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In Matthew 5:5 Christ told His disciples: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth,” and in Matthew 11:29 He describes Himself as ‘meek and lowly in heart.’
The trait of meekness relates to how we think of ourselves and also how we treat and react to others. It can be viewed as an expression of humility and is especially evident during times of stress and conflict.
In Numbers 12:3 Moses is described as, “... very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth,” and the Bible records examples of how this character trait manifested itself throughout his life.
When Miriam and Aaron began to criticise him because of his marriage to an Ethiopian woman, questioning his authority and thinking they were better qualified to lead (Numbers 12:1-2), Moses chose not to react and did not confront his siblings. In fact, when God punished Miriam, who was the ringleader, striking her down with leprosy Moses intervened on her behalf: “... Moses cried to the LORD, saying, ‘Please heal her, O God, I pray!’” (Numbers 12:13).
Moses had a similar reaction when faced with the rebellion of Korah and his followers. Even though he was “very angry” (Numbers 16:15) he did not answer the offenders, but took the situation to God, telling them God would reveal who was in charge. Then when God became so angry He was ready to wipe out the Israelite camp, Moses once again interceded, seeking a balance between mercy and justice and asking God to limit His punishment to those directly involved in the rebellion (Numbers 16:20-22).
In John 18:19 we see Jesus being examined by the high priest. It was an improper format for a trial with the High Priest attempting to extort a confession without allowing Jesus any witnesses in His defence.
Jesus alluded to the impropriety of the proceedings, inferring that witnesses were required. “Why do you ask Me?” was Christ’s question about formal procedure—but because of His supposed insolence, Jesus was hit. He responded, “If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why do you strike Me?” (John 18:20-23). His response shows Jesus was spiritually strong and was not going to back down, but that He also respected and submitted to the authorities.
While Jesus was on the cross, He endured horrible taunting (Luke 23 and Mark 15), but His amazing response to that treatment was: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). Jesus asked God to remove the charge from those who put Him to death --- which ultimately includes all of humanity!
The examples of meekness demonstrated by Moses and then to the ultimate degree by Jesus Christ shows meekness requires a complete removal of self from a situation. It is the opposite of sudden anger, malice, or long-harboured vengeance, and calls for us to rise above personal attack and seek mercy for others.
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