O the Blessedness of the Meek

O the Blessedness of the Meek

We are continuing our series on the Beatitudes. You can go here and read about the first Beatitude called The Poor in Spirit and here to read about the second called Joy Comes in the Mourning.

Now, we will look at the third Beatitude found in Matthew 5:5.

O the blessedness of the meek! For they will inherit the earth.

Matt. 5:5

Let me start off by saying, Wow! I found some cool meanings of these words in my research of ancient Hebrew, and I am really excited to show and tell you what God led me to.

I just bought a really cool book called Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible by Jeff A. Benner (Yes, I am a total geek). It doesn’t just explain the Hebrew of the Bible but goes back even further to the early Hebrew when their language looked pictorial or like hieroglyphics.

Strong’s Concordance describes meek as “the idea of looking down or browbeating; to depress literally or figuratively…chasten self, deal hardly with, defile, exercise, force, gentleness, humble (self). https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?strongs=H6031&t=KJV

The Eye

The Hebrew word for meek/humble is anah and we write it like this: (Remember you read right to left.)

ענה

Ayin (ע) is the first letter in the word anah, but in the early Hebrew language it looked like an eye:

So, the word anah has to do with our eyes and careful watching. In this case, it has to do both with where we place our eyes (on God, not ourselves), but also what we are watching.

What are we to watch?

Our heart.

What are we to watch…our heart. #ThisSideofHeaven #TheBlessednessoftheMeek

Numbers 12:3 uses anah to describe Moses.

Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth.

Numbers 12:3 ESV

What made Moses so meek? Jennifer Ross explains on The Torah Class website.

G-d requires cleanliness… thus Moses strove to remain clean.  In his heart, he knew that he must be clean in order to approach or to be approached by G-d. Simply put, Moses didn’t want to be called by G-d and be found in an unclean state and therefore unable to answer the call.  Imagine that for a moment.

https://www.torahclass.com/archived-articles/429-anav-by-jennifer-ross

Moses watched his heart. He kept guard over his heart and his thoughts and obeyed the Torah or Law in order to prevent anything (uncleanness) from coming between him and the Father.

Consider this, Deuteronomy 18:15 says,

The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me [Moses] from among you, from your fellow Israelites.

Deut. 18:5

According to John 5:46, Jesus told the people accusing Him that Moses wrote about Him. He was/is the Prophet like Moses. He came in humility.

Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Phil. 2:8

Source: https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Humility-Of-Christ

Jesus is our example of humility.

Hebrew4Christians.com is another great website for information on the Hebrew language. In their explanation of this Beatitude, it says,

This word [meek] does not suggest weakness, but rather one’s recognition of one’s proper place in the universe before God. It is not self-effacing, but reality-focused. The meek inherit the earth because they are grounded in the truth of reality…

https://www.hebrew4christians.com/Scripture/Brit_Chadashah/Beatitudes/beatitudes.html

And what is that reality you might ask?

That answer goes back to my post called The Poor in Spirit based on the first Beatitude in Matthew 5:3.

O the Blessedness of the poor in spirit! For theirs is the Kingdom of God.

Matthew 5:3 ESV

I explained the poor in spirit recognize their position as beggars who are in absolute dependence on the Father. We need humility to be willing to look at our hearts in comparison to a Holy and Perfect God and see we are nothing more than beggars in need of a compassionate God to take care of us.

This verse tells us the meek will inherit the Earth. What does this mean?

In the Midrash below, one rabbi said:

For it is said: Now the man Moses was very meek (Num. 12:3). Scripture states that whoever is meek ends by having the Shekhinah dwell with him ( the man) on earth

Midrash Mekhilta

The Hebrew word for inherit is yaresh and it means, to occupy (by
driving out previous tenants, and possessing in their place);
by implication, to seize, to rob, to inherit; also to expel… http://classic.net.bible.org/strong.php?id=03423

I believe this is suggesting that God gives the meek power in the spiritual realm to drive out and take possession of the things satan has stolen.

This world is under satan’s control right now. Revelation tells us of the war between Jesus and satan while God is sorting it all out. (very simplified).

God desires us to be humble.

There are many verses about humility and what the Lord thinks about those who are proud and those who are humble. But, not only that, many verses include what the humble receive from God.

A man’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor.

Proverbs 29:23

Source: https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Humility-And-Pride

Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.

James 4:10

Source: https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Humility-And-Pride

Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 18:4

Source: https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Humility-And-Pride

I could go on… but I think you get the message.

I hope you’re beginning to see the progression of the Beatitudes: When we know that we are nothing more than beggars who are dependent on our Lord (Matt. 5:3), we will mourn over our sin (Matt. 5:4), and keep our hearts clean so nothing can come between us and God (Matt. 5:5). Then the Kingdom of Heaven (or The Lord) is in us, the Lord will comfort us, and we will inherit (or take possession of) the earth.

And God will call us the blessed, happy, and glad.

Joy Comes in the Mourning

Joy Comes in the Mourning

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

Matthew 5:4

When was the last time you mourned over someone or something?

There are days my heart is heavy over the things I see in this world–in politics, in the church, or in our country. I have mourned over the death of family members and pets, and the loss of relationships.

Sometimes as I mourned, I felt Jesus mourning with me, and other times I felt alone and unable to find peace or comfort. That didn’t mean Jesus wasn’t there. In the case of a few friendships, Jesus just let me cry it out until no more tears fell; then told me to let them go.

If you look at this verse from the standpoint of mourning or grieving over loss, you may always expect to be comforted. After all, Jesus promised comfort to the mourners.

Last week, I explained the meaning of the phrase Blessed are. It means, O the blessedness of or the gladness of

If you combine O the gladness of with the phrase those who mourn, it doesn’t really make sense. Did Jesus really tell us that it is a blessed or a happy thing to mourn? How can we be happy while we are grieving?

Mourning is not exactly what I find happiness in.

However, the type of mourning Matthew 5:4 refers to is the kind of mourning we do over our sins.

That’s the kind of mourning God wants to hear and see. When we come to Him with remorse and repent for our lost tempers, unkind words, lies, or attitudes, among many others, He forgives usthen He comforts us.

He doesn’t hold our sin against us, send us on a guilt trip or condemn us, either.

I believe genuine remorse over our sin is a song in His ears. Why? Because He can now bury that sin in the deepest sea or as far as the east is from the west. He will never have to look at it again.

Genuine remorse over our sin is a song in the Lord’s ears. #ThisSideofHeaven #Blessedarethosewhomourn

Jesus’ blood is the reason He can do that. One precious death for a multitude of sinners.

The Old Testament verse similar to Matthew 5:4 is Psalm 30:5.

Weeping may last through the night,  but joy comes with the morning.

Psalm 30:5 NLT

I can also see a bit of play on words in this verse…Joy comes with or in the mourning.

You see, repentance is a gift. True repentance starts with understanding our position as beggars (Poor in spirit) in total dependence on God’s grace and mercy.

If you have experienced a burden of sin lifted by God’s forgiveness, then you know the joy that comes next and the amazing gift you have been given.

It’s true – weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning.

The Poor in Spirit

The Poor in Spirit

Are you on Twitter or heard of #Healthyfaith Twitter chat?

You can find it when you click on Explore and enter #Healthyfaith.

The topics on #Healthyfaith vary from night to night, but each leader has a different topic for at least 8 weeks. Recently, on Thursday nights, we led our #Healthyfaith chat on the Beatitudes. For me, it was fun to gather research on Matthew 5:3-12 and come up with questions based on these scriptures.

Since the Twitter chat topic changed to the Names of God, I’d like to share what I’ve learned through my study of the Beatitudes over the next nine weeks on this blog.

I hope you find it encouraging, educating, and even life-changing.

Here we go!

Kingdom Building

And you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.

Revelation 5:10 ESV

Biology was and is my favorite subject. I loved learning about the different plants, animals, cells, and fungi in the world, especially how we as humans fit into it all. This world belongs to our Creator and everything in it He made it with a purpose—except mosquitos….I’m not sure of their purpose other than to feed bats and dragonflies…but that’s another subject.

As a biologist, I have taught many classes on the six different kingdoms of biology. Starting from the smallest single-cell kingdoms like Archaebacteria and Eubacteria up to the largest multi-celled kingdoms of plants and animals—from the mosquito to the Blue whale. These kingdoms represent every life form on this planet.

The largest is the animal kingdom, which includes humans.

Amongst all the kingdoms we learn about, the most important one we will ever know is God’s. He created His Kingdom, and appointed Jesus as King, to represent and usher all humans into it.

Because we can’t see this awesome place God has for us, many people decide to build their own out of their dissatisfaction.

One way the enemy entices us is through our profession. We may be a secular business, a Christian ministry, or even an author—trying to build a personal kingdom of followers to buy our products and embrace our vision. Our kingdom and brand adopt our name.

You are the customer. Everyone we know—from people we worship with to friends and family becomes potential clients and/or purchasers.

We become the king of our kingdom.

This is what others teach us to do.

Now, I’m not saying we are trying to usurp God’s Kingdom and authority. But, it is easy to get caught up in our own kingdom-building.

Even the Pharisees had problems with this. They weren’t all bad either. We see in Luke 17:20:

Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.

Luke 17:20

The Kingdom of Heaven

What does that mean?

One rabbi said, “When a person committed himself daily to love God with all of his heart, soul, mind, and strength, (by saying the Shema) he had “received upon himself the kingdom of heaven.” (https://engediresourcecenter.com/2019/09/04/what-is-the-kingdom-of-heaven/)

For us, the Kingdom of Heaven/God is in our hearts when we make the Lord- King of all we are and do. The Kingdom of Heaven lives in us!

For us, the Kingdom of Heaven is in our hearts when we make Jesus, King of all we are and do. #ThisSideofHeaven #BlessedarethePoorinSpirit

In Matthew 5, we learn what type of people make up His kingdom.

The Poor in Spirit

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

The phrase Blessed are translates from the Hebrew as O the blessedness of or The gladness of. This is not a condition of the person who is poor in spirit, but the reality of the person.

What does it mean to be poor in spirit?

The Hebrew term means to “crouch like a helpless beggar.” (https://www.hebrew4christians.com/Scripture/Brit_Chadashah/Beatitudes/beatitudes.html)

This represents a person in absolute need of God to take care of them. This is humility at its best.

A person who is poor in spirit is the opposite of worldly thinking—independent, proud, with an “I have it all-I need nothing” attitude.

Have you ever wondered why Jesus begins with the poor in spirit in the Beatitudes?

Without the knowledge and understanding that we are nothing more than helpless beggars, we will never be peacemakers, we will never mourn, never be humble, or hunger and thirst for His righteousness….get the picture?

But that is only in this world. In the Heavenly places, God will esteem the humble, poor in spirit, peacemakers, persecuted, and the compassionate. God loves these traits in us.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

James 4:10

O the gladness of being poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Matt. 5:3

 It is a blessing as well as a state of gladness to recognize we are poor in spirit. We will have the Kingdom of Heaven living within us until the day Jesus takes us to Heaven to live with Him forever!

Smelling the Fear of the LORD

Smelling the Fear of the LORD

And His delight shall be in the fear of the LORD.

Isaiah 11

Happy New Year! 2020 was a rough year, let’s expect 2021 to be better–Lord willing, it will be.

It has been a while since I have been on my blog. So many things have been going on.

My publisher released my Bible study, Jewels of Hebrews, December 1, 2020. It is available on Amazon, Walmart.com, and Barnes & Noble as a paperback or Ebook. I am so excited this labor of love is finally available to you.

Both my mom and aunt battle dementia and we moved them out of their homes. They had a hard time moving but, they’re thriving now and enjoying the places they are living. If you have been there with a parent, then you know the peace of mind that comes with knowing your loved one can’t get hurt from being alone and confused.

A New Word

Like a lot of people I know, I asked the Lord for a word this year. I haven’t done that before but decided to ask and wait for His reply. I felt like He gave me the word “merciful.” I immediately asked for a different word like “grateful” :).

The word merciful slightly scared me.

Why?

Because I thought that would mean the Lord wants me to be merciful towards people who might cause bad things to happen to me or my family in the coming year. But, as I thought more on the word, I realized the mercy of the Lord when I mess up. So, I decided to “keep” my word and look at it from the Lord’s point of view.

If He can be merciful to me when I mess up–and I really do mess up at times–then I can be merciful when others do as well.

I found this verse on the Lord’s mercy:

The Lord is gracious and merciful,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
 The Lord is good to all,
    and his mercy is over all that he has made.

Psalm 145:8-9

Delighting in the Fear of the LORD

The Lord also has me reading the book of Isaiah. I started in December, reading each chapter a couple of times and thinking about how it relates to me and what God wants me to learn from it.

A few days ago, I read chapter eleven and the Lord impressed on me the words of the first part of Isaiah 11:3. It says,

And His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what His eyes see,
  or decide disputes by what His ears hear
.

Isaiah 11:3

The verses before this are referring to the Messiah as a shoot from the stump of Jesse.

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
    and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
    the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
    the Spirit of counsel and might,
    the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

As I read this I stopped and reread, “…His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.” This verse is speaking of the Messiah’s delight, but I wanted that to be my prayer for the year. I want my delight to be in the fear of the Lord. So, I asked the Lord to help me make that my motivation and the place of my strength.

I did a little research to find out exactly what I was praying for.

Delight

The first word search I did was on “delight.” Hebrew often has meanings that we just can’t fully express in English. They have root words, too. Although not exactly like ours.

Hebrew root words use three consonants separated by a period – like B.C.D. When you insert the vowels you make different words. But because these words come from the same root it connects their meanings.

For instance, both “amen” and “faithful” have the same root word (Reading right to left):

א.מ.ך

This root word means, “to support, confirm, be faithful, uphold, nourish, carried, or make firm.”  (https://studybible.info/strongs/H539)

Add different vowels and you have two different words.

This brings me to “delight.” The Hebrew comes from the same Hebrew root as “smell.” So, delight=smell – delightful, right?

If you go back to the rest of Isaiah 11:3, you find it says, “He shall not judge by what His eyes see, or decide disputes by what His ears hear. (Emphasis mine.)

Hebrew likes to play with words. It happens all the time in the Bible which when translated by the Greeks, puzzled them. That’s why some phrases in the Bible, especially in the New Testament, are hard to understand.

Have you ever heard the expression about a dog or other animal being able to “Smell fear?” But this kind of fear has a delightful scent. One scholar spoke of it as “Fear of Jehovah is fragrant to Him.” Not His own fear of the LORD, but the fear He smells in others for the LORD.

(https://www.studylight.org/commentary/isaiah/11-3.html, Christ and the Fear of Jehovah)

Others say instead of using His sense of sight and hearing to judge, the Messiah will use His sense of smell to judge. Kind of like, “I can smell a rat” type of thing.

Respect or Fear

My second word search was on “fear.” Most of us have read this word over and over or heard it explained by our pastors.

Fear means, “pertaining to respect toward a superior” as well as “being afraid”.

(James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Hebrew (Old Testament) (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997)).

I think there should be a combination of both these meanings in our fear of the LORD. (The word for the Lord in this verse is YHWH or Yehovah.)

The Creator of EVERYTHING deserves all our respect, but we should also have a healthy fear of God.

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Matthew 10:28

So, my prayer is both to delight in the fear of my God, Yehovah–the Maker of all things, and to delight in the fragrant aroma of YOUR fear of the LORD as well.