Word on Wednesday – by John Mason
‘Inheritance’… August 12, 2015
How often have you wondered about the issue of justice? We hear of the lies and deceit, the corruption and theft in every aspect of life, from the unknown hi-tech hacker to the corridors of power. Occasionally I hear of instances where self-promoting, amoral individuals have claimed a significant discovery or major breakthrough at work as their own, when in fact it was someone else’s work. The deceiver has won the accolades, the prizes and the promotion, while the true discoverer or creator of the idea remains unknown. Where is the justice?
If we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ we might be tempted to ask, ‘Where is God?’ Indeed, in these and so many instances in life we are tempted to doubt Jesus’ beatitude: “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). Jesus’ words here echo those of King David in Psalm 37:11: But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace. In fact, Psalm 37 provides a wonderful starting point for understanding Jesus’ words.
Fret not yourself or, ‘Don’t get heated’ because of wrongdoers, is a repeated exhortation in the opening section of the Psalm. And, anticipating our unspoken response, ‘That’s easy to say’, the Psalm sets out reasons why: the evil-doers will fade like the grass; …like smoke they vanish away (Psalm 37:2, 20). What is more, we can be sure that God will act (verses 4, 5).
Psalm 37 is full of wise counsel about the way we live now. We need to focus our life on the Lord, taking delight in him, even in tough times – as Paul and Silas did when they were imprisoned in Philippi (Acts 16:25). We need to entrust any success we have to the Lord, knowing that he will vindicate us at the right time (Psalm 37:3-6). Furthermore, we are to be proactive in doing good, refusing to allow ourselves to become angry and bitter (Psalm 37:3, 8). God has promised, and Jesus has taken that promise to a higher level: the meek will not just inherit the land (Psalm 37:11), they will inherit the earth.
How then, in the light of Jesus’ promise, should we view the injustices, the sufferings and troubles we and others face? One way to look at them is this: God doesn’t want us to become too settled about this life and therefore complacent about his far bigger plan for his people.
Life now. It is easy for us, especially in our materially well-off western world, to build homes and lives that are so comfortable, we lose sight of things eternal. It is also true that when our lives are focused on what we want, we lose sight of our responsibilities to the needy and the hungry, the exploited and the enslaved, as well as the spiritually poor around us.
God’s plan is not to give us our inheritance now, but when the new heaven and the new earth are revealed. Jesus’ words that ‘the meek shall inherit the earth’ (Matthew 5:5) reveal the hollowness and short-sightedness of the philosophical materialism of today. Indeed, in the light of Psalm 37 his words provide us with theological and psychological wisdom, because they stir us to turn away from a life of self-absorption, to a life that has purpose, intent on serving the Lord in doing good – not just for people we are comfortable with, but even for our enemies.
In all, we see that the truly meek person trusts God in all circumstances in life. In Christ they already see themselves, as Paul the Apostle says, as possessing everything (2 Corinthians 6:10; 1 Corinthians 3:21-23). To paraphrase DA Carson, ‘Having this eternal perspective in view they can afford to be meek. Fifty billion trillion years into eternity (if we can speak of eternity in terms of time), God’s people will still be rejoicing that this beatitude is literally true. In the new heaven and the new earth, we will be grateful that by grace we learned to be meek during our initial threescore years and ten,’ or however many years the Lord gives us.
© John G. Mason – www.anglicanconnection.com