Theme: Inheriting the Earth
This week’s lessons on the Beatitudes teach us that true happiness comes by living in a way that is contrary to the world and even to our natural way of thinking.
Scripture: Matthew 5
The third beatitude concerns meekness. What do you think of when you think of meekness? Most of us think of Caspar Milquetoast or else the skinny 98-pound weakling in the Charles Atlas ad. That is not what meekness meant in the ancient world. Aristotle once outlined what the proper virtues of a civilized man should be. Men are usually too extreme, he said. They either exhibit too much of something, or they attain too little of something else. They should aim for what Aristotle called “the golden mean,” that is, the virtue that stands in the middle. 
Meekness is one such virtue. It is part-way between being too angry at something–flying off the handle—and, on the other hand, not being angry enough, being passive. Aristotle defined meekness as “always being angry about the right things at the right time and never being angry about the wrong things at the wrong time.” In Christian terms this means that believers must use all the force at their disposal to speak out against the sinfulness of the world. But at other times, perhaps when their own rights are intruded upon, they must step back and allow the Lord to be their defender. 
In Numbers, Moses is described as being the meekest man on the face of the earth (12:3). Moses was the man who stood before Pharaoh and said, “Let my people go!” He was the one who climbed Mount Sinai to appear before God while God gave him the Ten Commandments. His was real strength. But in the twelfth chapter, where Moses is described as being meek, another type of strength is revealed. Moses had married a girl from Cush or Ethiopia. She was black, and some people did not like it. The person most offended was Moses’ sister, Miriam. So she, along with her brother Aaron, challenged Moses’ leadership. God did not look upon this lightly. He said, “Who are you to question my servant Moses, the one with whom I talked face-to-face?” Then a cloud from the tabernacle overshadowed Miriam, and when the cloud moved away everybody saw that Miriam had become white with leprosy. It is ironic. God was saying, “You are too proud of your color. You think white is better? Here is more of it.” Aaron was aghast. He said, “Oh, Moses, don’t let this sin of hers be held against her.” Then Moses turned to the Lord and asked him to heal Miriam of her leprosy.
It is a very stirring story, and it is in the midst of this story that we are told that Moses was the meekest man who ever lived. A meek man is one who bows low before God so that he can stand up against God’s enemies. And because he has bowed low before God, he does not have to defend himself. He can be bold in God’s service.
Study Questions:

How is meekness defined in a general sense?  How does one practice it as a distinctively Christian virtue?
How did Moses demonstrate meekness?

Application: Are there any situations you are going through that require meekness?  What form will that meekness specifically take?  If you are finding it difficult to cultivate meekness, ask the Lord for grace to enable you to demonstrate it for the honor of Christ. 
Key Point: A meek man is one who bows low before God so that he can stand up against God’s enemies. And because he has bowed low before God, he does not have to defend himself. He can be bold in God’s service.

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