“Seek Jehovah, All You Meek Ones”
“SEEK Jehovah, all you meek ones of the earth, who have practiced His own judicial decision. Seek righteousness, seek meekness. Probably you may be concealed in the day of Jehovah’s anger.”—Zephaniah 2:3.
The prophet Zephaniah addressed those words to the “meek ones of the earth,” and he urged them to “seek meekness” in order to be protected in “the day of Jehovah’s anger.” It leaves little doubt that meekness is a prerequisite for survival. But why?
Why Seek Meekness?
Meekness is the quality of being of mild character, free from arrogance or conceit. It is closely related to other virtues, such as humility and mildness. That being so, meek persons are teachable and are willing to accept discipline from God’s hand, even though it may seem grievous for the moment.—Psalm 25:9; Hebrews 12:4-11.
In itself meekness may have little to do with one’s education or station in life. However, those who are highly educated or successful in a worldly way tend to feel that they are qualified to make decisions for themselves in everything, even in matters of worship. This can hinder them from allowing another person to teach them something or from accepting counsel and making necessary changes in their lives. Others who are materially rich may fall into the erroneous thinking that their security lies in their material possessions. Hence, they feel no need for the spiritual riches from God’s Word, the Bible.—Matthew 4:4; 5:3; 1 Timothy 6:17.
Consider the scribes, the Pharisees, and the chief priests of Jesus’ day. On one occasion when the officers they sent to arrest Jesus returned without him, the Pharisees said: “You have not been misled also, have you? Not one of the rulers or of the Pharisees has put faith in him, has he? But this crowd that does not know the Law are accursed people.” (John 7:45-49) In other words, to them, only the ignorant and uneducated would be naive enough to believe in Jesus.
Even so, some Pharisees were drawn to the truth, and they even defended Jesus and the Christians. Among these were Nicodemus and Gamaliel. (John 7:50-52; Acts 5:34-40) After Jesus’ death, “a great crowd of priests began to be obedient to the faith.” (Acts 6:7) Undoubtedly the most outstanding example was the apostle Paul. He was educated at the feet of Gamaliel and became a highly accomplished and respected advocate of Judaism. However, in time he responded humbly to Christ Jesus’ call and became his zealous follower.—Acts 22:3; 26:4, 5; Galatians 1:14-24; 1 Timothy 1:12-16.
All of this illustrates that no matter what one’s background may be or how one may now feel about the message from the Bible, the words of Zephaniah still apply. If one wants to be approved by God and be guided by his Word, meekness is indispensable.
Those Who “Seek Meekness” Today
Millions of people around the world are responding to the Kingdom good news. Jehovah’s Witnesses are conducting over four million Bible studies weekly in the homes of such people. These come from many and varied backgrounds and different economic and social circumstances. Yet, one thing they have in common is that they have enough humility to accept the Bible message that someone presented to them at their own doorstep or elsewhere. Many of them are making fine progress because they are willing to put forth the effort to overcome the obstacles in their way. Yes, they are among the “meek ones of the earth” today.
Take, for example, Maria in Mexico. She studied law at the university and was financially secure because of an inheritance. On account of this, she developed some very liberal concepts that turned her, as she put it, into a “rebellious, rude, overbearing, and atheistic” person. “I came to think that everything could be resolved with money and that God was not important. Actually, I felt he didn’t even exist,” Maria recalled. “For me the church was something ridiculous and just a social requirement,” she added.
Later, Maria noticed the changes in her cousin after he became one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. “He had been so terrible, and now he was a very peaceful and upright person,” Maria explained. “The relatives said that he was a preacher and read the Bible, and for that reason he did not drink or run after women anymore. So I wanted him to come and read the Bible to me because I thought that this way I was going to find the peace and tranquillity I wanted so much.” The result was that Maria accepted a Bible study with a Witness couple.
She had many things to overcome, and it was also very difficult for her to accept the Bible principle of headship so as to be in subjection to her husband. But she made radical changes in her life and attitude. She confessed: “I think that ever since the brothers walked through my door and brought with them Jehovah’s help, there have been happiness, tranquillity, and God’s blessing dwelling in my home.” Today, Maria is a dedicated, baptized Witness of Jehovah.
In the pursuit of true worship, there is another area in which meekness, or the lack of it, plays an important role. Very often, the wife in a family accepts the truth and wants to serve God, yet the husband holds back. Perhaps it is difficult for some husbands to accept the idea that there is someone else—Jehovah God—to whom his wife must now be subject. (1 Corinthians 11:3) A woman in Chihuahua, Mexico, asked for a Bible study, and in time she and her seven children came into the truth. At first her husband was opposed. Why? Because he did not want his family to go preaching from house to house, offering Bible literature. Apparently he felt that this was beneath his dignity. His family, however, stood firm in their decision to serve God. In time the husband began to see the value of accepting God’s arrangement. But 15 years went by before he dedicated himself to Jehovah.
Throughout Mexico, there are still many isolated communities where local residents have their native Indian languages and customs. The message of the Bible is reaching these people and is helping them to improve their cultural level, as some learn to read and write while they learn the truth. However, the fact that people have little education or few material resources does not necessarily mean that they will be more receptive. Racial pride and strong attachment to ancestral traditions at times make it difficult for some to accept the truth. This also explains why in some Indian villages, those who do accept the truth are often harassed by the other villagers. So meekness takes many forms.
Respond With Meekness
What about you personally? Are you responding to the truth of God’s Word? Or is it difficult for you to accept some Bible truths? Perhaps you would want to examine yourself to see what is hindering you. Are you disturbed because the majority of the people drawn to the truth are of humble origin? Could personal pride be involved in your thinking? It is good to reflect on the apostle Paul’s words: “God chose the foolish things of the world, that he might put the wise men to shame; and God chose the weak things of the world, that he might put the strong things to shame; and God chose the ignoble things of the world and the things looked down upon, the things that are not, that he might bring to nothing the things that are, in order that no flesh might boast in the sight of God.”—1 Corinthians 1:27-29.
Would you reject a treasure just because you found it in a humble earthen container? Of course not! Yet, that is the way God chooses to present his lifesaving Word of truth to us, as the apostle Paul explains: “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the power beyond what is normal may be God’s and not that out of ourselves.” (2 Corinthians 4:7) Meekness and humility will enable us to see the true value of the treasure and not just the “earthen vessels,” or human agencies, conveying it to us. Doing so, we will also increase the probability of our being “concealed in the day of Jehovah’s anger” and being among the meek who “will inherit the earth.”—Zephaniah 2:3; Matthew 5:5.