Blessed are the ones who hunger and thirst for righteousness, because they shall be filled.
The Ones Who Hunger and Thirst
Hunger and thirst. Strong words. Often I find myself standing in front of an open refrigerator door thinking “I’m hungry.” The truth is, I am only bored. Hunger and thirst are two of the strongest longings a human being can experience. Yet we actually have little experience of them. Quite the opposite from the people in Jesus’ first century audience who would have been keenly familiar with both.
And Jesus tied them to righteousness—hungering and thirsting for righteousness. What is righteousness? We tend to think of righteousness as correct behavior, toeing the line, staying within the boundaries, keeping the rules, flawless performance according to some standard of excellence. But the word has a simpler and more profound meaning.
The Way God Created Things to Be
Basically, righteousness is the condition of things being the way God intended them to be, the way God created things to be. In the Greco-Roman world, when a craftsman was working on a piece of silver or gold shaping it into the image of some model, he would constantly compare his piece to the model on hand. When the features of the piece he was working on corresponded to the model, he would declare it righteous.
To hunger and thirst for righteousness is to hunger and thirst for your life and your world to begin to reflect God’s purpose for your life and your world. It is to want what God wants. Jesus taught us to pray “thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” It is to say “nothing less than God’s desire for my life and my world will ever satisfy me! I will not be fooled by this world’s junk food. I will not settle for half-measures.”
God’s Way Satisfies
Meekness is surrender. But in the plan of Jesus, it is not a surrender that gives up, rather, it is a surrender that is filled with a longing that only God at work in our lives and in our world will ever satisfy. And His promise is that He will!
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the sixth post in a series exploring the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-12. Read the last post on “The Beatitudes: The Meek.”
The series is based on Dr. Bill Fowler’s Gilhousen Lecture given July 14, 2020 at YTI. Watch the entire lecture on Facebook here.