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Strength Under Control

Matthew 5:5 (ESV) … “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”

The “gentle” or meek are those who are powerful, but who have the maturity and grace to use their power for constructive rather than destructive purposes. The term Matthew used here is much misunderstood. Meekness is not weakness. Quite the opposite; it is “strength under control.” Southern horse breeders used to have a phrase—”the meekest horse wins the race.” The meek horse is the one who has most responded to his training. All his obvious and inherent strength is harnessed and brought under focused control. Moses was referred to as “more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth” (Num. 12:3). This is hardly a description of weakness when you consider the incredible personal strength required to lead over a million people on a camping trip through the wilderness for forty years.

The inheritance of the earth here looks ahead to reward in the coming kingdom reign with Christ, which will be the grand climax of history. Notice that future rewards, hinted at here, will be a consistently recurring theme throughout Matthew’s Gospel. Note the progression thus far. Jesus’ kingdom servants are those who: (1) recognize they are spiritually bankrupt; (2) are deeply sorrowful for it; and (3) have begun to respond humbly to their trainer. (Old Testament parallels for the concept of meekness-gentleness include Ps. 37:7–11; Isa. 57:15.)[1]

[1] Weber, S. K. (2000). Matthew (Vol. 1, p. 59). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

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