Summary: We hunger and thirst after many things in our lives but what does it mean to hunger and thirst after righteousness? Why are those who do so, blessed, and how is it that they will be filled? What is it that we are filling our lives with?

Soul Cravings - Matthew 5:6 - August 14, 2011

Series: Kingdom Life – Living in a World Turned Upside Down #4

Dr. Samuel Palmer Brooks was president of Baylor University in Texas from 1902 until his death in 1931. On his deathbed he wrote a message to the senior class of 1931. He wrote …

“I stand on the border of mortal life but I face eternal life. I look backward to the years of the past to see all pettiness, all triviality, shrink into nothing and disappear. Adverse criticism has no meaning now, only the worthwhile things, the constructive things that have built for the good of mankind and the glory of God count now. There is beauty, there is joy, and there is laughter in life—as there ought to be, but remember, my students, not to regard lightly, nor to ridicule the sacred things, those worthwhile things.

“Hold them dear, cherish them, for they alone will sustain you in the end, and remember, too, that only through work and oft-times through hardships may they be attained. But the compensation of blessing and sweetness at the last will glorify every hour of work and every heartache from hardship.” (Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times. Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc.)

Let’s pray. Father, teach us to number our days rightly that when we are called to stand before You we may do so without regret, without remorse at years that have been wasted, at time that has been squandered, at things that could have been but never were because we ran after the things of this world rather than the kingdom of God. Redeem the time we have left whether it be hours or decades – redeem it to your glory and open our hearts to receive Your word this day. We ask these things in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Open your Bibles with me this morning to the Gospel of Matthew. We’re going to be in Matthew 5 again this morning as we continue in our study of the Beatitudes. We’ve already looked at the first three; today we will examine the fourth. And really the first three have been foundational to the Beatitude which we will look at this morning. For if you are not poor in spirit, if your sin does not cause you to mourn, to sorrow with a sorrow that leads to repentance and brings forth salvation, if you are not meek, that is surrendered to God, you will never hunger and thirst for righteousness and you will never know the filling that comes when hunger is satiated and the thirst quenched. Let’s read Matthew 5:6 and let’s read it aloud together: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6, NIV)

Folks, let me tell you a little secret. I love the smell of fresh baked bread. And it’s a hard temptation for me to resist when I’m out and I walk past a bakery and that wonderful smell of fresh bread wafts my way. It doesn’t matter if I’ve already eaten or not. The effect is instantaneous. I smell that bread and immediately I have a craving for it. Some of you know what I’m talking about because fresh baked bread has the same effect on you!

I considered bringing our bread maker from home this morning and plugging it in up front so that as we worship the Lord together, as we look into His word, the wonderfully enticing aroma of fresh baked bread would be rising up in our midst. I am certain that if I had done so it would have awakened in many of us a desire, a longing to get a piece of that bread for ourselves, to satisfy the hunger, the craving that it had awakened within us. We know what it means to hunger like that. But that’s not really, hunger, is it?

When Jesus talks about hungering and thirsting He’s taking these concepts that we are well familiar with to help us understand the extent of the desire with which we should be seeking righteousness. It’s not a little rumbling in the belly, it’s not a little dryness in the mouth. The manner in which He uses these words speaks of an intense craving for food; of being painfully in need of water. When it comes to real food and real drink you and I have probably never experienced such a hunger or such a thirst! A bit of bread will not do; a sip of water will not satisfy such a hunger or thirst.

Is anyone here this morning hungry or thirsty – even just a little? Raise your hand if you are. Let me ask you a question. If I gave you a choice this morning between receiving a $20.00 bill, or a glass of cool, refreshing water, which would you take? Probably the $20.00, right? You wouldn’t hesitate. With the amount of thirst you feel you believe $20.00 will satisfy you, bring you more happiness and enjoyment, than that glass of water. But if I was to offer you the same choice two days from now – two days in which you had been out working in the hot sun and hadn’t had even a sip to drink - you wouldn’t hesitate either – only this time you would take the glass of water without thinking twice. Why? Because you desired that water above all else. You truly thirsted for it. Nothing else would satisfy.

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