The Beatitudes
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Lesson Three • Power under Control
Dr. Randy T. Johnson

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5

1. How would you define “meek?”

 

2. Is meekness a positive or negative trait? Why?

 

The word meek can often come with negative connotations. It can be perceived that meekness equals weakness. It can be viewed that the meek are willing to be a doormat for people to walk all over. People often view meekness as overly submissive, compliant, spiritless, and tame.

It is necessary to see an accurate description of meekness from the Bible.

The Explanation

When Jesus mentioned that the meek would be blessed, He was being countercultural. He was radical. The culture at the time (and today) normally thinks you have to push others out of the way to get to the top. Jesus said to inherit the earth, you needed to be meek.

Those who are meek are truly humble, gentle, and have a proper appreciation of their position. The Greek word for “meek” is actually translated as “humble” (Matthew 21:5) and “gentle” in its three other usages in the New Testament (Matthew 11:29; 1 Peter 3:4.)

Although the word “meek” may be hard to define, it can signify the absence of pretension and generally suggests gentleness and the self-control it entails. Meekness is seen in our attitudes and actions toward others.

Warren Wiersbe described it clearly when he wrote, “This word translated ‘meek’ was used by the Greeks to describe a horse that had been broken. It refers to power under control.”

3. What are some examples you have seen of “power under control?”

 

Meekness, according to the Bible, is being humble and gentle towards others while willingly being submissive and obedient to the Lord.

Meekness and timidity are opposites. Being meek must never be confused with being timid. The quietness which accompanies meekness is the result of one’s trust in the Lord, whereas the quietness of timidity is the result of one’s lack of trust.

4. When are people often timid? Why?

 

Meekness refers to someone who is humble or gentle. The meek do not seek gain for themselves; instead, they hope in the Lord.

5. What is the key to being meek or having power under control?

 

The Bible gives clear examples of some of our heroes and describes them as being meek.

The Examples

It is helpful to do a word study or search through a concordance on the Bible to see who is described as meek in Scripture.

 

Moses

Numbers 12:3 says, “Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth.” Was this intended to be a compliment? I think it was. Moses was strong but did not always use or show it for personal revenge or gain. He trusted in the Lord and His timing.

Paul

In 2 Corinthians 10:1, we read, “I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ - I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away!” In 1 Thessalonians 2:7, he adds, “But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.” In essence, Paul is attributing meekness to himself and Jesus. He goes so far as to give a beautiful example of a mother nursing her lovely child.

Jesus
Matthew 11:29 says, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Jesus says He is meek or gentle. By using Jesus as an example, it is a form of a mic drop in writing. The same Jesus who defied Pharisees and overturned the tables of the moneychangers in the temple takes a healthy pride in being gentle.

6. When did Jesus show power under control?

 

7. What are some other Bible examples of men and women who displayed strength or power under control?

 

The Expectation

The natural next point is to determine what God expects from us.

Colossians 3:12 says, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.”

8. How are believers described here?

 

9. Describe the words used in this passage. Which is most difficult for you?

 

James 1:21 adds, “Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”

10. What does it mean to receive the “implanted word” by meekness?

 

James 3:13 continues, “Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.”

Meekness or gentleness is even found in the Fruit of the Spirit as recorded in Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

11. What is meant by the Fruit of the Spirit? Why the list?

 

The End

The end normally is the stopping point, but it can also be a directive in looking to the future at the outcome.

It is normally viewed that the strong, aggressive, harsh, and tyrannical will succeed, or in this case, “inherit the earth.” However, Jesus says that the meek or gentle will win.

Psalm 37:11 also says, “But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.” Isaiah 29:19 agrees, “The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord, and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel.”

In his commentary research, D.A. Carson noted, “Entrance into the Promised Land ultimately became a pointer toward entrance into the new heaven and the new earth (‘earth’ is the same word as ‘land;’ cf. Isaiah 66:22; Revelation 21:1), the consummation of the messianic kingdom.”

This reminded me of Jesus’ conversation with the rich young man. In Matthew 19:24, Jesus said, “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”

12. Why can it be difficult for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God?

 

The meek, gentle, and humble are not often appreciated in our business world today. We need to come to a place where we do not have to be the strong ones all the time. We can choose to be tender and gentle with people. We must give control of our lives to God. Finally, we need to commit to the mindset where we do not have to “win” all the time.

“Let your gentleness be evident to all.
The Lord is near.”
Philippians 4:5 (NIV)

 



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