“Blessed are the meek — for they shall inherit the earth.”
Imagine for a moment what it might have been like to hear this statement in its original setting. While the text we have is from a talk Jesus gave in Galilee, He probably repeated most of it down in Judea as well. Just imagine you are on a hillside outside the walls of Jerusalem, and from where you sit you can see the Antonia Fortress where the Roman garrison is housed. Pilate is probably there at that moment making decisions that could impact your life in the near future. You are a subject of an empire that rules all of Europe, Northern Africa, and much of the Middle East with an iron hand. The world you know is dominated by those who are willing to use any means necessary to secure power.
“The meek shall inherit the earth.”
Really? … How is that even possible?
And what do we think of today when we hear those words? Perhaps more to the point — why would God do that? And does that have any bearing on my life today?
1. One day, God will take the earth away from those who have ruled by force, and give it to those who would rule by proxy to the Lord Himself, those whose desire for grace and truth and love have overruled any desire for power. Hallelujah! I can’t wait! Finally, a world run by those who care about the world more than their own legacy! Wouldn’t that be something!
2. Jesus Himself has already taken ownership of the world away from Satan, by laying down His life (an act of meekness) and not by an exercise of raw power. In doing so He has given us the model of overcoming evil with Good.
3. Metaphorically, the ‘earth’ is where we live. To inherit the land means to have a kingdom (little ‘k’) where you actually reign with Christ and overcome sin, death, and the enemy of our souls. This is an inheritance we cannot achieve by sheer willpower, but rather by surrendering to the work God wants to do in our heart and mind.
Jesus is giving expression to a spiritual principle that applies on all three levels: global, cosmic, and personal. That is why He can also say,
“Learn from me, for I am meek and lowly of heart … and you will find rest for your soul.”