10-08-17 The Beatitudes.jpg


Kingdom Living

Power under Control - Meek and Hungry

Matthew 5:5-6

October 15,2017


Last week we began this study of Kingdom Living, which is a study of the Beatitudes that Jesus taught.  Jesus took the position of a teacher and with the Sea of Galilee in the background, and He began teaching what we call the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapters 5-7.  The Sermon on the Mount begins with these eight statements of “blessedness” that we call the Beatitudes.

These are eight dispositions, characteristics, or temperaments that depict a person who is a born-again believer, a kingdom citizen.  We established that the Kingdom of God or Kingdom of Heaven is where ever God is kinging in the lives of His children.  We are living out, to the best of our ability, the reality of the Kingdom right now.  The perfection of the Kingdom will one day take place in the presence of God, but for now, we continue to grow in our walk with the Lord living out the dispositions of the Kingdom today.  We are Kingdom citizens.

As we live as citizens of the kingdom, we find that we are blessed according to the opening verses of this sermon.  In other words, this is where we find divine joy, supreme bliss, transcendent happiness.  That is what the word “blessed,” the Greek word μακάριος, means.  So, in short, the Beatitudes are the dispositions of the believer where there is great joy and happiness.  Since we all seek to have joy and happiness in our lives, we should pay attention to how that can come to fruition in our lives.  We looked at the first two Beatitudes, the first two dispositions, last week.  First was the:

~ Poor in Spirit – Emptied of Self (v. 3)

We found last week that the Greek word πτωχός {pto-khos'} meaning “one who is reduced to beggary or one who obtains his living from begging.”  This means that we are emptied of self and begging God to fill us.  When it comes to our human spirit, we need to understand that we are nothing and we need God.  This does not mean that we are to suppress who we are as a person, but understand that we need to be emptied of self.  It is removing pride and seeing ourselves as destitute without Christ.

In fact, this is how we come to God in salvation as we understand our situation with sin and realize there is nothing we can do to save ourselves from sin without Jesus Christ.  Blessed are the Poor in Spirit.  The second Beatitude we looked at last week was:

~ Mourning – Repentant (v. 4)

This is a grief, sadness, or sorrow over sin in our lives.  It is the picture of repentance.  A born-again believer should have great sorrow over sin in their lives and desire to turn away from it and turn toward God in repentance seeking the help they need to resist the temptation to sin.

Both of these dispositions, being emptied of pride or self-sufficiency and having a deep conviction or sorrow over sin are two of the dispositions where we will find this extreme blessedness.  Divine joy and happiness is found in those who are poor in spirit and mourn in repentance over their sin.

We want to look at the next two Beatitudes today.  But before we continue to the third Beatitude, I would like to read Matthew 5:3-16 so we are reminded again of the big picture here.

Matthew 5:3-16 ESV

3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

5 "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

6 "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

7 "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

8 "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

9 "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

10 "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 "Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

13 "You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.

14 "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.

15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.

16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Do you see what Jesus is telling us here?  Kingdom living is ultimately about being salt and light in this world.  This is why born-again believers grow day by day in their walk with God and become more like Jesus.  They become more - poor in spirit, more mournful over sin and third they become more:

~ Meek – Power Under Control (v. 5)

5 "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Unfortunately, meekness in our day is typified as weakness, timidity, cowardice, lack of willpower, or lack of strength.  Nothing can be farther from the truth.

The word translated “meek” is the Greek word πραΰς praus {prah-ooce'} meaning gentle or mild in disposition.  But far from being weak, the Greeks saw this disposition as coming from a very powerful source.  It is the concept of power under control.  A person who has great power, but chooses to keep it in check.

Someone has said it could be illustrated by a lion who has been tamed and trained to respond differently than the way it is certainly capable of responding or would naturally have responded.  Another illustration is the power of water that is held back by a huge dam and released in directed places to generate electricity.  The power of the water behind the dam is under control.

In the believer’s life, this can be seen in many ways, but the most obvious is that of anger.  We certainly know that anger that is out of control is sin, but on the other hand, lack of anger or being anger less can also be sin.  And neither is what we would call meekness.

Ephesians 4:26 tells us that there are some things we should be angry about, but at the same time, there is anger that is sin.  Meekness seems to be a balance between the two.  For instance, Samson allowed his anger to go on a killing rampage (Judges 14 and 15).  But the High Priest Eli, upon hearing about his how his sons abused their position in the priesthood, calmly tells them they shouldn’t do that and they ignored him (1 Samuel 2).  Both of these men had great power, but neither of them were meek.

Meekness goes well beyond the control of anger.  Meekness is keeping the power of your position of authority as a leader, supervisor, employer, etc. under control.  Remember David’s situation under King Saul.  David knew that he was to be the next King of Israel.  God not only informed David, but God had David anointed as King while Saul was still King.

David certainly could have overthrown Saul’s leadership and taken the throne by force because he had many who loved him and stuck with him.  But David knew that he must trust God’s timing.  Saul’s removal from the throne was not his job.  So, when David suffered under Saul and was eventually hunted by Saul, we find that David’s meekness glistened like the sun.

Remember the incident at the cave in Engedi recorded for us in 1 Samuel 24?  David and his men were hiding in a cave.  Saul and his men came to the same place not knowing David and his men were there.  Saul goes into the cave to relieve himself.  David’s men were encouraging David to let them kill Saul, but David refused.

So, while Saul was sitting there relieving himself, David snuck over and cut a corner off Saul’s robe.  After Saul left and went across the valley, David goes out of the cave and calls out to Saul to show that he could have taken Saul’s life if he wanted to.  When Saul saw what had happened, Saul wept and said that David was more righteous than he was.

But the point of the telling about this whole episode between David and Saul is for you and me to clearly see what meekness is.  Meekness is power under control, not weakness or cowardice.  David had surrendered to the Lord and acknowledged His authority.  David told his men that God forbid that he would do anything to the Lord’s anointed, referring to Saul.

Remember who was called the meekest man on earth?  Moses, a man of great leadership and power, yet he was considered the meekest man on earth according to Numbers 12:3.  How about Jesus?  Jesus said of Himself, “I am meek and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29), and yet more than once Jesus became angry over sin and His Father’s holiness.  Jesus could have killed all the money changers that day, but He didn’t.  He exemplified great power under control.

In fact, let’s look at Matthew 11:28-30 for a moment.

28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

Listen to something Jeff Hedgepeth wrote about these verses:

“Did you know that Christ was talking about meekness in these verses?  When two oxen are yoked together, they learn to work as a team.  In a team of oxen, one serves as the lead and sets the direction.  The other ox must be sensitive to every move of the lead ox and yield himself completely to follow his lead.”

You see, when Christ told us to take His yoke upon us and learn of Him it was so that we can surrender ourselves completely to the lead of Jesus in our lives.  That is a much lighter load than trying to do it all in our own power.  Meekness is not weakness, it is a surrendering my rights to have my own way.  The biggest obstacle for meekness is pride and selfishness.

Are you meek?  The best way to know is to look at how you respond when trials hit hard in life, when someone offends us, lies to us, steals from us.  When problems mount up deeper than we can handle, your response will either be power out of control, or meekness, power under control.  As we submit to the lead of our Savior, meekness becomes a part of who we are.

Supreme joy and happiness is a part of the life of a meek believer.  The Christian who follows the lead of His Savior and cultivates meekness in the difficulties of life.

The verse says that the meek believer shall inherit the earth.  What does that mean?  Some say this has both a present and future fulfillment.  The meek believer is a person who is satisfied and content.  They can have nothing at all and still be possessing of all things in Christ.  There is a sense in which the whole world is at the believer’s disposal.

And in the future, there will be a new heaven and a new earth.  Those who are saved will inherit this new creation that God especially makes for those who love Him.

There is supreme happiness for those who are meek because of their proper understanding of God and their submission to His leading.  The next Beatitude is:

~ Hunger and Thirst – Desire and Pursuit (v.6)

6 "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

I am not sure just how much explanation we really need to do here.  The ideas of hunger and thirst have to do with the cravings and appetites of a person.  Though we would often associate hunger and thirst with the need and satisfaction of food, here Jesus is referring to something spiritual.  These are spiritual appetites of the heart and mind that He is talking about.

There are many comparisons that can be made here between the physical appetite and the spiritual appetite.

For instance, hunger and thirst are indicators of health.  If you are not hungry for food soon your body will be unhealthy.  If the believer has a hunger and thirst for righteousness, there will be spiritual health.  In our physical body, we crave the things that satisfy our taste, fill our stomach, and make us feel good.  The spiritual cravings should be to learn more of our Savior and to be like Him, to become more righteous each day.

You don’t have to be persuaded to eat unless there is something physically wrong.  The same is true in our relationship with the Lord, if you have no desire to learn of Him, spend time with Him, and talk to Him, then there is something wrong spiritually.

Just like our physical bodies, we continually feed our heart and mind with something, it may not be good for us, but something is always going into our spiritual system.  Here we are told that the person who experiences supreme happiness feeds on righteousness.

Scripture often uses the metaphor of food and drink to help us understand the spiritual.  For instance:

Psalm 119:103

How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

Hebrews 5:13-14

13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

Even Jesus refers to Himself as the “Living Water” (John 4:10) and the “Bread of Life” (John 6:35, 48).  In Psalm 19 we have some wonderful word pictures of what God’s Word is like, then how good it tastes.  Listen:

~ The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul;

~ The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;

~ The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;

~ The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;

Then then listen to how we are to treat God’s Words in verses 9 and 10:

10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.

11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. 

The point is simply that we are always feeding the appetite of our heart and mind, but what are we feeding it?  I would venture to say that something is wrong with our spiritual health if we are continually hungry for the things of this world and don’t spend time feeding our hearts and minds on the things of God, His righteousness.

We need to begin knowing God through His Word and feasting at the table of righteousness, fellowshipping with others around the table at Bible studies and growing in our spiritual walk with the Lord.  Why?  Because that is what is truly filling and satisfying to us.  As we cultivate an appetite for His Word our spiritual lives will be nourished and begin to produce fruit in our testimony to others.


The Beatitudes are a continual progression from the first one.

Poor in Spirit – Emptied of self and coming to God as a beggar.

Mourning – Full of sorrow and repentance toward God.

Meek – A gentle spirit with power under control

Hungry and Thirsty – An appetite and thirst for the things of God.

Do you see how this is progressing?

Each day as we live our lives and we see more and more of the dispositions described by the Beatitudes becoming evident in our lives we are assured of two things.

First, it is an assurance of our salvation.

Second, we are moving into a place of divine joy and happiness.

Where do you stand in your relationship with the Lord?  Do you see the evidence of faith in your life?  Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior?  Are you experiencing the happiness that is promised in the Beatitudes?  If you are saying “No” to either or both questions, won’t you let us help you know for sure you are saved?