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The Mourning and Meek

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Review of the Beautitudes contrasted with the Ten Commandments, establishing a new covenant in people’s hearts based not on obedience but obedience based on changed hearts that are therefore blessed.
Poor in spirit. The beatitudes paint a picture of someone with a lowly disposition; humble, quiet, hurt, and recognizing difficult truths about themselves.
Mourning and meekness, two signs of vulnerability and weakness in this world that signal the strength and blessing of God.
In the Kingdom of Heaven, mourning and meekness both reflect the truth that we have been saved and raised up by grace alone, and immitate the way in which Christ lived his life as an example for us to follow. If he lives in us, as Paul said “it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me,” than our manner of live will be marked by mourning and meekness.

The Mourning Shall be Comforted

The seeming contradiction of the sad being blessed (happy as a result of God’s favour). This paradox is solved by the reason Jesus gives, “for they shall be comforted.”
This still begs the question, why is it blessed to be sad and than comforted? Wouldn’t it be better to never be sad?
The answer, those who do not mourn must have a future so bleak that it would be better to be miserable now and comforted later.
Just like poverty in verse 3, this isn’t a broad blessing on all those who are sad, upset, and miserable. Just as there are many who are poor in the flesh but not poor in spirit, there are many who mourn over loss and pain in this life without mourning in a way that brings eternal comfort. So what kind of mourning and sadness is Jesus talking about?
Mourning of which God approves
Mourning for our sinful nature (Isaiah 6:5, a man of unclean lips in the midst of a people of unclean lips).
Mourning for specific sins Ps 51:1-2
Psalm 51:1–2 ESV
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!
Mourning our hardness of heart James 4:8-10
James 4:8–10 ESV
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
Mourning the sins of others and the effects of their sin, especially when they refuse to repent
2 Corinthians 12:21 ESV
I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality that they have practiced.
Daniel 9:5 (ESV)
we (that is, Israel in general) have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules.
Jeremiah 4:14 ESV
O Jerusalem, wash your heart from evil, that you may be saved. How long shall your wicked thoughts lodge within you?
Mourning for and with those who experience hardship or injustice
James 1:27 ESV
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
In short, godly mourning is almost always due to sin or the effects of sin, specifically how sin affects our relationship with God and is responsible for the curse and brings God’s wrath upon us. When we mourn for ourselves, we are to mourn for the remaining sinin our hearts. Like the tax collector who cries, “Be merciful to me, a sinner,” we see our sin before God and it causes us to mourn because we know how serious an offense it is.
However, there is an ungodly way to mourn for sin. In 2 Corinthians 7, Paul makes a distinction between worldly sorrow and godly sorrow. We would do well to heed the worldly sorrow of Esau, who sold his birthright, a place in the presence of God and the inheritance of his covenant, for worldly gain, in his case some stew, and had no sorrow over it. His sorrow only came when he felt the effects of his faithlessness and sin.
Hebrews 12:17 ESV
For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.
These tears were not tears of faith that had seen the reality of his sin before a holy God, they were tears of regret that he would not get to be head of the tribe his grandfather had founded and would not get the worldly wealth and blessing that it would entail. So we must be careful to not put all mourning related to sin into the category that Jesus is talking about. In short, godly mourning, weeping, and sadness has these characteristics:
It is mourning that is God-focused.
It is a mourning that leaves you humbled under the truth of the Word of God.
It is a mourning that does not continue forever, but is open to the biblical comfort which is given by Christ through his Spirit.
It is a mourning that bears the fruit of a changed life.
Ecclesiastes 7:2 ESV
It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.

The Meek Ruling the Earth

What does it mean to be meek?
Meekness is the opposite of aggression, assertion, willfulnes, self-confidence, and ambitious.
A meek person is not someone who trusts in their own strength and ability, but rather has a lower view of their ability. This does not mean they feel upset or sorry for themselves, on the contrary they are eager to see others succeed and become great rather than bewailing their own lack of success.
They are not jealous, but content with their own place and position. They do not seek power for the sake of having power, but are happy to be reguarded in a lowly manner and when they do have power, to use it for the benifit of those around and under them. They will always serve the greater good rather than their own personal good.
What does our Lord say about the meek that should make us think of them as blessed? That they will inherit the earth. This is not a new concept in Scripture, but is rather a paraphrase of
Psalm 37:11 ESV
But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.
Now if one thinks about this in a worldly sense, it is utterly backwards. Meek people do not inherit anything. Imagine a member of a wealthy family dies and their will is questionable and vague. Who is going to end up with the inheritance, the agreeable and peacable members or the fighters of the family? Is a country likely to a win a war if they engage with passivity? It’s been logistically proven that people who are less agreeable and more ambitious get paid more in general. The most self-promoting polititians are those who win elections, not the meek and reserved. So how is this true in the Kingdom of Heaven?
It was this very truth that Jesus would later expound on in
Matthew 20:25–28 ESV
But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
As we saw last week that those who are poor in spirit inherit the Kingdom of heaven, so those who are meek will inherit the earth. This is the ironic seemingly backwards nature of the Kingdom that makes it better than any human institution and any government, kingdom, or authority system we could hope to have here.
One of the reasons that Christians should not make it their goal to create a legal Christian society in this world is because we realize this. With out human nature, the power of that society is always going to go to those who abuse it. Seeing this truth, Plato believed that all democracy eventually ends in tyranny because those who win the rat race of electoral favour are those with the ambitions of a tyrant. Whether he was correct on his conlcusion, he certainly was in his presupposition. A human society will never put forward the meek to lead except by some extraordinary providential act of God.


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