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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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The 'strength' of meekness

From Moses to Jesus it's in power held in check

Meek means “weak,” as anyone knows. This dimension of the Spirit’s fruit embarrassed even the translators. Instead of “meekness,” they chose “gentleness” as a less offensive rendering of the Greek word prautes. The linguistic logic inspired a group that calls itself DOORMATS—“Dependent Organization of Really Meek and Timid Souls.” Its motto: “The meek shall inherit the Earth—if there are no objections.”

Divine logic, however, begs to differ. In the biblical world, the “really meek” were powerful people who tempered their strength. The Hebrew scriptures present Moses as meekness personified: “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the Earth” (Numbers 12:3, King James Version).

There’s ample biblical evidence for the meek-mannered Moses. He endured the disdain of Pharaoh, who found this stammering youth a ludicrous leader. He endured the wrath of the Israelites, who murmured against him constantly in the desert. He even endured the judgment of God, who barred him from crossing into the promised land.


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