Inherit the Land! (Matthew 5:5; Psalm 37)

“Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5; all Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible).

“Commit your way to the LORD,
 Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light
 And your judgment as the noonday.
Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him;
 Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
 Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.
Cease from anger and forsake wrath;
 Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.
For evildoers will be cut off,
 But those who wait for the LORD, they will inherit the land.
Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more;
 And you will look carefully for his place and he will not be there.
But the humble will inherit the land
 And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity” (Psalms 37:5-11).

Hoshvilim, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

A previous post reflected on Jesus’ statement, “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.” Many Bible translations use the word “meek” instead of gentle. Like most of His Beatitudes, it is a familiar statement. Christians and non-Christians alike recognize it, sometimes paraphrasing it as “the meek shall inherit the earth.”

The wording probably jumped out at Jesus’ first hearers as well. Jesus paraphrased Psalm 37:11—“The humble shall inherit the land.” The psalmist repeatedly says that certain people will inherit the land. In addition to the humble (meek or gentle): those who wait for the Lord (Psalm 37:9); those blessed by the Lord (verse 22); and the righteous (verse 29). An invitation to all who desire to receive the blessing appears late in the Psalm:

“Wait for the LORD and keep His way,
 And He will exalt you to inherit the land;
 When the wicked are cut off, you will see it” (Psalm 37:34, emphasis added).

Yes, YOU can inherit the land! Act now!

The land was important to the Israelites. It was an essential element of God’s covenant with His people. God promised Abraham that He would give him the land. He sent Moses to lead His people out of Egypt into the land. When they rebelled against Him, He chastised them by exiling them away from the land. The land was more than a place to live and harvest crops. According to Bible scholar Walter C. Kaiser, the land was one of the four main blessings contained in God’s “promise,” which is central to the teaching of the entire Old Testament [Walter C. Kaiser, Toward an Old Testament Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1978)].

Many Bible scholars like Kaiser point out that the Old Testament’s emphasis on the land prefigures the New Testament’s emphasis on the kingdom of God, especially the assurance of eternal life in heaven for the redeemed. Regarding Abraham’s willingness to journey to the land that God had promised him, the author of Hebrews writes:

“For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them” (Hebrews 11:14-16, emphasis added).

Abraham and other Old Testament saints did not receive a full or permanent promise, because “God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect” (Hebrews 11:40). The promise of land would find its fulfillment in the New Covenant promises.

The New Testament speaks of our eternal blessings as an inheritance (see Romans 8:17, 1 Peter 1:4, Colossians 1:12, etc.).

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away….’ He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son” (Revelation 21:1-4, 7).

Those whom the Lord has blessed receive a far greater reward than a place to build a house. The land and earth we inherit represent a home where we will dwell forever with Christ. Let us humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord so that He will exalt us and give us our share in the eternal inheritance (James 4:10).

Heavenly Father, show us how to be meek like Your Son Jesus, so we can live in Your blessing and inherit the earth. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

What does “meekness” or “gentleness” mean to you? What do you think about the earth or land that Christ promises us? Share your thoughts, experiences, or suggestions by clicking the “Leave a comment” link below.

Copyright © 2022 Michael E. Lynch. All rights reserved.

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