Blessed are the Meek: For They Shall Inherit the Land

One of the most hated groups in ancient Israel were the landlords, those who possessed the land.  No one owned land without oppression and violence.  The poor had to work the land and give a sizable portion of their harvest to the landlord.  Jesus was again turning things on its head by saying it would be the little ones who will finally possess the land.

The Hebrew scriptures make it clear who owns the land.  Every Jew knew that only God owns the land.  In the year of Jubilee the land was to go back to the original occupants.  Israel was promised to the people by God.  The ancient Jews didn’t believe in an afterlife, and the land of Israel was their reward for being faithful to God.  That is what Jesus is telling these people, that the meek will get everything promised.

It is a strange concept; to think that you can own the land.  This was an issue to the American Indians.  They “sold” large portions of America for next to nothing thinking that they had pulled one over on the whites.  They laughed at the idea of owning the land.  It was completely absurd to them.  Little did they know how serious the government and the settlers were.  Private property makes us build fences and walls.  It is a cultural thing.  People closer to the earth know that we are only pilgrims here, just passing through.  We are only stewards and caretakers at best.  Defilers at worst.

We must learn to let things go.  Everything is passing away.  It is all temporary.  No matter how much you think you have, one day you will die, and you can’t take any of it with you.  The person who lives for the Kingdom knows this.  They don’t struggle to hold onto things.  They accept what comes with gratitude, use it, and pass it on.

Meekness is a very misunderstood concept.  I remember having to explain it to convicts.  Meekness is usually confused with weakness.  Meekness is not being weak, but being strong yet not abusing it.  A dog is meek when it lets a kitten snuggle up to it.  At any point a big dog could kill that kitten, but it doesn’t.  It goes hand in hand with humility and gentleness.

Jesus said this beatitude with a measure of irony.  The point is that everything will come to those who won’t try to abuse or possess it.

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