Inherit the Earth
“But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” (Psalms 37:11)
One of the keys to interpreting Scripture is to recognize the form or genre of the writings. This is especially valuable in examining many of the psalms. The psalms often used parallel lines, with the second line explaining or amplifying the first. Jesus often employed this same literary device in His teaching. Sometimes He would merely quote the first line of a two-line statement (because the people would recall the second line).
The word “meekness” is hard to define. A bully might mistake a meek person for a weak person. Others have taken meekness to be the opposite: quiet courage. Perhaps it is best to let the verse interpret itself. A meek person is one who “shall delight in the abundance of peace.”
When confronted with a personal attack, a meek person does not lash out in anger, and neither does he cower in fear. What he does is to seek a quiet and peaceful resolution. The meek person detests violent encounters, but defends the helpless. The meek person absorbs the slings and arrows of insulting words and speaks answers that bear truth and goodness. The meek person shows humility and exalts God above all else.
We have been taught by the world to stand up for ourselves because no one else will. The world says to boast in our accomplishments or we will fade away unnoticed and will be trampled by those who are more assertive. The world teaches people to act proud regardless of the shameful things they may have done. After all, why should one’s evil detract from their self-esteem.
Moses was the meekest man of his time (Numbers 12:3). He fearlessly stood up for God and for righteousness, but did not respond with vengeance on those who criticized him or attacked him personally. He kept his God-given purpose in mind and led the rebellious nation for forty years to the border of the promised land.
The greatest example, of course, is Jesus Himself. When He was reviled, He did not act in spite toward His critics. When He suffered at the hands of His enemies, He did not threaten them with retaliation. In fact, His purpose was to come and offer Himself as a sacrifice to deliver us, even though our sin was the reason He died on the cross. Through all this, He committed Himself to the Holy Father and set about to accomplish our salvation. (I Peter 2:23)
The challenge of meekness lies before us. With prayer and commitment to God, we can enjoy an abundance of peace and truly inherit the earth.