To Be Meek

Then Hananiah the prophet took the yoke off the prophet Jeremiah’s neck and broke it.  And Hananiah spoke in the presence of all the people, saying, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Even so I will break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from the neck of all nations within the space of two full years.’ ” And the prophet Jeremiah went his way. – Jeremiah 28:10-11

What is meekness?  We know that it’s important and that God prizes it.  We know that Jesus was “meek (or gentle) and lowly of heart” (Matt. 11:29.  We are told that “the meek shall inherit the earth” (Psa. 37:11; Matt. 5:5).  Meekness is a good thing!  But what exactly is it?

The Greek word translated “meek” in Jesus’ own description of Himself bears the connotation of mildness and gentleness.  It can also mean “humble.”  But does that get us to the real idea of meekness?  Not fully.  The “meek” who will inherit the earth are those who are for the most part powerless, or, if they have power, do not wield it as if it is their’s by right.  A meek person is one who has a proper understanding of their position before God and men.  As mere men and women we are only human, and to be human is to be faulty, to be mistaken, and too often, to be unwise.  For all the positive things we may be thankful for, none of us can escape our sins or our finiteness.  Sins can be forgiven, and God “remembers that we are dust” (Psa. 103:14), but we can forget!

The Apostle Paul tells us that we have “this treasure,” by which he means the light and glory of salvation, “in earthen vessels” (2 Cor. 4:7).  These “earthen vessels” or “jars of clay” are not to be gloried in.  Rather, they are to be kept under strict watch (see Rom. 6:11-13; 7:18; 1 Thess. 4:4).  As for our minds, well, it is easy for the most intelligent people to play the fool.  How little we really know about the world, and how apt we all are to give our own faults a pass while thinking we can spot the faults of those around us!  We need a slice of humility and a good dose of meekness.

The passage for today provides us with a good illustration of meekness.  Here is Jeremiah, the great Prophet of the Lord; a man who has faithfully and sacrificially served God and delivered an unpopular message to king and people.  And here is Hananiah cutting an impressive figure, fawning before the priests, and deliberately humiliating God’s man in the process.  Hananiah contradicts Jeremiah’s prophecy and belittles him in front of everyone.

What is Jeremiah’s response?  He simply walks away.  How many of us would have tried to think some choice words for the occasion, trying to save face?  Here is a man of God in more than word but in deed.  He is humble.  He is meek.  He knows his place and is content to leave the outcome to God.  His role is to speak, and then to retire.  Our role is to serve and not to seek things too high for us; to look to God for the result that He wants, and that, surely, is enough..

 

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