Summary: What is it to really want it, that right relationship with God? To hunger and thirst after it, what are teh consequences of attaining it?
A driven life: Matthew 5:6
Jesus, God’s righteousness revealed,
The Son of Man, the Son of God,
His Kingdom come.
Jesus, redemption’s sacrifice,
Now glorified, now testified
His Kingdom come (http://www.stlyrics.com/songs/a/australiahillsongs8787/thiskingdom492891.html. Sighted 31/08/2011)
In Jesus we have a depiction of what a right relationship with God the Father looks like, in Jesus we have the very portrayal of righteousness, do you hunger and thirst to be like Jesus.
This series of sermons about the beatitudes, which Jesus talks about at the start of his sermon on the mount is taking a look at what beatitudes are about, funny word beatitudes, some seem to think that they are what our attitudes should be. Funnily enough though, beatitude describes a blessing, the word comes from the Latin for the word for blessing which is beatus.
These blessing come from being or doing something; if someone is or does something then they will receive a blessing, the beatitudes work on an if-then logic!
The blessing that we are going to look at today is the first of two blessings that arise for those who do something, it’s interesting that salvation does not come through works, it comes through faith, which for some implies that once they have salvation that’s all cool they can just get on with life however they want life.
As James, Jesus brother put it, “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such a faith save him?” The implied answer to this question is no it can’t!
But wait I’ve jumped ahead of myself; back to this blessing and actually I’m addressing two beatitudes today but look at one to start, what is it that Jesus says? ”Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matthew 5:6)
Now straight up I can say that there are no times when I’ve been truly hungry, I can remember a time when I was in a bike race series and was running on empty and the desire to eat something so that I could just ride my bike to the top of the hill so that I could get down to the finish line was pretty strong. But even then I wasn’t truly hungry, I had hit the wall.
Thirst is another thing there’s been times when I’ve got dehydrated, really thirsty, and the relief of having something to drink has been really good, really soothing, because that thirst is what drove me to get to the source of the drink, that mountain stream, that tap, that ice cold L&P in the fridge. Hunger and thirst are really horrible things, but also a real driving force, something that keeps you going, compelling you to find that one thing that will just take away the stress that comes from them.
Now this gets me a bit wound up that Jesus used these words hunger and thirst, you may have seen recently the people of the Horn of Africa who are undergoing a lengthy drought, years of drought, these people are now refuges, they have travelled for days, I can think of reports where they have walked six days to get to a safe place with a supply of food and water, sometimes loosing loved ones along the way. This from Andrew Wander of Save the Children, "The people that are arriving are absolutely desperate," he said. "They haven’t eaten for weeks; they’ve been travelling for a long, long time in very difficult situations."
That is compelling hunger, that is desperate thirst!
So while this is not the prettiest of illustrations it points to the lengths that people go to when they hunger and thirst.
Back to hungering and thirsting for righteousness, the word righteousness in this case is from the Greek; “what is right, justice, the act of being in agreement with God’s standards, the state of being in a proper relationship with God.”
I would like to start with the last part of that explanation and work backwards;
1) This right relationship with God, what does that look like? Now I’m not going to fully answer this question in a single bound, but I would hazard a guess that we know when we are in it and when we are not. Part of that would be are we living in his will for our lives, that first commandment: That greatest commandment; “Love the lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30)
Now I would pick that if we are doing this we are pretty much in that right place in our relationship with God.
The interesting thing with this is that this is no throw away statement, I would say that this can be a really hard thing to achieve, there’s those things that get in the way, the things that stop us from putting God first because that is what Jesus is saying here, that, all your heart and soul, mind and strength stuff, he’s saying God comes first, even before work and family, property, holiday.