The Beatitudes: 4. Hunger

The Beatitudes: 4. Hunger

The Beatitudes: 4. Hunger.

Please read Matthew 5:3-10.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6).

You will enjoy full satisfaction when you starve for a more righteous character like a desert pilgrim in a desperate search for food and water. Congratulations! When you have an appetite for righteousness, God won’t let you go hungry for long, and you will then be ready for a delicious meal of holiness.

The Message‘s version of this Beatitude is “You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God.” When we hunger and thirst for God and His righteousness, we are never satisfied with the current spiritual state. We continue to have an emptiness and we want more. We want to go deeper with God, we want to reflect His righteousness more completely. We ache for more of His presence in our lives.

To search for a human righteousness apart from God, though, is merely an urge to follow an excellent ethical system, a moral program. Every society needs such a system for survival’s sake, but that’s not good enough at a personal level. That Godless pursuit of goodness will get us nowhere in terms of satisfying our spiritual hunger. Social justice indeed reflects a desire of God’s, but it is not an end in itself. Goodness is necessary in society, but it doesn’t transform your heart or save your soul.

The personal presence of God begins to transform the heart, the beginning point of deep, permanent righteousness. Every person has a strain of sin in the heart, the potential for evil. A veneer of goodness looks righteous, but without God’s transforming power the heart is not changed. Society depends on morality, and salvation depends on God. Seeking God and His righteousness with all-consuming focus, starving for His presence, opens the door to a feast of the heart. Hungering and thirsting for God’s goodness and justice is like inviting yourself to God’s table, where you will surely be satisfied.

This Beatitude implies a lifestyle of nurturing a constant hunger for God, and a desire to be in right standing with God. It’s all about a single-minded passion for His presence and transforming power. Hungering and thirsting means we maintain a daily appetite that will not be satisfied until we eat the Bread of Life (John 6) and drink from the everlasting flow of Living Water (John 4). When we hunger and thirst for God and His righteousness, we are sitting down at the Lord’s table, with God providing our spiritual food.

In our daily hunger we are also anticipating our ultimate Feast, the Messianic Banquet (Isaiah 25), the Wedding Supper of the Lamb and His Church (Revelation 19). This future meal will be like no other, a soul-satisfying four-star dinner. Stuffed with food from heaven, we will finally enjoy being filled with goodness and light.

We are to be envied when we suffer hunger pangs for God, when we ache for goodness. This hunger is destined to be satisfied, both daily and eternally.

“Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.”  (Ps. 81:10).

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.” (Isaiah 55:1-2).

“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:31-33).

“With righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.” (Isaiah 11:4-5).

“Whoever heard me spoke well of me, and those who saw me commended me. Because I rescued the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless who had none to assist him. The man who was dying blessed me, I made the widow’s heart sing. I put on righteousness as my clothing; justice was my robe and my turban. I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame. I was a father to the needy; I took up the case of the stranger.” (Job 29:11-16).

“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8).