Blessed Are Those Who Hunger and Thirst For Righteousness
Standard;Mt 5:6 – Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
One of the great songs that we danced to in the sixties was “I Can't Get No Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones. It had a relentless chorus that went like this: I can't get no satisfaction, I can't get no satisfaction, 'cause I try and I try and I try and I try, I can't get no, I can't get no …..satisfaction.”
If one were to break the lyrics of the three verses of that song down, one would see that the Stones were not able to find satisfaction in knowledge, materialism, or sensual pleasure. One of the questions posed to us in this beatitude is what are you seeking that you think will satisfy you, apart from or in addition to Christ?
And the truth found in this beatitude is you can't get no satisfaction apart from Jesus Christ. You will never be satisfied until you taste of the righteousness of God. Until you taste of Christ and the food and meat that He brings to the table. Joh 4:34 Jesus said, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me,
Doing the will of the Father was what Jesus ate, and it's what He gives us to eat as well, and we find that food in His Word.
This then should be the food we seek.......His righteousness..
Let's start out with a paraphrase of this verse from the Greek. The Greek word for “hunger” literally means “pinching toil“ I've never looked at hunger that way, but the truth be known I have never really been this kind of hungry. Oh, I've had a little rumbly in my tumbly, but nothing like “pinching toil.”
If you've ever had your skin pinched for an extended period of time, you know how “nagging” that can be, and that's what we are talking about here,,,,a nagging impulse or hunger for righteousness, that won't go away until it is fed.
And so we can say in paraphrase, “How fortunate are those who have a nagging craving and a thirst in their soul for the right things of God, they shall be satisfied.”
This fourth beatitude very logically follows the first three.
In the first beatitude we have those who recognize their spiritual bankruptcy and who enter the kingdom of God through the spiritual richness of Christ freely given to them by grace through faith.
In the second beatitude, God opens our eyes to our sins, and we have the desire to repent, mourning over sin and desiring to turn from it.
In the third beatitude, we have the surrendering of our strength to Jesus, allowing Him to rule, and in this fourth beatitude we have an overwhelming desire to find out what His rule really means. We earnestly yearn to ingest His rules and live by them, just as someone would earnestly seek food and water if they were starving and parched.
This fourth beatitude is something that God gives to every true believer. A hungry and thirsty person doesn't have to be told that they are hungry or thirsty...they just are, and when you come to faith in Christ, you will have a yearning to experience righteousness in your life and to have others experience it in theirs.
And so it is for the believer, God has created a hunger and thirst for righteousness in their soul and they are fortunate because He promises to satisfy it.
This fourth beatitude is the God given gift of sanctification, the deep desire to be holy, to be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect. To be holy as He is holy:
Le 11:45 'For I am the LORD who brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.
God delivered you from your Egypt from your sin through faith in Jesus now seek to satisfy this God-given hunger and thirst for righteousness by setting yourself apart from the world, and doing His will. In the exodus, we have a picture of this beatitude, as we see the Israelites, completely relying on God (meek) hungering and thirsting and God supplying them with manna and water.
But are we really hungry and thirsty for righteousness? Here's a quick test. A hungry person will not ask for bread and a pair of pants. All he wants is bread. A thirsty person won't ask for a glass of water and a television set. All the hungry cares about is bread, and all the truly thirsty care about is water.
We are not really hungry if we want something in addition to Christ or if we desire to pick and choose what we will believe in Scripture.
Jesus is the bread of life, and the source of living water. He and His righteousness is all we need. We are not truly hungry and thirsty for righteousness if we ask the Father to give us Christ and __________ you fill in the blank.
Is there anything in that blank that you feel you must have in order to be fully satisfied with your life? Is it the knowledge, material goods or sensual pleasure that the Rolling Stones were looking for in their song about satisfaction?
If so then you are a member of what this past Thursday's edition of Portals of Prayer called “the restless righteous,” Those who often find themselves off track as they pursue earthly goals that never satisfy at the expense of pursuing the King of Righteousness.
It's not that we have to set these things aside, it's just that they must never become more important than the righteousness of God in our lives. God does not deny us the blessings of knowledge, material goods, or sensual pleasure. Just don't make them a higher priority than His righteousness, and keep them in line and in accordance with His word.
An example of this is found in Heb 7:1,2,6, “ For this Melchizedek, King of Salem, Priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, and to Him, Melchizedek) Abraham apportioned a tenth of everything. He is first by translation of His name, King of Righteousness.” (v6) See how great this man was to whom Abraham the patriarch gave a tenth of the spoils!”
Melchizedek was none other than the pre-incarnate Christ, the King of Righteousness, and Abraham demonstrated by tithing that righteousness was more important to him than material goods. And we read that Abraham was blessed by Melchizedek because of it. Abraham's satisfaction came from righteousness rather than material goods.
Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. God will disperse these things to you as He sees fit.
Does a nursing child have to be told that it is hungry or thirsty? Neither then should we need to be told. “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (1 Peter 2:2,3)
Those who hunger for the righteousness spelled out in the Word of God will receive what they need to grow, they will be fed!
Jer 15:16 says, “Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by Your name O Lord, God of hosts.”
You will not grow up to salvation without being fed on the Word of God!
This is an ongoing process. The word “satisfied,” from this beatitude is a synonym for foddered. Foddering is what a farmer does every single day for his animals. He feeds them, it's an ongoing process. You don't just fodder animals in a barn one time. You don't dump a lifetime of hay and silage on them in one sitting. It is a daily practice of satisfying their hunger and thirst.
This is what God promises to you and I as we hunger for more of His righteousness. He promises to satisfy us on a continual basis. You see, once you taste of His righteousness, you'll want more. The world and what it offers will no longer do.
It's like eating healthy potato chips versus kettle chips.....only God's righteousness is the ultimate in good health and good taste, and only God's righteousness will satisfy the hunger of His children. Don't accept any cheap substitutes.
“Oh taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! Oh fear the Lord, you His saints, for those who fear Him have no lack! The young lions suffer want and hunger, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.!
Is the Lord your shepherd? Then you shall not want. He causes you to lie down in green pastures where you can be foddered on His righteousness. He leads you to still waters where you can take a long drink of what is right and good. He leads you to the paths of righteousness, showing you how to live according to His righteous standards.
O how fortunate are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied.”
Listen to God's promises and believe them!
Ps 107:9 – For He satisfies the longing soul and the hungry soul He fills with good things.
Jer 31:14 – I will feast the soul of the priests with abundance and my people shall be satisfied with My goodness declares the Lord.
Now, one may rightly ask, “What is righteousness? What do I need to hunger and thirst for? The answer is, anything that God's Word deems right. And it can only be found in Christ. Therefore, hunger and thirst for Jesus. He is our righteousness. Jer 23:6 says, “And this is the name by which He will be called: The Lord is our Righteousness.
He is your righteousness and He will lead you to the paths of righteousness, which are found in His Word. Some of those paths may seem extremely difficult by the worlds standards. It may not seem easy to carry that baby to term, or that marriage to term, or your purity to term, or that forgiveness for the hurt to term, but the Good Shepherd will guide you through these difficult paths of righteousness, and if they seem so difficult that you decide not to go down them, then guess what? You aren't hungry or thirsty enough for His righteousness.
Prov 27:7 says “one who is full, loathes honey but to one who is hungry everything bitter is sweet.
Are you balking at what God deems to be right in His Word? If you were hungry enough, you wouldn't be balking. Walk even the tough roads of righteousness as Prov 12:28 says, “In the path of righteousness is life, and in it's pathway is no death.
None of this righteousness is obtainable without Jesus.
Max Lucado, in His Book about the beatitudes “The Applause of Heaven,” relates a story about a mother and child being buried under the rubble of an earthquake that claimed 55,000 lives in Soviet Armenia. Her daughter kept calling to her in the darkness, “Mommy. I'm thirsty.” But her mom had nothing to give. “Mommy I'm thirsty.”
After a while, the mother remembered a TV program about an explorer in the arctic who was dying of thirst. His comrade slashed open his hand and gave him blood to drink. And so she sliced open one of her fingers and gave it to her daughter to suck.
“Please mommy. Some more, cut another finger. The mother had no idea how many times she cut herself, she only knew that her blood was her daughters only hope. They were both rescued after 8 days.
“Our Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took the cup, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them saying, Drink of it, all of you: this cup is the New Testament in My blood, which is shed for you, and for many for the forgiveness of sins;
And as Lucado so beautifully states, “beneath the rubble of a fallen world, He pierced His hands. In the wreckage of a collapsed humanity, He ripped open His side. His children were trapped, so He gave His blood.
“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.”
This admission of being thirsty does not always come easily. False fountains pacify our cravings with sugary swallows of pleasure. But there come a time when pleasure doesn't satisfy.
Some would rather die than admit it, others admit it and escape death.
God I need help. I'm thirsty!
Not thirsty anymore for fame, possessions, passion or romance, or the knowledge, material goods, and sensual pleasure that the Stones were searching for. We've drunk from these pools...they don't quench, they kill.
I'm thirsty for Jesus and His ways! His righteousness! Now hear again the words of Jesus in this beatitude:
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.......they shall be satisfied.
Never stop hungering and thirsting for Him. Never think you can have enough righteousness. We will never have enough until He comes again.
When all is said and done about this beatitude, perhaps what we really are hungering and thirsting for is forgiveness. Because to be forgiven is to be right with God. Huinger for it, and you shall have it, and with it that desire to not offend again.