Summary: Fourth in my Being the Believing series through the Beatitudes
A Healthy Hunger!
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied."
There are a few issues we need to address with this text, the first being the language in the words hunger and thirst. An interpretation that more accurately reflects the original meaning would read this verse like "Blessed are those who are hungering and thirsting for righteousness." This text is not speaking of a one-time event or a past occurrence, something that happened to be gotten over, but a constant longing, a deep insatiable continuous craving for righteousness.
Many folks in this building will never experience what it is like to really hunger and thirst, we are too busy struggling with the decision of whether or not we should supersize our next meal.
In 1987 I got such a sense of hunger and thirst. I was stationed on the Unites States Coast Guard Cutter Sweetbrier out of Cordova Alaska. The scope of duty for this ship and her crew was to provide search and rescue, aids to navigation, law enforcement patrols and international intervention. Since our missions were carried out in the Prince William Sound and the Bearing Sea, we all had to go through the Cold Water Survival School, which included a few days on an uninhabited island. We were dropped of a couple of hundred yards off the beach in our leaking ¡§water proof¡¨ Gumby suits and were required to swim to shore, establish a camp in our groups of four, get dry, build a shelter, conduct a perimeter search, compile resources and survive for a few days. We found out later that some groups smuggled cans of tuna, lighters, and tobacco. Our group followed the rules to the tee and we had nothing but wet clothes that became stiff as boards during the night. Toward the end of this training, I drank water from my rung out socks, and ate the rotten flesh off a washed up dead fish. I can tell you that I was really hungering and thirsting and had gotten to the point that my entire focus was on finding something to eat and drink and nothing else mattered.
THAT is the theme of this text. Jesus wants to get us to the point that we are hungering and thirsting to the degree that it is all we think about, He is all we think about. Having a deep insatiable continuous craving for righteousness
So, what are we to hunger and thirst for? Righteousness! What is righteousness? Well, it¡¦s really not that simple. In fact, scholars have debated this question as it pertains to this text for years. Some think this is speaking of:
1. Salvation given to us by God: And, that would seem to confirm the thought brought out in Matthew 5:3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." I stated last week that those that desire a relationship with God must come to the place in their lives where they need a relationship with God. This is desperation, hungering and thirsting. The same hungering and thirsting that caused an entire congregation under the preaching of Jonathan Edwards to run down the aisle, grab onto the pew, cry out for mercy, fearing that at any moment the floor would open wide for hell to receive them.