Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Beauty of Meekness (Meekness, Part 3)

The bell had rung, but my eighth grade mind was still focused on the pages of the science text I had just read.  Describing a realm outside of time as we know it.  Far into space.  Where time doesn't exist. 
Astronomy has always fascinated me.  Just last week, my husband and I attended a planetarium show where I was again awestruck at the enormity of our universe and the amazing truth that God, who formed the world, “made the stars also” (Gen. 1:16).  Incredibly, this God who spoke the cosmos into existence and “hangeth the earth upon nothing” (Job 26:7) cares for me! 
His care reaches down and touches individuals.  People.  Formed in His image.  Placed on a specially designed planet that sustains life but was marred by humans, who brought sin into the world.  And yet this God sent a Redeemer, His Son.  And all who receive Him enter into a special relationship with this amazing Creator.  I was just a young girl of about four years old when I became God's child, when God gave me the gift of His Holy Spirit.  Psalm 149:4 states, “[The LORD] will beautify the meek with salvation.”  Specks of dust on a sin-cursed planet, slaves shackled in a miserable prison of transgression—as such, God offers us the gift of salvation!
The word salvation, said here to beautify the meek, often refers to God’s help.  As a believer today, I can rejoice that every part of my life can spell victory...for the meekness God gave me at salvation is very real for every spiritual conflict I will encounter today.  Exodus 15:2 declares:  "The LORD is my . . . salvation."  This meekness from God is a special gift.  I received the Holy Spirit at salvation, and one of His fruits in my life is meekness (Gal. 5:22).  Today.  Tomorrow.  And into the future.  Charles Spurgeon says it this way:  “[God] makes his people meek, and then makes the meek beautiful” (Treasury of David on Psalm 149:4).  Completely undeserved and entirely unnatural, this meekness is available to me.  And I enter its realm as I yield to God's Spirit in my daily life.  An interrupted schedule.  An unexpected difficulty.  A relationship that needs divine enablement.  For every part of my life, I can experience meekness from my God.  
Meekness is that heart attitude which meets the gracious drawing of our God.  It says "yes" when His Spirit convicts.  It responds to God's Word.  It obeys what it knows to do.  While pride resists Him, meekness responds to His call.  In those weeks prior to my conversion as a young child, God’s grace had reached out to prick my will by His Word.  I would lie in bed at night on those cold November evenings, pondering the meaning of salvation.  To get my questions answered, I would descend the stairs in our old farm house to visit my dad in his office.  God continued drawing me to Himself, and His Spirit illuminated my heart through His Word.  I was a sinner, destined for Hell, I learned.  I needed God's deliverance from my sin.  God would save me if I, in faith, responded to His call. 
Meekness is an absolute necessity for a heart responding to God.  And yet to in any way attribute this meek response as goodness originating in us would be flawed thinking, for this meekness springs from God alone.  In our flesh dwells no good thing.  Only through God’s grace do we respond to His truth.  I praise God for parents who both sought to raise their children in the fear of God, but I needed to reach out with the hand of faith (which comes by the Word of God) to take God’s gift of salvation.  That meek response, completely a manifestation of the grace of God in my life, beautified me with deliverance from sin—eternal salvation.
Bowing or crouching down—these visual images depict meekness and are linked etymologically to the word.  At salvation, I received a new heart.  I received the meekness of God's Spirit.  And yet, Galatians 5:17 reminds that "the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh:  and these are contrary the one to the other:  so that ye cannot do the things that ye would."  Only God can make my spirit, which is bent on asserting or exalting itself, which is too often proud and selfish, become a spirit that bows or crouches down, diminishing itself and exalting God instead.
Notice the first six verses of Psalm 149:  
“Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints. Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp. For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation. Let the saints be joyful in glory:  let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in their hand.”
Sing!  Rejoice!  Be joyful in God!  Praise God!  This text is marked by such commands, and at salvation, new believers characteristically respond with praise.  Why praise God?  Verse four provides two reasons:  1) the Almighty takes pleasure in His people and 2) He will beautify the meek with salvation.  Is it not amazing that the God of the universe, who created all things, should take pleasure in me?  How could I gain such entrance into His presence?  How is it possible that I should be something in which He delights?
God takes pleasure in me—not because of who I am but in spite of who I am.  Not because of what I do but because of what His Son has done.  That God should delight in me, that I am one in whom He, the magnificent Creator, should delight, is truly astonishing! 
Would I ever fail to spend time with my Lord if I focused upon this truth—that He takes pleasure in me?  That no failure of mine can separate me from His delight?  Would I ever hide from His presence when tired or weak if I embraced this reality—that He is delighted with me?  Not only does He delight in me, but He longs to make me beautiful.  
What astounding truths about our God!  No wonder David is exclaiming—rejoice!  Praise!  Sing!  God both delights in me and clothes me with His beautiful spirit of meekness.  I don't need to respond to anyone with a “like-treats-like” mentality.  I can rejoice in God continually.  I can meditate on His truth frequently.  I can live obediently.
My mouth becomes a fountainhead of God’s praise when I consider that my Lord finds me!  My actions reflect God's Word as I view this sharp, two-edged sword as my clear offensive weapon against the prowling enemy threatening to reek havoc upon my soul. With God’s praise on my lips and God’s sword in my hand, I find two clear offensive strategies against the enemy.  These spell victory.  Defeat vanquished.  Christ exalted.  Continually I can enter the realm of deliverance [salvation] from every enemy of my faith, for “the LORD lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground” (Psalm 147:6).  Fighting for me in this battle is my God. 
This beauty of meekness, given me entirely by the Almighty God, entered into at the moment of salvation, is made real by responding daily to God’s Word in meekness, which is only possible as I yield to the promptings of God's Spirit each day, each moment, in every situation. 
Proactively, then, praise God.  Joyfully, exalt Him.  God beautifies the meek with His divine help.  Resisting the proud, He gives grace to the humble (James 4:6).  He delivers. He sends new meekness as we depend upon Him.  While we can do nothing without Him (John 15:5), we can do all things through Christ Who strengthens [us] (Phil. 4:13). 
Meekness is that sense of helplessness which realizes that without Christ, we stand completely deficient.  This fruit of the Spirit is a gift from the God Who delights in meeting our needs, in beautifying us with His deliverance!  Oh, let us live in the presence of this beautifying Savior and receive of His meekness today! 

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