Summary: What it means to hunger and thirst after righteousness.



INTRODUCTION: There is an old French proverb that says, "A good meal ought to begin with hunger." It is hard to enjoy a good meal when you are not hungry, but when you are starving anything tastes good! Few of us in America know what real hunger or thirst is. But when a person has a real appetite or thirst they become consumed with having that longing and craving satisfied. Perhaps the greatest example of hunger and thirst in the Bible is seen in the story of Jacob and Esau. In Genesis 25, Esau returned home after being out all day and asked Jacob to give him some red stew that his brother had made because he felt that he was starving. His hunger was so great that he was willing to do virtually anything for food. As a result Esau sold all his rights as the first born to his younger brother for some bread and lentil stew. It was a bad deal. Concerning hunger and thirst, Christ said In the Beatitudes,, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness…” Let me ask you this morning. “How is your spiritual appetite?” Do you have a genuine hunger and a true thirst for righteousness?

I. Hungering and Thirsting

A. Normally the Greek words used for hunger and thirst are in the genitive case.

1. Refers to possessing a little hunger and a little thirst, thirsting or hungering a bit for something.

a. It’s sort of like the sentiment in the commercial, “I could have had a V-8”

b. It’s saying, “I’ve got a taste for something – on occasion a good steak or perhaps an ice cold Pepsi.

2. Many have this type of hunger and thirst in the spiritual arena.

a. Occasionally they enjoy Christian music, attending church, reading a verse or two from the Bible and saying a prayer.

b. On occasion they have a taste for entertaining thoughts about God.

B. God uses the verbs for hunger and thirst in Matthew 5:6 in an unusual way. They are in the accusative case.

1. It indicates a hunger and a thirst for the whole thing, not just for a taste or a tidbit – It is a craving and consuming desire that must be filled.

2. I experience this kind of hunger whenever I am in Tucson, Arizona. Eleven miles south of Tucson is the Mission San Xavier del Bac. Outside of the Mission the Tohono O’odham Indian’s have booths set up where they sell food and crafts. They sell an Indian taco that is out of this world. When I am in the area I can guarantee you that I will virtually do anything to make sure I get out to the mission and get my taco which I promptly devour with great gusto. Do you and I experience this same kind of appetite for righteousness? It is this kind of burning desire that Christ speaks about in Matthew 5:6.

3. Blessed are they who have an all-consuming hunger and a seemingly insatiable thirst for righteousness – to be right and to do right – to experience personally and practically the holiness of God in one’s heart and life.

II. Hungering and Thirsting for Righteousness

A. Thirsting for God – His presence and His Power

1. The man or woman who does not know God has a God-shaped vacuum that cannot be satisfied by others or by things. There is only one thing that can satisfy the human heart a relationship with the only one Being Who can satisfy the last abyss of the human heart, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ.

2. Psalms 42:1-2 "… As the hart pants after the water brooks, so pants my soul after thee, O God. [2] My soul thirsts for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?"

3. Having established a relationship with God through Christ, is your burning desire to deepen that relationship?

4. Psalms 73:25 "Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee."

5. “God has hemmed me in to nothing, that I many have nothing, do nothing, want nothing, save Himself.”- Jim Elliot in The Journals of Jim Elliot. Christianity Today, Vol. 30, no. 18.

6. 1 Chronicles 16:11 "Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually."

B. Hungering for God’s Word

1. Psalms 119:103 "How sweet are thy words unto my taste! Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!"

2. Jeremiah 15:16 "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts."

3. We are not, or ought not to be, what we are sometimes accused of being, namely, "bibliolaters," worshipers of the Bible. We do not worship the Bible; we worship the Christ of the Bible. The written Word points to the Living Word. Take a young man who is in love. He has a girlfriend who has captured his heart. As a result he carries a photograph of the one who has captured his heart in his wallet because it reminds him of her when she is far away. Sometimes, when nobody is looking, he might even take the photograph out and give it a secret kiss. He loves the photograph as it represents his true love. And so it is with the Bible. We love it because we love him of whom it speaks. It is God’s love letter to us. – Adapted from John R. W. Stott

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