Jesus often teaches through paradox. He says unexpected things that challenge our own understanding. He turns accepted ways of thinking on their heads. And this is true of this beatitude. Just as comfort comes to those who are uncomfortable, and victory comes to those who are attacked, so the meek inherit the earth.
Meekness can be misunderstood. Meekness is not weakness: after all, Moses was described as the meekest man on earth and he was no weakling. Meekness is humility. Meek people know their place and are not pushy. They don’t throw their weight around and imagine they are the king of the castle.
Meekness is not seeing ourselves as worthless. It is not being a doormat. It is having what the Bible elsewhere calls a sober estimate of ourselves. We neither inflate our own importance or deny that we are human beings who have great dignity and value. Meek people are neither big headed or shrinking violets. We matter, but we don’t matter most. Meekness is quite compatible with assertive leadership or decisive action.
It is just that meek people know they are not the centre of the universe. They don’t force their way to the front of the queue and demand attention in order to get what they demand. True humility, or meekness, results in our enjoying God’s favour now and always. It is another way of saying the last will be first.