The Beatitudes: Hunger and Thirst

The Beatitudes:  Hunger and Thirst

In Psalm 42:1 we find these words, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God.”  A deer “pants for water” because it is thirsty.  It is thirsty because it is running from something and hasn’t had a moment to stop and drink.  It is desperate. The Psalmist felt the same way but not about water. He had a deeply rooted, desperate desire for God.  A desire that was so strong that it hurt.

That is what Jesus was talking about when He said in Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”  The “hunger and thirst” that Jesus referred to is when you become so desperate for righteousness in your life that your inward parts are crying out for relief.

King Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 3:11 that God “has put eternity into man's heart”.  He has put a longing within us for Himself and His righteousness.  But instead of filling it with righteousness, man often tries to fill that eternal spot with anything and everything else.  We try to fill it with careers, relationships, false religions, entertainment, and material things like cars, boats, jewelry, and homes.  The end result is that we end up empty; hungering and thirsting for something that only God can fill.  But if we turn that hunger and thirst toward God, Jesus promised us that we would find contentment, peace, and satisfaction.

What is this righteousness that Jesus is speaking of?  When we look further into His sermon, we read that Jesus began teaching about the law (Matthew 5:17-20).  For the Jew, the law was righteousness and following the law to the letter was how you obtained righteousness.  But they found that it was impossible to perfectly follow the law.  So the religious leaders (Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes) developed a set of rules to ensure that you could perfectly obey the laws of God and thus obtain righteousness.  They taught the people that if they would follow their rules, then you could perfectly obey the law.  The Pharisees had created an undue and unfair burden upon themselves and their people. But Jesus was showing them a different way.  He told them that He had come to “fulfill” the law.

Jesus was saying that the righteousness that they were seeking to have through the law could be found in Him, not by replacing the law but by fulfilling everything that the law requires.

Jesus wasn’t telling us to disregard the law.  What He was stating was that you don’t need a bunch of rules to help you, only faith in Him.  That is why Jesus went on to expand His teaching in the verses that follow by pointing out just how deep-seated sin is within us. He showed us that no matter how many rules that we try to follow to fulfill the requirements of the law, we simply can’t do it or even hope to do it.  We can’t hope to do it because our sinfulness isn’t an outward action but an inward desire that manifests itself outwardly (Matthew 5:21-48).  

Jesus fulfilled the law and all of its requirements down to the smallest jot and tittle.  He wasn’t telling us that the law of God doesn’t apply.  He was telling us that when (not “if”) we break His law, we will find grace, mercy and forgiveness if we are willing to come to Him with a deep desperation like a deer panting for water.

These are your Words for Wednesday.

Please be in prayer for our next outreach, the Virtual Egg Hunt, on Sunday afternoon March 24. Have a great rest of your week!

In Christ,

Kevin

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