m is for mouth
“Seek Jehovah, all you meek ones of the earth . . . Seek meekness.”—ZEPH. 2:3.
THE Bible describes Moses as being “by far the meekest of all the men on the face of the earth.” (Num. 12:3) Does this mean that he was weak, indecisive, and afraid of confrontations? That is how some might describe a meek person. But such an idea is far from the truth. Moses was a strong, decisive, and courageous servant of God. With Jehovah’s help, he confronted the mighty ruler of Egypt, led perhaps 3,000,000 people through a desert, and helped the nation of Israel conquer their enemies.
2 We do not face the challenges that Moses overcame, but each day we must deal with people or situations that make it difficult to be meek. However, we have a powerful incentive to develop this quality. Jehovah promises that “the meek will possess the earth.” (Ps. 37:11) Would you describe yourself as being meek? Would others describe you that way? Before we can answer those important questions, we need to know what it means to be meek.
EXPRESSIONS EXPLAINED: Meekness. People who are meek are gentle when dealing with others and remain mild-tempered even when provoked. Humility. People who are humble are free of pride or arrogance; they view others as being superior to them. When referring to Jehovah, humility means that he deals with those who are inferior to him in a loving and merciful manner.
Meekness is like a beautiful painting. In what way? Just as an artist combines a number of appealing colors to produce a painting, we must combine a number of appealing qualities to be meek. Prominent among those qualities are humility, submissiveness, mildness, and inner strength. Why do we need those particular qualities if we want to please Jehovah?
4 Only humble people will submit to God’s will. Part of God’s will is that we be mild. (Matt. 5:5; Gal. 5:23) When we do God’s will, we make Satan furious. So even though we are humble and mild, many people who are part of Satan’s world hate us. (John 15:18, 19) As a result, we need inner strength to resist Satan.
The opposite of a meek person is someone who is haughty, shows uncontrolled anger, and does not obey Jehovah. That describes Satan perfectly. No wonder he hates meek people! They expose the flaws in his personality. And even worse for Satan, they prove that he is a liar. Why? Because no matter what he says or does, he cannot stop meek people from serving Jehovah!—Job 2:3-5.
It takes a LOT of inner strength to be meek, mild and humble in today’s (look at me/listen to me/do what i want immediately: cause i’m so great, right, important, angrily-aggressive) world!…
How did Moses respond when he was treated without respect?
7 When given authority: It can be a challenge for those who have authority to remain meek, especially when someone they oversee treats them disrespectfully or questions their judgment. Has that ever happened to you? What if a family member acted that way? How would you respond? Consider how Moses dealt with that situation.
8 Jehovah appointed Moses as leader of Israel and allowed him to record the laws that governed that nation. There was no doubt that Jehovah was backing Moses. Even so, Moses’ own sister and brother, Miriam and Aaron, spoke against him and questioned his judgment in choosing his wife. Some men in Moses’ position might have become angry and vengeful—but not Moses. He did not become offended easily. He even pleaded with Jehovah to end the punishment of Miriam. (Num. 12:1-13) Why did Moses react that way?
Moses had allowed himself to be trained by Jehovah. Some 40 years earlier, when he was a member of the Egyptian royal family, Moses was not meek. In fact, he had been so quick-tempered that he killed a man who he judged was acting unfairly. Moses assumed that Jehovah would agree with his actions. Jehovah spent 40 years helping Moses to understand that he needed more than courage to lead the Israelites; he needed to be meek. And to be meek, he also needed to be humble, submissive, and mild. He learned that lesson well and became an excellent overseer.—Ex. 2:11, 12; Acts 7:21-30, 36.
When treated disrespectfully, do not become easily offended. Humbly acknowledge any faults you have. (Eccl. 7:9, 20) Submissively follow Jehovah’s direction on how to handle problems. And always answer mildly. (Prov. 15:1) Family heads and overseers who respond that way please Jehovah, promote peace, and set an example of how to be meek.
Consider the example that three Hebrew exiles—Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah—set for us. The king of Babylon commanded them to bow down to a large image of gold. Mildly, they explained to the king why they would not worship the image. They remained submissive to God despite the king’s threat to burn them in a blazing furnace. Jehovah chose to save those men immediately, but they did not presume that he would do that for them. Rather, they were willing to accept whatever outcome Jehovah would permit. (Dan. 3:1, 8-28) They proved that meek people are truly courageous—no king, no threat, and no punishment can break our resolve to give Jehovah our “exclusive devotion.”—Ex. 20:4, 5.
13 When our loyalty to God is tested, how can we imitate the three Hebrews? We humbly trust that Jehovah will care for us. (Ps. 118:6, 7) We answer those who accuse us of wrongdoing in a mild, respectful manner. (1 Pet. 3:15) And we absolutely refuse to compromise our friendship with our loving Father.
When dealing with stress: All of us feel stress for a variety of reasons. We may have felt it before taking a test at school or performing a particular task at work. Or we become stressed just thinking about a medical procedure we might need. When we are under stress, it is difficult to be meek. Incidents that normally do not trouble us might begin to irritate us. Our words may become harsh and our tone cold. If you have ever felt stressed, consider the example of Jesus.
15 During the final months of his life on earth, Jesus was under intense stress. He knew that he would be executed and that he would suffer terribly. (John 3:14, 15; Gal. 3:13) Some months before his death, he said that he was distressed. (Luke 12:50) And just days before his death, Jesus said: “I am troubled.” We can sense his humility and his submissiveness to God as he poured out his feelings in prayer: “Father, save me out of this hour. Nevertheless, this is why I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” (John 12:27, 28) When the time came, Jesus courageously handed himself over to God’s enemies, who executed him in the most agonizing and humiliating way possible. Despite the stress, despite the suffering, Jesus meekly did God’s will. Without a doubt, we can say that Jesus is the most outstanding example of someone showing meekness under stress!—Read Isaiah 53:7, 10.
[excerpted readings: Seek Meekness and Please Jehovah w February 2019]