Fret not yourself because of evildoers;
be not envious of wrongdoers!
2 For they will soon fade like the grass
and wither like the green herb.
3 Trust in the LORD, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him, and he will act.
6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.
7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!
8 Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
9 For the evildoers shall be cut off,
but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land.
10 In just a little while, the wicked will be no more;
though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there. 11 But the meek shall inherit the land
and delight themselves in abundant peace.
12 The wicked plots against the righteous
and gnashes his teeth at him,
13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
for he sees that his day is coming.
14 The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows
to bring down the poor and needy,
to slay those whose way is upright;
15 their sword shall enter their own heart,
and their bows shall be broken.
16 Better is the little that the righteous has
than the abundance of many wicked.
17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,
but the LORD upholds the righteous.
18 The LORD knows the days of the blameless,
and their heritage will remain forever;
19 they are not put to shame in evil times;
in the days of famine they have abundance.
20 But the wicked will perish;
the enemies of the LORD are like the glory of the pastures; they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.
21 The wicked borrows but does not pay back,
but the righteous is generous and gives;
22 for those blessed by the LORD shall inherit the land,
but those cursed by him shall be cut off.
23 The steps of a man are established by the LORD,
when he delights in his way;
24 though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,
for the LORD upholds his hand.
25 I have been young, and now am old,
yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
or his children begging for bread.
26 He is ever lending generously,
and his children become a blessing.
27 Turn away from evil and do good;
so shall you dwell forever.
28 For the LORD loves justice;
he will not forsake his saints.
They are preserved forever,
but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
29 The righteous shall inherit the land
and dwell upon it forever.
30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom,
and his tongue speaks justice.
31 The law of his God is in his heart;
his steps do not slip.
32 The wicked watches for the righteous
and seeks to put him to death.
33 The LORD will not abandon him to his power
or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial.
34 Wait for the LORD and keep his way,
and he will exalt you to inherit the land;
you will look on when the wicked are cut off.
35 I have seen a wicked, ruthless man,
spreading himself like a green laurel tree.
36 But he passed away, and behold, he was no more; though I sought him, he could not be found.
37 Mark the blameless and behold the upright,
for there is a future for the man of peace.
38 But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed; the future of the wicked shall be cut off.
39 The salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.
40 The LORD helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.
“Blessed are the meek”. And here in Psalm 37 we see such a beautiful picture of exactly this. In fact, Jesus words in Matthew 5:5 are certainly a reference to, if not a direct quote from Psalm 37 verse 11.
Returning to our study of the beatitudes, so far, we have seen two, blessed are the poor in Spirit, and blessed are those who mourn. As we have said, the beatitudes lay out for us the spiritual progression that takes place in the life of a man who has been regenerated by the Spirit of God.
Titus 3:3-7 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
He saved us, not by our works, but by His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit. Well, here in the beatitudes we see a portion of what this renewal of the Holy Spirit looks like in the life of one who is saved. This is the logical sequence of events God uses in our salvation as He renews us and brings us to Himself. First, He opens our eyes. Look at Titus 3:3 at who we were. Foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves of various passions and pleasures, full of malice, envy, hatred, and yet we were exceptionally blind to it all. Actually more than blind, we thought ourselves justified in living as we did. Though that was who we were, we were at the very same time self-righteous and saw ourselves as
virtuous, moral people whom God would be out of His mind not to want in paradise with Him.
But something happened. God made us alive, and for the first time, with living eyes, we saw ourselves as we really are, … and it was so serious that we were disgusted to even look at ourselves. All the spiritual wealth we thought we had, vanished like a mirage and instead all we could see was the mountain of debt we had amassed, a debt far beyond any hope of ever being able to pay. Poor in Spirit.
That correct view ourselves, a negative view, led us to seeing sin for the first time as it really is, and not only sin, but our sin, the sin within us. That sin earning the very wrath of God, as we sin against the God of heaven. This renewal moves us from loving and basking in our sin, to a loathing of and a brokenness over our personal sin and all sin that profanes and blasphemes our God. Regeneration brings a total transformation of our view of sin and holiness. Again, mourning is the Spirit’s renewal bringing a negative view of our standing.
So it is we have two negatives to begin the beatitudes, followed by two positive moves in our thinking in these next two beatitudes; blessed are the meek, and blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. In the first two, the Spirit so moves a man as to turn from sin and mourn over it, in these next two the Spirit moves the man to turn to God and to seek righteousness in Him.
Today we examine this meekness, and the blessing that Jesus says meekness is in our lives. Now we need to think this way regarding the origin of all these things in our lives. If any of them are attributes that we muster up within us, something that “we bring about”, we are going to end up getting ourselves in trouble. Let me illustrate; If I said “I am such a humble man. Look how much I serve, how much I give, How low a position I am willing to take”, you would be right to think, “what pride is in him that he thinks so highly of his own humility, he is working simply to prove himself humble”. That would be a case of my trying to make myself humble.
But when God makes a man humble it is a very different picture. God’s humbling seeks no stage upon which to impress any man, for he is only concerned with God.
I do see in all of the beatitudes the attribute Jesus makes mention of, is itself the blessing which of course has consequence in our lives. It is a blessing of God to be poor in spirit, and to mourn over sin, and to be meek, and hunger for righteousness, to be a peacemaker, to be merciful, to be pure in heart and to be persecuted. Those things themselves are the blessings of God on our lives as the Spirit moves us along in our new man, in the regenerated life.
We talked about being poor in spirit and how this was in a sense a humility before God, and that is very true. But what then is the difference between poor in spirit and being meek? I do believe they are very much tied together, yet there is a difference. Both involve and are themselves essentially humility of course, but from a different perspective. One focuses on a humility rising from a proper view of sin, the other from the proper view of God and His holiness. Like I said, one a negative, one a positive. One turns in humility from sin, one turns in humility to God as we marvel at how righteous and holy He is, far more than we previously considered, and in seeing the truth of Him, we humble ourselves before Him as we ought.
Meekness is often viewed by our world as weakness. As a position accepted because the meek man can do nothing about the condition he faces, as if meekness is a cowardice, a cowering before powers that far surpass him. But this is not at all what Jesus says is a blessing. The word used here is a word that means gentleness, mildness of disposition, meekness.
Allow me to read from Strong’s notes: “Meekness toward God is that disposition of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting. In the OT, the meek are those wholly relying on God rather than their own strength to defend them against injustice. Thus, meekness toward evil people means knowing God is permitting the injuries they inflict, that He is using them to purify His elect, and that He will deliver His elect in His time. Gentleness or meekness is the opposite to self-assertiveness and self-interest. It stems from trust in God’s goodness and control over the situation. The gentle person is not occupied with self at all. This is a work of the Holy Spirit, not of the human will.”
Of course, we recognize the truth of that last statement. Gentleness, meekness, is among the descriptive of the fruit the Holy Spirit grows in the lives of His people in Galatians 5:23. God produces, God bringing forth this
reality in us. John MacArthur writes of meekness saying, “Meekness does not connote weakness. The word was used in much extrabiblical literature to refer to the breaking of an animal. Meekness means power under control. … An unbroken colt is useless; medicine that is too strong will harm rather than cure; a wind out of control destroys. Emotion out of control also destroys, and has no place in God’s kingdom. Meekness uses its resources appropriately.”
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Let me take you back for a few minutes to Psalm 37. We see in that Psalm a number of times when we are told “they will inherit the earth” or they will dwell in the land. Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness… But the meek shall inherit the land
and delight themselves in abundant peace…The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever. From these statements we can make an equality statement: Those who trust in the Lord, those who are meek, those who are righteous, are all references to the same people. The entire Psalm is about meekness, and it really gives an excellent picture of what meekness is.
Let me read some of these statements from that Psalm that give clarity to meekness.
Fret not yourself because of evildoers, Trust in the LORD, and do good, Delight yourself in the LORD, Commit your way to the LORD, trust in him, He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday, Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil… In just a little while, the wicked will be no more,… Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked. The Lord knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will remain forever; … the righteous is generous and gives,… The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread… For the Lord loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever. The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice. The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip. The Lord will not abandon him to his
power or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial. Wait for the Lord and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land; Mark the blameless and behold the upright, for there is a future for the man of peace. The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.
Do you see the image of the man of meekness. He trusts the Lord, He waits patiently on the Lord even in hardship and affliction and oppression, his concern is on God, not the ways of the wicked, he doesn’t defend himself, but trusts the Lord will uphold his case. He rests in God’s provision, protection, and providential care. I read that Psalm and I say to myself, that sure sounds a lot like Jesus. Yes, Jesus is the ultimate picture of perfect meekness, and all who are, by the will of God placed in the beloved, those washed in regeneration and renewed by the Spirit, well, we’re told in Romans 8:29 that looking like Jesus is exactly God’s plan for those He chooses to save.
Romans 8:29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.
That comes right on the heals of the one verse in the Bible for me that is just right at the very top of my list of favorites. Please allow me to quote it from the NASB, and I don’t do this too often, but I just think the ESV translation of it is really weak. Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (NASB) God causes all things to work together for our good, and it leads right into this conforming us to the image of Christ. God is actively at work in all things, good things, blessings, affliction, trial, discipline, suffering, loss, in all things, God is working toward the very purpose of making us look like Jesus, because that is the best thing for us. Meekness is a principle attribute of our Lord, and so, we should expect then that this would be a principle attribute in His people, and it certainly is.
Let’s look at the meekness of Jesus life for a few minutes. MacArthur gave that definition “meekness is power under control”. Let’s consider how this was true in Jesus. Well, Jesus as the eternal Son of God pre-existing with God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit from eternity past, God the Son came into this world and took upon himself flesh. Can you imagine the
humility it would take. It would be infinitely greater a step down than for one of us to be able to transition from a man to a worm. He willingly took that upon Himself. Yet in the incarnation, I mean if he were to come here at all, surely he’d be born in the most lavish of palaces, he certainly deserves far higher, and that would be more than enough of a stooping, but no, he is born into a meager family who can’t even get a room at the inn and is born in a barn. Jesus would then take up the trade of Joseph, the man who filled the role of earthly father, Jesus took up the trade of carpentry. Even today that is a heavy labor kind of job, but even more so in those days. It was a humble work.
Then of course we can look at Jesus ministry. He made statements like “I seek not my own will, but the will of him who sent me”. “The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true.” Jesus said in John 17, look what he says of himself; John 17:4-5 “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.”
Jesus was not interested in glorifying himself, he did in fact, as Phil.2 tells us, He humbled himself, not counting equality with God a thing to be grasped. Why not, well because He already was equal with God. He didn’t need to fight for it or demand it, He already had it, yet He humbled Himself, He willingly took a low position, He emptied Himself and became a servant, he didn’t just come to act like a servant, He became a servant. He humbled Himself all the way to the cross, being obedient to the Father in everything.
Look at Jesus on the night he was betrayed and arrested. Matthew 26:53- 54 Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” Look at the power, look at the control. He could have, he had every right to call upon the powers of heaven and crush all humanity, yet He didn’t instead He allowed men to arrest him, to beat him, to curse at him and spit upon him, and eventually to crucify him. Power under control.
He never defended himself. At his trial he remained silent. Even shocking Pilate at one point as he refused to defend himself. Now think of it, Pilate was not foreign to hearing men present their cases of innocence during a
trial. Yet Jesus, the one truly innocent man, gave no defense. Wow. It astounded Pilate who knew Jesus to be innocent. Look what he tells Pilate: John 18:36 “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”
And again in John 19:11 “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above.
Jesus rests in the truth that God the Father is in complete control, and He submits himself to the Father’s workings even in bringing Jesus to this very moment where he is to be condemned to death on a Roman cross. We see Jesus fulfill the words of the prophet Isaiah recorded 700 years before Jesus came to live as a man.
Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.
One of the most un-Christ-like things we can do is to live in such a way as to portrait the opposite of these things we see in Psalm 37. To concern ourselves with the evils intentions of the wicked, to defend ourselves, to argue our case, to complain and demand our rights, to prove ourselves treated unjustly, to strike out in anger and wrath toward our oppressors, which is ultimately to doubt God’s working all things for our good. If we find ourselves demanding respect from others, that they see our importance, if we are dissatisfied with how others treat us, discontent in the positions we hold, persistent that we deserve better, well, if these are true, we are not looking much like Christ at all.
1 Peter 2:21-25 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
Notice the connection Peter makes there to Isaiah 53. Exactly. That is what Jesus looked like, and that is what God is making us to look like.
But let’s continue looking at Jesus meekness. Jesus would not defend himself, that does not mean that Jesus hid in the corner cowering. Jesus adamantly defended the glory of God. Twice Jesus in righteous indignation cleared the Temple of those profaning the worship of God. He vigorously defended God in John 8 even calling the Pharisees children of Satan. He said to them, “He is a liar, you’re a liar, you don’t hear me, you don’t believe because your will is to do your father’s desires. You are not of God!.” Those are not the words of a coward. Meek, yes, denying self, yes, weak, a pushover, absolutely not.
So to, for us, as we are made to look like Jesus in meekness, we will have a zeal for God that refuses to take offense at personal attack, but vigorously defends the glory of our God. This is exactly the image that we are being made to conform to. The world can take our stuff, they can bring affliction to our lives, they can mistreat us, insult us, abuse us, and all of it we can accept because our God uses all things to shape us to look more like His Son to whom the world did the very same, but meekness is also a courage and a strength, a conviction from God and for God. We won’t defend self, but we will stand firm in the truth of our faith immovably. Do to us what you will, we will not be moved in what we believe because God is the upholder of His people. He causes the righteous to stand. He cuts off the wicked, but His people He establishes forever. You see the meek man is confident, not in self, but in the Lord our righteousness.
But meekness is more. In this gentle humility, the believer submits himself to the will and purposes of God. Philippians 2 of course comes to mind. Philippians 2:5-8 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Having this same mind among yourselves. Willfully submitting to God’s plans. That means not complaining, not protesting that you deserve better. Look at Jesus, if anyone deserved better it was Him. Yet to the cross He went to fulfill the purpose of the Father. This is to be our mindset. God is at
work, God has a plan, God has moved me to this place, God will not abandon me, God is in control, God loves me as His child, God will sustain me, and I will submit to Him in it all. That is meekness friends.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Inherit, to receive one’s allotted portion. God made man with the express purpose of bearing his image as man exercised dominion over all the earth. We were to reflect the glory of God to all creation. One day, God is going to wipe away the tarnished remains of the fall and fulfill His purposes as His people rule with Christ. The paradise God intended will be regained and His people its inheritors.
Psalm 37:7-11 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices!
Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
For the evildoers shall be cut off,
but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land.
In just a little while, the wicked will be no more;
though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there. But the meek shall inherit the land
and delight themselves in abundant peace.
Fret not. God will come and make all things right. His people, those who are dependently trusting in Him, He will sustain and bless with great inheritance, but the wicked will be no more in the land.
We have similar but opposite statements in the N.T. that say the same thing. 1 Cor 6:9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? In Galatians 5:21 after listing the works of the flesh, Paul states “I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
But God’s people, those whom God brings to Himself by way of regeneration, those who have been given a new heart, a new spirit, those whose eyes have been opened, who see themselves rightly, who mourn over sin, who humbly submit themselves to God, those so richly blessed by our Father in these ways, for these there is an inheritance.
Matthew 25:31-34 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
See this rightly. This is an inheritance. It is not a wage. Meekness has not earned the inheritance, nor mourning over sin, nor poverty of spirit. This inheritance was prepared specifically for God’s people, personally for God’s people, God knew before the foundations of the world were laid who the inheritors would be. God is not looking at our works to see if we qualify, that is not at all what Matthew 25:31-46 is about. Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Notice who is speaking. Jesus, the King who has at this time taken His seat finally upon the throne, the throne to rule all the earth and all the nations are brought before Him. Come you who are blessed! Listen the blessing here is not the inheritance. He doesn’t say come receive your blessing. He says come you who are blessed. How are they blessed? Well, they are the poor in spirit, the mourners over sin, the meek, the pure in heart, the hungry for righteousness. The are blessed as the Father has so worked in them as to bring them to the inheritance that has always been purposed to be given them. Notice they are separated by blessing, not by works. Separation takes place before their works are revealed, and the separation is based on the Father’s blessing to some, and lack of blessing to others.
The blessed will inherit the earth, those blessed with meekness.
Psalm 149:4 For the LORD takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation.