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Sermon on the Mount: Blessed are those who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness
““Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
Matthew 5:6 NASB1995
So far in the Beatitudes at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us that the poor in spirit, those who are mourning (especially their sin), and the meek are blessed. Now He blesses those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Righteousness in this context derives from the Greek word (transliteration) dikaiosyne. This has a broad meaning of a condition acceptable to God or obtaining a state approved by God (virtue, integrity, rightness, purity of life, correctness of thinking and feeling and acting).
I have never experienced true physical hunger in my life, as pictures of me would attest; physical thirst has also been a rare occurrence for me and life-giving, clean water has always been available nearby (thank you, God). I pray I never have to suffer through physical hunger and thirst; we who have so much should always be aware that millions of people in this world ARE suffering by not having sufficient food or clean water. It’s difficult to know what the truly impoverished are experiencing, so that makes it more challenging for those of us that are physically satisfied, to know the passion that is around the basic needs of hunger and thirst.
By hungering and thirsting for righteousness, for the right conditions that are acceptable to God and that bring us closer to a state of holiness, we are only satisfied when God brings us to that final sanctified state, which is after this life. Righteousness makes us richer in spirit, gladdens our souls when we bring our sins to God, and gives us strength while keeping us gentle. We will also want true righteousness to reign in this world while building for our eternal lives. This hunger and thirst requires us to be in constant connection to God’s word and to Him in prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to bring us to that righteousness for His sake. It’s like the picture of the child in the photo I selected for this devotional: He is so hungry for the word of God that his beloved Bible is falling apart, but he persists and grows in righteousness. Turning to a favorite Bible commentator, David Guzik has this to say about this hunger and thirst:
· This passion is real, just like hunger and thirst are real.
· This passion is natural, just like hunger and thirst are natural in a healthy person.
· This passion is intense, just like hunger and thirst can be.
· This passion can be painful, just like real hunger and thirst can cause pain.
· This passion is a driving force, just like hunger and thirst can drive a man.
· This passion is a sign of health, just like hunger and thirst show health.
We are never fully satisfied by this hunger and thirst, because, like physical hunger and thirst, it must be sought after constantly in the life of the believer.
The next devotional will examine Matthew 5:7: Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Excerpts from David Guzik and his Bible commentaries on Enduring Word are done with written permission.