All of Psalm 37 is amazing, but I’ll narrow my focus on a few verses toward the latter half:
I have been young, and now am old,
yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
or his children begging for bread.
He is ever lending generously,
and his children become a blessing.
Turn away from evil and do good;
so shall you dwell forever.
For the Lord loves justice;
he will not forsake his saints.
They are preserved forever,
but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
The righteous shall inherit the land
and dwell upon it forever.
This is not some past dispensation. Jesus appealed to this text in the sermon on the Mount:
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
And, just to be clear, Jesus is not changing “righteous” to “meek.” That was already the OT meaning. In fact, that is the meaning established earlier in Psalm 37:
Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
For the evildoers shall be cut off,
but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land.
In just a little while, the wicked will be no more;
though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.
But the meek shall inherit the land
and delight themselves in abundant peace.
So two questions:
1. How is it Christian to claim that the meek won’t inherit the earth?
2. How is it right or just to portray confidence in Jesus’ promise that the meek will inherit the earth as a form of “triumphalism”?
One tactic has been to claim that the “earth” the meek will inherit is not this earth but a future replacement planet. That rips the word out of Matthew’s context. Matthew show Jesus preaching that the meek will inherit the earth, meekly submitting to death, and then inheriting this earth in the climax of Matthew’s Gospel:
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
It is this earth that the meek get, parceled out by the earth’s new king.