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Count Your Blessings 03: They Shall Inherit the Earth

Count Your Blessings  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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INTRODUCTION
INTRODUCTION
Today we are looking at our third blessing contained in the beatitudes.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.(, ESV)
THE BLESSING: THE EARTH/LAND
In my opinion, this is by far the most confusing of the blessings that Jesus promises to kingdom citizens. He uses terminology that we wouldn’t expect to see given to kingdom citizens. We would expect Jesus to say something like, “they shall inherit Heaven,” or something like this. At first glance, it seems like Jesus is promising to give His people a physical land as He did to Israel. Is this the case? Let’s dig a little deeper into how this phrase is used in the Bible to find out.
I believe that the best place to begin is probably in the Old Testament. Turn to Psalm 37.
One thing that we usually don’t think about in regards to the teachings of Jesus is that many of them have some kind of Old Testament origin. Jesus often repeats promises and teachings that He gave to the children of Israel. (as well as most of the beatitudes) are examples of teachings that were given before to Israel.
Psalm 37
Let’s begin by reading verse 11 of this psalm of David.
11 But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.(, ESV)
Here in verse 11, you see that Jesus is almost repeating, word for word, this Psalm. This is especially seen in the Greek Old Testament. In the Septuagint, the words of are almost identical with . It says, “The meek shall inherit the land.” And the word for “land” in Greek and Hebrew also means “earth.”
Verse 11 is one of many instances where there is a promise of inheriting the land in this psalm:
9 For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.” (, ESV)
9 For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.(, ESV)
22 for those blessed by the Lord shall inherit the land, but those cursed by him shall be cut off. (, ESV)
29 The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever. (, ESV)
34 Wait for the Lord and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land; you will look on when the wicked are cut off. (, ESV)
All throughout this Psalm you have this contrast given by David regarding the fate of the wicked and the fate of the righteous. The LORD laughs at the wicked and the plans they devise against His people because the LORD knows that the day of His vengeance is coming. The time would come when the wicked would not bother God’s people forever. They would be cut off. They would lose the abundance that they have.
Then you have the righteous in contrast, who David says are blessed by the LORD now and forever. He gives them peace and security. He gives them all that they need in life so that they can not only eat and survive, but so that they can be generous to others, even if they do not have an abundance. He acts on their behalf and defends them from the enemy. Even though they may be persecuted and suffer, they are not forsaken by the LORD. They don’t worry about what man can do to them to harm them because they know that God holds them up and they are blessed forever because God is with them.
This is a beautiful contrast given to us by David. He gives this contrast to God’s people to encourage them regarding how to live. The verses that we read give us the main idea of this psalm. This psalm defines what David, and in my opinion, Jesus mean when they say, “they shall inherit the land/earth.” There is so much more to it than, they are going to dwell or live somewhere. This is not how the Jews viewed the use of the phrase. They didn’t look at it in such a narrow way. The way the phrase is being used is to talk about all of the blessings that come from being where God is. The blessings of having God dwelling in their midst.
But what is interesting about is the time in which it was written. As I mentioned a few moments ago, David was writing this psalm to a people who were already inhabiting the land. They had already received their inheritance. Israel had been in the land for hundreds of years already. And even those who Jesus spoke the beatitudes to were living in the land, although they were serving Rome. But both David in and Jesus in talk about this blessing in a tense that makes it seem like they are both talking about something bigger than just a physical land that Israel dwelt in.
But what about the New Testament Israel of God - the people of the kingdom of Jesus Christ?
But what is interesting about is the time in which it was written. As I mentioned a few moments ago, David was writing this psalm to a people who were inhabiting the land already. They had already received their inheritance. Israel had been in the land for hundreds of years already. And even those who Jesus spoke the beatitudes to were living in the land, although they were serving Rome. But both David in and Jesus in talk about this blessing in a tense that makes it seem like they are both talking about something bigger than just a physical land that Israel dwelt in. What we have here is, in my judgment, what we have described in passages like and . In , we have Abraham being spoken of as looking forward to living in a country or land that is better than what is given by God in this life. Abraham and His descendants were promised a land, but what Abraham was ultimately looking forward to was being in the heavenly country. It does not seem to me that Abraham viewed Israel receiving the land of Canaan as the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promises. All of the promises given to David have their ultimate fulfillment in Jesus and the Promised Land He offers.
The land of Palestine was the inheritance of the Jewish nation. God promised it to His people who were willing to faithfully submit to His commandments. They were given an inheritance, and as long as they were faithful, this was accompanied by God’s blessing of peace, security, and protection from their enemies because God was dwelling in their midst.
What is interesting about is the time in which it was written. As I mentioned a few moments ago, David was writing this psalm to a people who were inhabiting the land already. They had already received their inheritance. Israel had been in the land for hundreds of years already. And even those who Jesus spoke the beatitudes to were living in the land, although they were serving Rome.
Yes, The land of Palestine was the inheritance of the Jewish nation. God promised it to His people who were willing to faithfully submit to His commandments. They were given an inheritance, and as long as they were faithful, this was accompanied by God’s blessing of peace, security, and protection from their enemies because God was dwelling in their midst.
Isaiah 60:21
What we have here is, in my judgment, what we have described in passages like and . In , we have Abraham being spoken of as looking forward to living in a country or land that is better than what is given by God in this life. Abraham and His descendants were promised a land, but what Abraham was ultimately looking forward to was being in the heavenly country. It does not seem to me that Abraham viewed Israel receiving the land of Canaan as the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promises. All of the promises given to David have their ultimate fulfillment in Jesus and the Promised Land He offers.
What we have in this Psalm, and in the words of Jesus, in my judgment, is something similar to what is described in the book of Hebrews. David is trying to encourage the people to live righteously in view of something bigger and grander. They needed to remember that as they are faithful, they have the LORD with them
The land of Palestine was the inheritance of the Jewish nation. God promised it to His people who were willing to faithfully submit to His commandments. They were given an inheritance, and as long as they were faithful, this was accompanied by God’s blessing of peace, security, and protection from their enemies because God was dwelling in their midst.
And remember, who is Jesus speaking the beatitudes to? He is also speaking them to people who were in the land. They had their physical inheritance. Hearing this from Jesus may have raised an eyebrow or two. They may have thought to themselves, “We will inherit the land? Wait, we already have our land right now that God gave us as an inheritance.”
In , you see this idea also. Although Joshua took Israel into the promised land of rest- the land of God’s blessing and protection, the psalmist still said later on in that there was a future land of rest for the people of God. Yes, it may have been the case that there was peace as they received the promises of God - the land, His protection and care. But David wanted something much better also — the Promised land of promised lands. He wanted to be in the presence of the LORD forever.
This phrase that Jesus is using, although it was speaking of their inheritance in the promised land, is speaking of so much more.
What is interesting about is the time in which it was written. David was writing this psalm to a people who were inhabiting the land already. They had already received their inheritance. Israel had been in the land for hundreds of years already. And remember, who is Jesus speaking the beatitudes to? He is also speaking them to people who were in the land. They had their physical inheritance. Hearing this from Jesus may have raised an eyebrow or two. They may have thought to themselves, “We will inherit the land? Wait, we already have our land right now that God gave us as an inheritance.”
And remember, who is Jesus speaking the beatitudes to? He is also speaking them to people who were in the land. They had their physical inheritance. Hearing this from Jesus may have raised an eyebrow or two. They may have thought to themselves, “We will inherit the land? Wait, we already have our land right now that God gave us as an inheritance.”
So what does this mean for the New Covenant Israel of God - the people of the kingdom of Jesus Christ? This means a couple things. First, there is blessing for us in this life because God dwells in our midst through the Spirit. As David witnessed, God’s people are not forsaken by him. He gives them all that they need in this life to survive and to be generous. He defends them from the enemy. Even though He may allow hardship, they still have God with them. God’s kingdom citizens are blessed by Him here on the earth, but these blessings are just a foretaste of what our great promised land of rest will be like. God’s care for us here should make us look forward to our greatest inheritance - being with Him forever.
BLESSED ARE THE MEEK
But remember, like the other beatitudes, there is a condition to this blessing belonging to you! These blessings are given to people of a specific kind of character. If you see your need for God’s mercy, if you mourn, and if you are meek, then this blessing is yours. It is near impossible to separate these character traits. One leads to the other. We cannot pick and choose which ones we are going to strive to be.
The specific one Jesus mentions is, “Blessed are the meek...” What does Jesus mean by meek? Here, we can go back to also, because this psalm describes for us the godly person who is meek.
Notice the parallel between verse 11 and verse 9. Verse 11 says, “The meek shall inherit the land.” Verse 9 says, “Those who wait for the Lord shall possess the land.” So I would conclude first that the meek are people who wait for the Lord. But what does it mean to wait for the Lord?
We get a picture of those who wait for the Lord, that is, the meek, if we read verses 5–8.
5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. 6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. 7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! 8 Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.” (, ESV) What are these people like who, according to verse 11, are meek and, according to verse 9, wait for the Lord? Well, verse 5 says they commit their way to the Lord and trust in the Lord. Verse 7 says they are quiet or still before the Lord and do not fret over others who prosper. And verse 8 says they refrain from anger and forsake wrath. This is a great portrait of the meek kingdom citizen.
5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. 6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. 7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! 8 Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. (, ESV)
What are these people like who, according to verse 11, are meek and, according to verse 9, wait for the Lord? Well, verse 5 says they commit their way to the Lord and trust in the Lord. Verse 7 says they are quiet or still before the Lord and do not fret over others who prosper. And verse 8 says they refrain from anger and forsake wrath. This is a great portrait of the meek kingdom citizen.
What are these people like who, according to verse 11, are meek and, according to verse 9, wait for the Lord?
What are these people like who, according to verse 11, are meek and, according to verse 9, wait for the Lord?
Well, verse 5 says they commit their way to the Lord and trust in the Lord. Verse 7 says they are quiet or still before the Lord and do not fret over others who prosper or afflict them. And verse 8 says they refrain from anger and forsake wrath.
All that they do - their business, their problems, their relationships, their health, their fears, their frustrations - they commit these things to the LORD because they know they are insufficient to deal with all of the pressures and obstacles of life. They trust God is willing to sustain them through all of these things.
Verse 7 says they are quiet or still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.
Verse 7 also shows that they do not fret over others who prosper in their way.
And verse 8 says they refrain from anger and forsake wrath.
This is a great portrait of the meek kingdom citizen.
11 But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.” (, ESV)
1. Meek
a) Broken will and receptive heart before God
(1) Animal which has learned to accept control
(2) Always implies teachable spirit
b) Suffer wrong w/o bitterness or seeking revenge
You see in them that they see that life is not about themselves. Their life is about the Lord, trusting Him to direct their ways. They submit themselves to HIs care and protection. They are like an animal that has submitted to the yoke of their master. They don’t fight the yoke. They desire to go the direction of another. They are not those who feel that they need to get their own way and get angry and attack others when it does not happen. They are a truly humble people. They are not self-assertive, throwing their weight, power, and authority around.
(1) Does not claim rights
(2) Who would you expect to inherit: strong, aggressive, self-assertive
5:4 “Mourn” remains unqualified and parallels Luke’s “weep” (). In light of v. 3 and a probable allusion to , however, we should again think of both spiritual and social concerns. Mourning includes grief caused by both personal sin and loss and social evil and oppression. God will comfort now in part and fully in the future. That Christian mourning does not outweigh happiness as the more dominant characteristic of the Christian life remains clear from .
(3) They don’t throw their weight around; rely on God to give them their due
c) In first three beatitudes: genuine humility
d) Inherit the earth
(1) w/o object better than land (of Israel)
NEW TESTAMENT PASSAGES ABOUT MEEKNESS
Let’s consider another passage: . Here we see another attribute of meekness:
(2) NT treats these promises in non-territorial ways; means enter kingdom and this kingdom transcends all geographical dimensions
19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. (, ESV)
WHO RECEIVES THIS BLESSING?
James has in mind two kinds of people here. He pictures on the one hand a person who does not like to listen to what other people have to say, especially if they speak with authority. This person is quick to speak and quickly becomes angry if the words of others cross his opinion or call his behavior into question. He is not receptive to the word of God. He filters it through his own desires and receives it selectively, if at all.
They are moldable, teachable, reasonable.
On the other hand James pictures another kind of person. This person is slow to speak, and quick to listen (verse 19). This person recognizes the limitations of his knowledge and the fallibility of his thinking, and so is eager to listen and learn anything valuable that he can. If he hears something new or contrary to his own view, his first reaction is not fretful anger. He is slow to anger. He listens and considers.
You see here that those who are meek are moldable, teachable, and able to be reasoned with.
The Meek (ESV).
1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,(, ESV) How do I walk, Paul?  Verse 2 says “with all lowliness and meekness/gentleness, with patience.”  God’s kingdom is for the meek. 
“Don't speak evil of anyone. Avoid quarrelling.  Be gentle, showing all meekness unto all men.”   Pretty simple.  The meek are gentle to all and don’t slander others. They don’t want to fight and get into arguments. Over and over again in the Bible it says that the people in God’s kingdom were meek. These are the people who are truly blessed.
Over and over again in the Bible it says that the people in God’s kingdom were meek. These are the people who are truly blessed.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience
Over and over again in the Bible it says that the people in God’s kingdom were meek. These are the people who are truly blessed.
Now, the description that we see of the meek person is not one that the world looks at and says, this person is blessed. The idea of submitting, not getting your own way, and not always being able to voice your opinion about everything is often contrary to the ways of the world. Our world associates happiness and success with strength, and confidence, and self assurance, and survival of the fittest, and conquest, and power. 
That wasn’t Jesus’ way.  His kingdom is for people who are meek. If we want to inherit what God promises, this is what we need to strive for. Only those who are meek can truly look forward to, with anticipation, the time in which Jesus will return, destroy the Heavens and earth as we know them, and bring forth a new Heavens and earth where only righteousness dwells.
If we want to inherit what God promises, this is what we need to strive for. Only those who are meek can truly look forward to, with anticipation, the time in which Jesus will return, destroy the Heavens and earth as we know them, and bring forth a new Heavens and earth where only righteousness dwells.
gentle, quiet spirit.... Someone that doesn’t have to get their own way… Someone who is willing to listen and submit. Someone who is moldable and teachable and not self-assertive, throwing their weight around.
APPLICATION AND CONCLUSION
Are you meek? Are you one who truly seeks to live before God in humility and submission to His ways?
The context of gives the best possible definition of the meek: they are those who choose the way of patient faith instead of self-assertion; a way fully expounded in the foregoing verses. The land (rather than ‘the earth’) is evidently the right translation of the second noun, in view of the imperative of verse 3, which simply says ‘Dwell in the land’—i.e. the land which God has given you. The point of verse 11 is that the wicked, who have taken more than their share, will be destroyed in the end, leaving the meek in sole possession. It is almost a refrain: see verses 3, 9, 11, 22, 29, 34. But our Lord put this promise into a larger setting: by a similar judgment the meek will inherit, not the land only, but the earth.
5:5 A “meek” person is not the “wallflower” we often think of when we use the word but one who is humble, gentle, and not aggressive.
Are you teachable and able to be reasoned with?
Nevertheless, in the ancient Greco-Roman world, such humility was no more valued than in our world today. Inheriting the earth as future compensation suggests that the meekness in view also included a lack of earthly possessions. Most poor people in Israel did not own their own land and were subject to the whims of oppressive landlords (). The future reward echoes but generalizes the promise of inheriting the land of Israel to include all of the earth. Christian hope does not look forward to inhabiting a particular country but to ruling with Christ over all the globe and ultimately to enjoying an entirely re-created earth and heavens ("
Are you slow to speak? Willing to listen?
Or are you one who is self-assertive? Do you try to over-power others and take control of the situation and discussion?
Are you one who submits your will and all your ways to the LORD?
If there is anything we can do to help you be able to help you answer this question in the affirmative, we want to help you. If you would like to become one of God’s people today, or if we can help you in any way to know the LORD and what He expects of you as a disciple of His, why don’t you make your need known while together we stand and sing?
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