The title for today’s study comes from the main verse from the reading and meditation set by Selwyn: ‘Do you not know that the saints will judge the world.’ (1 Corinthians 6:2). I understand this verse to mean that in some way, those whoÂ believe in Jesus at some point in the future, will be involved in judging the ‘people’ of this world.Â
In this study, Selwyn completes his discussion on the third beatitude: ‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.’ (Matthew 5:5) – and he presents Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of this beatitude (taken from his translation of the Bible, ‘The Message’): “You’re blessed when you are content with just who you are – no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.’
Selwyn then summarises what it means to be meek: ‘The meek, we said, are assertive without being aggressive, confident without being arrogant, are free from the spirit of demandingness, are firm without being overbearing, and are not touchy because they have come to a clear understanding of who they are by discovering whose they are. … ”
I think that the key principle that we can learn from this beatitude is that we canÂ be givenÂ a humble and meek attitudeÂ when we understandÂ that we belong to a God who has absolute power over everything and who exercises His power in perfect love for us. Meekness is a gift from God when we enter into a relationship with Him – do you agree?
The last part of today’s study looks at the meaning of the words, ‘will inherit the earth’. Selwyn considers that “The meek find themselves following an orderly path just as the universe does, and are as balanced as the universe is balanced. … The very least it (these words) means is that we are the proud owners of everything that can’t be bought’.”
In one sense Selwyn might be right about the connection with an orderly universe but I think it has more to do withÂ the contrast between the wicked and those who are faithful. In my mind, the gentle inherit the earth (everything)Â while those who are hard, aggressive and use force to take what they want, will be left with nothing (contrary to what they expect to achieve).
If we go back to verses 5-11 of Psalm 37: ‘Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret – it only leads to evil. For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land. A little while, and the wicked will be no more, though you look for them, they will not be found. But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy gread peace.’
And again, in verses 27-29: ‘Turn from evil and do good; then you will dwell in the land forever. For the Lord loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. They will be protected forever but the offspring of the wicked will be cut off; the righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever.’
There are some schools of thought who take a very ‘literal’ view of the words ‘will inherit the earth’, but if you look at the context of Psalm 37, verse 10 of Matthew 5; ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.‘; and other verses in the New Testament where there are comparisons between those who love God and the wicked- – there is a consistent theme. Take, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; ‘Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were santified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.’
Keep in mind, that all the beatitudes, are attitudes to be found in the followers of Jesus – I’m of the view that they should not be looked at in isolation to each other. In this way you can avoid the extreme views held by some, especially in regard to the beatitude we are looking at today – do you agree?