INTRODUCTION: This week our study is the third Beatitude which says
"Blessed are the meek...." When you were a kid, did you ever say
"I hope I can be meek when I grow up!" Parents tell their children
to be honest, hard-working and brave. Have you ever heard a father
tell his child (especially a son) "I want you to learn to be more
meek?" It looks like our Father in heaven has that message for us,
so let's find out what He has in mind!
I. MEEKNESS ANYONE?
A. Turn with me to Matthew 5:5. Read. If I
asked you to think
of a celebrity who was strong and brave, who would come to
mind? (Arnold Schwarzenegger?)
B. What if I asked you to think of a celebrity
who is meek?
Anyone come to mind? (Mr. Bean?)
1. Would you say that Arnold was meek?
2. Would you
want to be more like Mr. Bean (or whoever
you identified as being meek) or more like Mr.
C. Think of Bible characters for a minute.
Would you say that
Pilate (who presided over Jesus' trial) was meek?
1. How about
Eli when it came to raising and disciplining
D. Are we using the right definition of meek?
I think we need
to explore what God means when He says, "Blessed are the
II. DOES MEEK = WEAK?
A. Turn with me to Psalm 37:11. Read. Was Jesus
people something new when He said (Matthew 5:5) "the meek ...
will inherit the earth?" (What do you know? It turns out Jesus
is just repeating the words He inspired the Psalmist to say!)
1. If we are
having trouble telling what Jesus meant in
the few words of the Beatitudes, perhaps we can figure
out what He meant when He inspired the Psalmist in Psalm
37. Let's read the context. Read Psalm 37:1-11.
2. Have you ever
watched an artist paint a picture? The
artist puts a little paint here, then a little paint
there. He draws lines in different places. Various colors
the artist puts in different places on the canvas. If you
keep watching, you see how he connects the colors and
strokes together to create a picture.
a. Do you think that the Psalmist is painting a
picture of the meek in vv. 1-10 of chapter 37?
B. If you say, "yes," (and even if you are
not sure), let's
explore this idea. What do the first three verses tell us
about the meek? [List on blackboard.] (They do not envy the
wages of wickedness or worry about evil men. Instead, they
focus on God, trust in Him and do His will.)
1. Read verses
4-6 again. What do you think it means to
"delight yourself in the Lord?"
2. Do the meek
have desires? How are they met? (God
3. Read verses
7-10 again. What does it mean to "fret?"
Notice that v.1 tells us not to "fret because of evil
men," v.7 tells us not to "fret when [evil] men succeed
in their ways," and v.8 tells us not to get angry and "do
not fret." We have lots of warning about fretting in
a. Do you fret? What do you worry about?
b. Do "evil" men (or women) succeed at your place of
4. Does God's
advice that we should not fret about the
success of the wicked have anything to do with His advice
(v.4) to delight in God because He will give us the
desires of our hearts? (Isn't God really saying, "Trust
Me. I will take care of you?")
a. What kinds of things does v.11 indicate we can
trust God to give us? ("Inherit the land" sounds
like possessions, "things." "Great peace" sounds
like a serene mental attitude.)
5. Now tell me
what kind of person God is calling "meek"
in v.11 when He says they will "inherit the land and
enjoy great peace?" (These are people who might be
tempted to be worried and upset because of the success of
the wicked. They might be tempted to be envious. But God
says, "Look to Me, trust Me, obey Me and I will give you
"stuff" and peace! Those who respond, "Yes Lord, we will
look to You and trust You," are the meek.)
C. Turn with me now to Zephaniah 3. Zephaniah
another description of the meek. Read v.8 . What would you
guess is happening here? (Sounds like the Second Coming.)
1. What do you
think God means when He says He is going
to "stand up to testify?" (He is going to make a
2. Read on: vv.9-12.
When v.9 speaks of serving God
"shoulder to shoulder," what do you think that means? (It
sounds like a cooperative effort. The people are pulling
together. Working in harmony.)
3. If you are
right that this is the Second Coming and
the judgment, what do these verses say about those that
are lost? What are the characteristics of the lost?
(Verse 11: "those who rejoice in their pride" and the
4. Who gets saved?
(Verse 12: "the meek and humble, who
trust in the name of the Lord.")
a. Is God "painting" another picture of the meek in
these verses in Zephaniah 3?
b. Describe the picture of the meek that you see in
this "painting?" [List on blackboard.] (Not happy
to be proud. Not haughty. They trust in the Lord.)
(1) "Haughty" is an interesting word. What do
you think it means? (That I am better than
you. A haughty person acts like others are
(2) Who would a proud person trust? (Himself.)
(3) Looking at our list, would you say that a
"meek" person realizes his need of God, trusts
God and is willing to doing what God requests?
D. Another text on the meek is found in Matthew
Read. The word translated "gentle" in v.29 is the Greek word
that the KJV translates "meek."
1. What is the
sin problem addressed in these verses?
(That we are weary and burdened.)
a. Can you relate to being weary? How about
2. What does God say He will do? (Give us rest.)
a. How does He say that He gives us rest? (He gives
us a yoke!)
b. How is a yoke rest? Sounds like work to me! (A
yoke is a "work-sharing" device.)
3. What, specifically,
is this yoke? (Verse 29 makes it
appear that when you take on this yoke you "learn from
Me." You learn about Jesus.)
a. What do we learn? (That He is gentle ("meek") and
b. What happens if we learn this? (We have rest for
4. Look at where
we have gone in these verses. We go
from being "weary and burdened" (v.28) to having rested
a. How did we get there? (By learning to be like
Jesus: gentle and humble.)
b. If we learn to be gentle and humble from Jesus,
is that how He "work-shares" with us? Is that His
formula for carrying part of our burden? (I think
5. Does "meekness" give our souls a rest?
a. If you say, "yes," tell me why? (To trust God may
seem to be a "yoke." But it turns out to be a lot
easier than trying to do things ourselves. So
meekness is, in part, simply trusting God.)
III. INHERITING THE EARTH?
A. Last week when we studied "Blessed are those
who mourn, for
they will be comforted" (Matthew 5:4) it made sense, right? It
was logical that those who mourned would want to be comforted.
what we have learned about the meek, is
there any logic in the meek inheriting the earth? (These
are people who have an attitude of trusting God for
protection and possessions. It is natural they would
possess the whole earth!)
IV. THE PROGRESSION
A. Our lesson suggests there is a relationship
three Beatitudes that we have studied. Arthur Pink in his
book, An Exposition of the Sermon on the Mount, p.22 says, "It
is to be kept ... in mind that in those Beatitudes our Lord is
describing the orderly development of God's work of grace...."
Let's see if we can find a progression.
1. What kind
of people did we decide were described in
Matthew 5:3 as "poor in spirit?" What does "poor in
spirit" mean? (They realize their spiritual poverty. The
closer they come to knowing God and understanding His
character, the more clearly they see their own
2. When we discussed
those who "mourn" last week, what
did we decide, spiritually speaking, that they were
mourning about? (They were sobered about the sin in their
life. They took sin seriously. They were saddened by
3. Does being
"poor in spirit" and "mourning over sin"
create meekness in a person? (You bet! If you realize
your shortcomings, and are unhappy about them, that is
the very person who is predisposed to trust in God!)
B. How do you account for the fact that "meekness"
- NIV) is a fruit of the Spirit when you have been telling me
about this "progression?"
1. If meekness
is a gift of the Holy Spirit, how can you
say that you move from being "poor in spirit" to
"mourning" to being "meek?"
a. This sounds like work, not a gift! (Salvation is
free, but no one said you did not have to pay
attention to your life. You ask the Holy Spirit to
come into your life and change you bit by bit. The
result is that you will trust God more and more.)
V. TESTING OUR THEORY
A. So far I think we have defined a "meek"
person as someone
who trusts in God and is content with what God has (or will)
provide. Let's test that theory. The precise Greek word
translated "meek" in Matthew 5:5 appears only three other
times in the Bible. (Variations appear in other places.) Those
texts are Matthew 11:29 (which we have already discussed);
Matthew 21:5 and 1 Peter 3:4. Let's look at these last two.
B. Read Matthew 21:5. Anyone know what
is going on here? (If
necessary, read Matthew 21:1-9.)
1. Is Jesus being
weak here? (No. He is staking his claim
to be the king.)
2. Is Jesus being
strong here? (No. He is not leading a
military column. What He is specifically doing is
3. Does that
make Him "meek" under our definition? (Yes.
He is making a claim that could get Him killed, because
the Bible called for Him to do it. However, He is not
assembling an army to either defend Himself or install
Himself as the king. Instead, He is trusting completely
to His Father.)
C. Read 1 Peter 3:3-4. Read.
1. Can someone
who carefully styles her hair trust God?
2. Can someone who wears fine clothes trust God? (Yes.)
3. Can someone who wears gold jewelry trust God? (Yes.)
4. So why does
Peter suggest that we should "lead" with
our gentle (meek) and quiet spirit instead of hair,
clothes and jewels? (Paul is not condemning a fine
appearance. The problem is that we can "trust" in our
looks, our fine clothes or our jewels. Have you seen
this kind of person Peter is describing? Do they
generally trust "stuff?" Peter says "What makes you
worthwhile (beautiful) is your trust in God. "Lead with
your relationship to God, instead of your possessions.)
a. Does this "fit" our definition of meek? (Yes!)
b. Does being "weak" fit our (new) definition of
meek? (Absolutely not!)
VI. NEXT WEEK: "THOSE WHO HUNGER AND THIRST FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS."
Matthew 5:6. Study!