Meekness in the Crucible. If we accept our difficult situations in humility and meekness, do we lose the opportunity to change the world and make it a better place for human habitation?
- Meek or aggressive? In the Hebrew Old Testament, the word translated “meek” can also mean afflicted, oppressed, or devout. Thus that verse describing Moses as being the meekest man on earth (Num 12:3) could perhaps more honestly be translated to say that Moses was the most “afflicted” man on earth. In English, however, the word meek generally refers to the endurance of pain or injury with patience and without resentment. How does the Christian determine when to accept one’s situation in meekness and when to respond with godly aggression? In a lesson on meekness, for example, is it appropriate to cite this quotation from Ellen White?
“You are in need of vital energy from heaven. We must in our work not only strike the iron when it is hot but make the iron hot by striking. Slow, easy, indolent movements will do nothing for us in this work. We must be instant in season, out of season. These are critical times for work. By hesitation and delay we lose many good opportunities. . . .
That which stands most in the way of your performing duty is irresolution, weakness of purpose, indecision. May God help you to gird the armor on, and do your Master”s work.” – Letter 13, 1886 (Evangelism 647)
- Evaluate the role of meekness in each of the following situations:
- Ezekiel 24:15-27: Ezekiel’s bereavement. Given the high proportion of laments in our book of Psalms, laments that would seem to justify the outpouring of human grief in time of crisis, is this command to Ezekiel not to lament the death of his wife a one-time anomaly that would apply to a prophet, but not to ordinary people?
- Exodus 32:1-14: Moses and the golden calf. Given the way Moses reacted to God and to the people at the time of the Sinai rebellion, how does the word “meek” fit in the story of the golden calf?
- Matthew 5:43-48: Love your enemies. To allow one’s anger against an enemy to grow and fester can be deadly. But what about when others are being abused and mistreated? Is it God’s will that we rise up in active defense of those who are being abused?
- 1 Peter 2:18-25: Obedient slaves. If all slaves had always been obedient as Peter counsels in his epistle, there would still be slaves today. When is it appropriate for an employee (slave?) to confront an unfair or manipulative boss? How can the world be changed if the reform advocates only relate to force passively?
- Psalm 62:1-8: Lament and trust. Psalm 62 admits that there is trouble in the world, but the psalmist affirms hope while still registering his complaint. Is it appropriate for Jesus’ followers to affirm their trust in God while telling him their complaints?