bow,
To cast down the poor and needy,
To slay those who are of upright conduct.

15 Their sword shall enter their own heart,
And their bows shall be broken.

Amazing 🙂 ,

when the wicked plots evil upon the upright, the poor and needy,
he’s dealing directly with the Lord.

The Lord knows what’s going on.

While the wicked gnashes against the just,
The Lord laughs at him,

The Lord contends on behalf of the upright, the poor and needy.

And for the wicked, 
their sword shall enter their own heart,
And their bows shall be broken.

The battle is the Lord’s!
He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you:
‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army.
For the battle is not yours, but God’s.  (2 Chronicles 2:20 NIV)

16 A little that a righteous man has
Is better
than the riches of many wicked.

(NLT)
16 
It is better to be godly and have little

    than to be evil and rich.

When we choose to walk in God’s paths,
keep looking upon the true wealth we have in Christ,
rather than just only the balance sheet of earthly assets & treasures.

17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,
But the Lord upholds the righteous.

(NLT)
17 For the strength of the wicked will be shattered,
    but the Lord takes care of the godly.

Look upon the protection & preservation of the Lord upon His children,
God is just and merciful.

The Lord is more powerful than the schemes of the wicked.

 1The Lord knows the days of the upright,
And their inheritance shall be forever.
19 They shall not be ashamed in the evil time,
And in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.

(NIV)
18 The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care,
    and their inheritance will endure forever.
19 In times of disaster they will not wither;
    in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.

Look upon our omniscient Lord who knows everything.
He cares.
He is our Provider, He is in control.
He will sustain us through this.

… not ashamed … not wither
… satisfied … enjoy plenty
even in,  disaster … famine

Look to God’s reward.
The Lord has a firm inheritance for His people.

20 But the wicked shall perish;
And the enemies of the Lord,
Like the splendor of the meadows, shall vanish.
Into smoke they shall vanish away.

The earthly treasures, fame, riches gained justly or unjustly are temporal, transient, especially in our present world of continuous change.
God will deal with the people who are unjust.

21 The wicked borrows and does not repay,
But the righteous shows mercy and gives.
22 For those blessed by Him shall inherit the earth,
But those cursed by Him shall be cut off.

The contrast
— either we’re takers, grabbers,
or gracious givers,
responding in the opposite spirit.
Being generous like the Lord (see 37:25).

Why the righteous can be gracious givers?
For those blessed by Him shall inherit the earth
God is just, He will bless.
He does sees what’s going on, and He’ll act justly.

23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.
24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;
For the Lord upholds him with His hand.

(NLT)
23 The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
    He delights in every detail of their lives.
24 Though they stumble, they will never fall,
    for the Lord holds them by the hand.

Ok, may be its our fault too, that we are in this situation we are facing,
but,
God is bigger than our mistakes,
trust Him, He has not given up on us yet!
(they will never fall)

Even if we make a mess (Though they stumble)
come back to Him.
Praise God, they will never fall,
    for the Lord holds them by the hand.
Praise God, the Lord steadys us, holds us by His hand.

Even as we look to God to be merciful to our faults,
let’s also be merciful to others as well.

On the other hand, the stumbling may be directly caused by others,
for this case,
they will never fall
the Lord holds them by the hand.

Earlier, the Psalmist encourages us to delight in the Lord,
here he reminds us that as we walk in the Lord’s ways,
God delights in us 
The Lord delights in his way
 He delights in every detail of their lives.

Wow!  God delights in us! 🙂
What a privilege.

25 I have been young, and now am old;
Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken,
Nor his descendants begging bread.

God is faithful,
… even in the ups and downs of life’s experience,
He’ll take care of you and me.
Our Lord is generous to His people.

26 He is ever merciful, and lends;
And his descendants are blessed.
27 Depart from evil, and do good;
And dwell forevermore.
28 For the Lord loves justice,

In spite of the setback, disappointment, injustice,
respond in the opposite spirit,
be like our generous Lord.

keep being open-handed, open-hearted,
keep faithfully doing good,
keep trusting the Lord to bless,
by His merciful strength.

Let’s
be just,
be merciful,
be like the Lord, himself.

Nor his descendants begging bread.
… And his descendants are blessed.

Responding in the opposite spirit?
God will take care of our future.
He will bless our future … our children.
With His help, let’s not get anxious about our future,
as we continue to trust Him … & be open handed.

28 For the Lord loves justice,
And does not forsake His saints;
They are preserved forever,
But the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off.
29 The righteous shall inherit the land,
And dwell in it forever.

God is fair and just.
He is our protector, our sustainer.

The Lord spoke to Abraham,
“Do not be afraid, Abram.
I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” (Genesis 15:1 NKJV)

30 The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom,
And his tongue talks of justice.
31 The law of his God is in his heart;
None of his steps shall slide.

(NLT)
30 The godly offer good counsel;
    they teach right from wrong.
31 They have made God’s law their own,
    so they will never slip from his path.

Continue to keep and nurture God’s word in our hearts and speech.
His word will anchor us, keeping our steps firm, … so that we’ll not slip/slide.
In the meantime, use our lips to do good — to bless, to counsel, and to teach God’s ways.

32 The wicked watches the righteous,
And seeks to slay him.

Yes it is true,
we are faced with a very real presence of wicked plans and plots.
(note:  ‘faith’ does not mean denying reality)

33 The Lord will not leave him in his hand,
Nor condemn him when he is judged.

(NLT)
33 But the Lord will not let the wicked succeed
    or let the godly be condemned when they are put on trial.

But,
the Lord is our ever-present Guard and Protector,
He will support us, defend us.
Praise God!

When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.
35 I have seen the wicked in great power,
And spreading himself like a native green tree.
36 Yet he passed away, and behold, he was no more;
Indeed I sought him, but he could not be found.

Trust God, let Him vindicate us,
as has been seen through history,
and the testimonies/experiences of many others.

34 Wait on the Lord,
And keep His way,
And He shall exalt you to inherit the land;

Be patient,
keep doing it God’s way,
walking in God’s way.

Only the Lord can exalt us up in this world,
trust Him to do it.

37 Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright;
For the future of that man is peace.
38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together;
The future of the wicked shall be cut off.

We have a real hope and a future,
we have a living hope with a Living Savior

39 But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;
He is their strength in the time of trouble.
40 And the Lord shall help them and deliver them;
He shall deliver them from the wicked,
And save them,

Indeed,
only God is our Salvation,
our Strength in trouble,
our Help,
our Deliverer,
our Savior

Because they trust in Him.

Keep trusting Him.


In Psalm 37, the Psalmist first begins with our down-to-earth view of the challenges we are facing …. and gradually shifts our eyes and thoughts up to the Lord … in the second part of the Psalm.
From man’s finite earthly perspective … to God’s perspective …. the seen to the unseen world.
The Psalmist also gives us a glimpse of the unseen realm … in the midst of our challenges.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV)
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

In the midst of challenges, the Psalmist does not say

flee & run … or stand & fight,
or
be angry, vengeful, vindictive,

rather,
face the challenge with God’s strength,
continue to trust God, trust His faithfulness,
continue to pray,
continue to do good to others,
meek, gentle,
respond in the opposite spirit.

The Psalmist is authentic, he does not deny the reality of challenges we all face, … and our internal struggle, feelings,
yet, he knows the only way out is to stand on the truth of the Lord and continue to do good.

From this Psalm, the Psalmist reminds us the character of God,

The Lord upholds,
The Lord knows,
The Lord will not leave him in his hand
the Lord loves justice and does not forsake His saints

Salvation is from the Lord
The Lord is our strength
The Lord shall help them and deliver them
The Lord save them

and the Lord’s loving guidance and faithfulness

23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.
24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;
For the Lord upholds him with His hand.

He shall give you the desires of your heart.
And He shall bring it to pass.
He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.
He shall exalt you to inherit the land;

This psalm also describes the character and destiny of the righteous and wicked, … will leave you to create this list :-).

Hence, meekness is not weakness,
as we depend and lean on the Lord’s grace, strength & intervention.

Meekness also does not mean being a doormat for others,
but a humble foot-washer of other’s feet.



 

… inherit the earth

Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth

How about the second part of the verse?
For they shall inherit the earth

When an elderly person passes way … he leaves behind his estate, everything he owns … to his sole relative … a distant nephew living far away in a distant country whom he may not have spoken for a long time.   In an instant, the nephew inherits his uncle’s whole estate.

Hence, in an inheritance,
one receives,
not by any effort, or works,
unearned, undeserved,
but simply through a relationship,
sealed by a will,
through the death of someone.

Hebrews 11:15-17 (NIV)
15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

16 In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, 17 because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living.

We have been adopted as God’s children,

Romans 8:15 (NLT)
So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves.
Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children.
Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”
16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

and, we have an inheritance from Him,

1 Peter 1:3-5 (NKJV)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, …

2 Peter 1:3-4 (NIV)
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

as echoed in Psalm 37,

Psalm 37:18 (NIV)
The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care,
    and their inheritance will endure forever.

What then is the land/earth?

Its not exactly clear what Jesus meant by ‘the earth’ in the sermon on the mount,
… if we were take the word ‘earth’ or ‘land’ to mean literally physical land.
(There’s no physical land promised in the New Covenant.)
Furthermore, for the early disciples and apostles none of them received physical land, rather for them their experience was more like this … 

Hebrews 10:32-36 (NASB)
32 But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings, 33 partly by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated. 34 For you showed sympathy to the prisoners and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one.
35 Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.

 

Hence,
rather than fighting over things/rights with people around us,
acknowledge that our only true source of everything we have is
our gracious Lord, who gave his life for us,
to restore us and bless us,
in whom we trust.

Received by His grace,
unearned, undeserved.

He gives grace to the humble (anav)

He alone is our provider, sustainer, merciful & just judge, vindicator,
who sees everything,
and ultimately,
He is our rewarder.

The Lord’s words to Abraham,
“Do not be afraid, Abram.
I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”
(Genesis 15:1 NKJV)

In the Old Covenant, for the tribe of Levi, the Lord is his inheritance

Deuteronomy 9:8,9 (NASB)
At that time the Lord set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to serve Him and to bless in His name until this day. Therefore, Levi does not have a portion or inheritance with his brothers;
the Lord is his inheritance, just as the Lord your God spoke to him.

The Psalmist sings, God is my portion forever,

Psalm 73:25,26 (NASB)
25 Whom have I in heaven but You?

And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.

In the parable of the sheep and the goats, Jesus pointed out that the righteous sheep will inherit the kingdom of God, (not the goats),

Matthew 25:34 (NASB)
“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

A quick look at the new earth in Revelation,

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth ….

And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them

Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.
He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son

22:12 “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.
Revelation 21:1, 3, 6,7;  22:12 (NASB)

Therefore,

2 Corinthians 4:
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.


In conclusion,
Meekness …. responding in a Christlike way.


 

On a side note — For unethical acts, is there justice for such acts?
Consider the political, industrial,  ethical and character failure scandals that explode upon our media every now and then … resulting in the downfall of the once mighty.


Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words
Charles Swindoll, Improving Your Serve


Further Reading:
making jesus lord


Daily Rice | Serving Quietly

by 林弟兄, bro Lim
July 25, 2015
laymanointing.wordpress.com

Copyright © 林弟兄 bro Lim, Laymanointing, 2014-2016 – All Rights Reserved
Creative Commons License

 

 


 

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This entry was posted on July 20, 2015 by in Daily Rice, Marketplace, Serving Quietly, Work and tagged , , .

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