Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. (emphasis added)
At least in the English language, when most of us read the word “meek” we tend to think of the person being described that way as a pale, listless, timid sort; generally useless when it comes to getting anything important done.
As connected to the context of Psalm 37 where the meek are battling mayhem perpetrated by evildoers of, well, biblical proportions, that kind of guy or gal just wouldn’t make the grade.
For THAT kind of gig, we, they–anybody–want us some big, buff, take-no-prisoners kinda dudes sporting honkin’ tattoos of, say, Goliath or Genghis Kahn inked on bulging biceps (to update the vernacular).
“I HAVE A LITTLE TIME BEFORE LUNCH,” they bellow across the plains, rattling the rocks and stones. “BRING ON THE PHILISTINES!” (as it were).
But to the definition of “meek” meant in Psalm 37:11 as well as in many other biblical contexts, although it might seem as if it aligns with synonyms such as “poor, lowly,” and “afflicted,” the word doesn’t hide helpless behind all the better words like macho, muscular, and menacing.
Meek, in this sense, has some oomph behind its (biblical) origins.
For starters, take a look at what the meek inherit (“take possession of, dispossess”) up there in verse 11: the earth!
Now THAT’S some haul!
So how does that happen?
The strength implied in the biblical meaning has a lot to do with its frequently being paired with the term “humble.”
And not THAT “humble,” as in “self-effacing, unassuming, resistless,” etc., more like humble as in “someone of low rank” (source) beholden to someone higher up who has more power and because of whom subordinates are meted a certain amount as well for their assignments.
But most importantly there is power in operating in meekness and humility because the meek and the humble are closer to God, the same Who parted the Red Sea, raises the dead, makes the blind to see.
Indeed, these qualities in believers are highly esteemed. As put in Micah 6:8:
He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?
In other words, when we combine a meek spirit with a humble heart and obey God’s commands (as best we know and can, being works in progress, down here), His power can then work with and through us–for the Bible also says it’s the proud whom He “resists” (James 4:8).
And what a head-fake for our real enemy, too, who’s waiting for a Goliath or a Genghis, if you think about it, right? But here comes you, me, or any other lesser mortal–read: not someone the Devil and his cohorts might even notice.
Yet when you or I are on God’s side of the battle ground, things get DONE.
I mean, when it comes to good versus evil, if the forces of evil were as big, brash, and buff as they present themselves, good, as in good behavior the Devil and the world often consider a lowly, powerless, weak state of being, would have been venomized right there in the Garden–and every other time and place the Dark Force slithered/slithers onto the landscape…
Below are some examples of what more God has to say about all this.
No matter how small yours and my assignments seem to be in the theater of the war of good versus evil–on the ground and in the heart–they are not insignificant when, in meekness and in humility, we are submitted to our eternal Commander in Chief.
Meek + Humble = God’s Power Unleashed
Starting with the most significant battle ever, the one won by God’s Son, Jesus, through Whom “all things were made” and Who, in the greatest and most powerful act of biblical meekness and humility ever recorded, made it possible for you and me and all others who put their faith in Him to not only inherit a peaceful earth but also heaven itself–the most significant “win” ever, for ever.
St. Paul puts it this way in his letter to the Philippian believers:
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. (Philippians 2:5-8)
And in that crucifixion Jesus submitted to–for us–you’d better believe Satan heard another kind of BOOM, this one echoing from Eden’s exit where God prophesied that snake would one day be crushed by the “seed of the woman” (Jesus).
I bet Satan wasn’t expecting THAT kind of opponent, either…so meek and mild…born in an animal shed…a carpenter’s kid…
Other benefits of serving God in meekness and humility are put thus (emphasis added):
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2)
He will guide the humble in justice. He will teach the humble his way. (Psalms 25:9)
Yahweh upholds the humble. He brings the wicked down to the ground. (Psalms 147:6)
Here’s an especially good one for the sorry state of the world today:
If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
And not to forget the promise of today’s verse in Psalm 37–rest. As put elsewhere:
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)
Carry on, compatriots.
Psalm 37 series introduction and verses 1-2
Image of weak weight lifter source.
Image of Goliath source.