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Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 39 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 10: Meekness in the Crucible *
Introduction: Do you remember when you were dating and you would hang
on every word your date would say about you? Sometimes you were
pleased and sometimes not. When I was dating my wife (to be) decades
ago I recall her singing "My Guy" to me. Here are the lyrics that
caught my attention "No muscle-bound man could take my hand from my
guy. No handsome face could ever take the place of my guy. He may not
be a movie star, but when it comes to being happy, we are. There's
not a man today who could take me away from my guy." It was, to say
the least, a mixed message. This reminds me of our lesson this week.
We are told that if we are described as "meek," (as in "meek and
mild") that is a compliment. Being meek is a goal. The value of
being "meek" is not obvious, so let's jump right into our study of
the Bible and find out more!
- What is a "Meek?"
- Read Matthew 5:5. Is this what you would expect to read?
Would it be more consistent with your experience if the
Bible said "Blessed are [the very bright], [the very
strong], [the very rich and persuasive]: for they shall
inherit the earth?"
- If this is not what you expect (or have seen), why is
it that the meek inherit the earth? Is it because of
the very bright, very strong, very rich and
persuasive God who intervenes on their behalf?
- Or, is this a rule of life for which intervention by
the smart and strong is not needed?
- Perhaps we need to consider what the word "meek" means.
Barnes' Notes says that it is "patience in the reception
of injuries." I think we can agree that someone who is
meek has been "injured" in some way and has not responded
in anger. Is that the end of being meek: suffering in
- Would being meek mean that we surrender our rights?
(Read John 18:23. Jesus is making a legal objection.
He is asserting His legal rights.)
- Does this mean Jesus was not meek?
- Barnes' Notes adds this about meekness: It is
not "a surrender of our rights, nor cowardice;
but it is the opposite of sudden anger, of
malice, of long-harbored vengeance." Do you
- Would you be a "meek" if you sued someone, but did
not punch someone who had wronged you?
- Is there a difference in the two? (When you
claim your legal rights, you are asking a third
party to intervene. When you punch someone, you
are taking matters into your own hands. If
Barnes is right, then invoking your rights
before a third party is consistent with being
- Happy "Meeks"
- Look again at Matthew 5:5. What does "blessed mean?"
(According to Strong's it means "happy.")
- If someone has wronged you and you are being patient
- not punching them back - how does that make you
- Read Psalms 37:7-11. We see here that Jesus was not
coming up with a new idea, He was quoting Psalms 37 when
He said "Happy are the meek: they will inherit the earth."
Let's look more closely at this longer explanation in
Psalms of the merit of the meek.
- Read again Psalms 37:7. Would this describe the
attitude of the meek?
- On who are the meek relying to make the matter
- Read again Psalms 37:8. This text tells us to refrain
from being angry - which I think we can understand
the logic of that. But, it also tells us not to
worry, because that leads only to evil. How do you
understand that statement?
- Read again Psalms 37:9-11. Is this a solution to your
particular problem, or is it a global solution for
all the meek? (It sounds global, but if you read
Psalms 37:14-15, it seems that rule applies at least
some times to particular problems.)
- Overall in these verses, can you find the basis for
the claim that a "meek" will be happy and a "puncher"
unhappy? (If you fret and get angry, you are
obviously not happy. On the other hand, if you simply
trust God that He will "cut off" all of the wicked
troublemakers, and you will have the promised land to
yourself (and the rest of the meek), then you can be
happy in the future.)
- The Power in Meek
- Read Romans 12:17-19. Here Paul repeats the same idea. Let
me get back to my original question: are the meek happy
and successful because being meek is inherently better, or
it is because a smart, strong, powerful God stands in the
wings ready to make things right by His power?
- Where would a "meek" be without his God?
- Let's continue on with Romans 12 and read Romans 12:20-21.
Here is a new, and contrary idea, being meek can overcome
evil. How does that work?
- Notice the tension between Romans 12:19 and Romans
12:20-21. One says "Be patient, God will get them."
The other says, "Be meek and kind, goodness will get
them." Are both true?
- If so, how can both be true? (The greatest
example of overcoming evil with good is the life
and death of Jesus on our behalf. However, there
is a Second Coming of Jesus in which He comes
with "punching power." The answer to this
contradiction is in the timing and in the role
assignments. God approaches us first with
kindness and love. We are to do the same with
the bad guys. (Even in this God has a critical
role because it is the Holy Spirit who "heaps
the coals." Ultimately, though, there are "bad
guys" around who will be dealt with by raw
power. That role, the raw-power to make things
right role, is not assigned to us.)
- Perfect "Meeks" Explained
- Read Matthew 5:43-48. How many enemies do you have?
- How many people persecute you? (Unless there is
something wrong with your emotional intelligence, or
you live in peculiar circumstances, the number of
people who truly are your enemies and who are
persecuting you must be very small.)
- What opportunity is presented by the very few who
enter your life to persecute you? (You should value
these people. They present to you the opportunity
for character growth. They can teach you things that
cannot be taught by people who are always nice to
- I'm not sure I know how to "love" my enemies. That
does not seem possible(aside from heavenly help) if
"love" means "affection." Further, I'm not sure what
I should be praying about when I'm told to pray for
them. "Please may they break a leg - but not a
compound fracture, so it will heal properly." We get
a hint of what God means in the example that God
gives us. Notice that Matthew 5:45 says God "shines"
and "rains" on the wicked. How could He avoid doing
- Can we interpret "loving" our enemies by simply
doing for them what we would do for anyone else?
Not withholding some good that we could do for
them? (Read again Romans 12:20. It means at
- What does Romans suggest about our prayers
for our enemies?
- Should we pray for them to break a leg?
- Should we pray their plans do not succeed?
(There is no doubt that "loving" our
enemies means helping them with the basics
of life. However, I think praying for
their failure is like "suing" them - only
better. When we pray that they fail we
turn the matter over to God. That is what
it means to be a "meek.")
- Friend, our natural heart resists being meek. Will you ask
God to make you a "meek?"
- Next week: Waiting in the Crucible.
* Copr. 2007, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.