Blessed are Those Who Hunger and Thirst

by Richard Mansel, managing editor
breadwater2.jpg“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6, NKJV).
The physical and the spiritual once again do battle. The former finds this nonsensical, while the latter finds it stimulating and rich. Hunger has no merit physically and is never desirable as a lifestyle.
Millions face it every day and we mourn for their struggles. However, spiritual hunger, as an epidemic, eclipses the physical hunger around the world.
Spiritually, we need to understand the wealth contained in this beatitude. However, we must be careful and precise in our use of this verse.
“We are not to hunger and thirst after blessedness; we are not to hunger and thirst after happiness….According to the Scriptures happiness is never something that should be sought directly; it is always something that results from seeking something else.”/1
In fact if we “Put happiness in the place of righteousness [we] will never get it.”/2 Man pursues happiness with all of his energy. Yet, the bottle, medicine cabinet, wallet and embrace are hollow calories.
Our appetite should focus exclusively on righteousness, when we understand and accept God’s mission for our lives (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Romans 12:1-2). Sins and weaknesses are enemies of this pursuit.
We must realize our desperate need for God and that we cannot have salvation without Christ and his blood. “The desire for righteousness, the act of hungering and thirsting for it, means ultimately the desire to be free from sin in all its forms and in its every manifestation.”/3
We must desire righteousness like nothing else on earth.
“Jesus challenges our real desire for goodness: ‘Are you so immensely and sharply pained by your need of true righteousness that you would die unless you get it? Just how badly do you want to be righteous?'”/4
If we vigorously pursue righteousness, we shall find satisfaction. Filled means, “Complete satisfaction of spiritual hunger.”/5 We will have no need to wander after other restaurants.
1/ D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies on the Sermon on the Mount (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1976), 75.
2/ Lloyd-Jones, 75.
3/ Lloyd-Jones, 77.
4/ Fowler, 215.
5/ 1/ Marvin Vincent, Vincent’s Word Meanings in the New Testament (Peabody: Hendrickson, n.d.), 1:38.

One thought on “Blessed are Those Who Hunger and Thirst

  1. Great point but had to do. “not to seek happiness”. That is the one thing that everyone desires. Your article helps to refocus. Thanks

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