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The Origin of Meekness

Humans value humility in each other so what should we expect from God?

Have you ever wondered why people value humility?
  In Matthew 5:5 Jesus tells us that the meek are blessed because they will inherit the earth. Abram exemplified what Jesus means by meekness in Genesis 13. He was very rich (Gen 13:2) when he left his family and traveled to the land God promised him. He also brought his nephew Lot. Now, Abram was Lot's elder and also the Patriarch. He was in charge and he was also the one to whom God entrusted the land. He had every right to use the land as he wished. His success led to swollen flocks for both him and Lot and their men began to quarrel. Abram had every right to take the best of the land for himself. Instead, he gave Lot the option to go where he wanted. If you go left, I'll go right (v9). He lowered himself from his position and offered Lot the first option. Abram knew what God had promised and saw the land thru eyes of faith which allowed him to set aside his right. Lot, on the other hand saw the land from a materialistic sense. He saw how green the valley was and opted for the best land for himself and pitched his tent near Sodom--and we know how that goes. So, Jesus teaches that the meek inherit the land.


Isn't it true that we value the kind of humility that sets aside of position or power for another person? The greek word used in Matt 5:5 means to be mild or gentle. Later, Jesus tells us to place our burdens on him because he is gentle and humble in heart (Matt 11:29) and Peter uses this same word to describe a wife who does not focus on outward beauty but on an inner gentle and tranquil spirit. Sometimes we confuse meekness with weakness but they are very different. Meekness involves strength that is constrained or intentionally set aside - not stripped away in weakness

We value goodness because God is good and we are created in his image. Does our conception of God include meekness or humility? We think of God as omni-benevolent, or maximally good. However, do we see God as maximally meek? Certainly the orthodox Christian view of God sees God as meek. The incarnation itself is God lowering himself to life as a man and to death, even death on a cross. Isn't this the maximum amount of meekness that God could show?

The Qur'an speaks of humility. In 3:159, Muhammad is praised for his humility by dealing gently with those whom could have been in rebellion to him.

 

“And by the Mercy of Allah, you dealt with them gently. And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about you” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:159]

 

Where does this value come from? If Muhammed is praised as meek then shouldn't we expect this to be an attribute of God as well? How does the Muslim God demonstrate meekness? If he doesn't then why does he praise the meekness of Mohammed? the Christian view of God includes God's accommodation to us. In Christ, he lowers himself to us.

 

As the prophet Isaiah foretold,

...he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
3He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
- Isaiah 53:2-3 ESV

and

...because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.
- Isaiah 53:12 ESV

 

He did not lower himself only enough to be a King among men but he demonstrated his maximal meekness by associating himself with those in rebellion against God and bearing their sins - us.

How does the God of Islam demonstrate his meekness?
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Steve SchlichterSteve Schlichter

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