Summary: Beatitudes mean declarations of blessedness. The term blessedness means joy. Therefore, the state of blessedness would be a state of joy, which is more than just happy. We wouldn’t consider what we see here to bring blessedness. Let's see why it does.
The Be-Attitudes (part two)
Recap: Beatitudes mean declarations of blessedness. The term blessedness means joy. Therefore, the state of blessedness would be a state of joy, which is more than just happy. Blessedness refers to the distinctive spiritual joy of those who are saved. We typically wouldn’t consider the items in this list to bring blessedness. We started looking at the list last Sunday by seeing how being poor in spirit, mourning and being meek are things that bring blessing into our lives. Poor in spirit means I’ve recognized my spiritual poverty. I am away from my pride and denial about my true spiritual condition. And in turn I cry out to God to rescue me. I mourn over my sinful state. I am no longer blind to the ugliness of my sin and it grieves me. In meekness we saw how it is anything but weakness. I am gentle and kind but I am still assertive and powerful. In these attributes we see them representing humility. In these there are blessings for the kingdom of heaven both here and now belong to me. I will be comforted and I will inherit the riches of earth.
1) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (vs. 6). We all hunger and thirst for something. Hungering and thirsting for something means it’s a priority; it takes precedence over other things. What are we driven to hunger for? More money, a promotion, a relationship, the next big thing? The irony is no matter how much we pursue whatever it is we will still be left hungry. Whatever it is in this world we find ourselves hungry for, thirsty for, after we have gotten some of it, we will realize that it doesn’t satisfy. “Once upon a time, there was a man known as the Hunger Artist. He made his living by professional fasting. He would go for extended periods of time without eating and drinking anything and people would pay to see him do it. At that time, professional fasting was a respected, appreciated, and very lucrative business. Picture this in your mind: there would sit the hunger artist on straw in a small cage expressing his will power to go for long periods without eating or drinking anything. He would fast for forty days and when the forty days were up the band would play, and his manager would give a speech. Then, two ladies would lead him in his weakened condition out of the cage. The crowd would roar with excitement and ultimately they would pay him a great sum of money in appreciation to his great work of art. However, there came a time when professional fasting was no longer understood nor appreciated. The man lost his manager and had to join the circus. He became depressed and discouraged because of the raw meat that constantly passed by him, because of the roaring of the animals at night, because of the horrible smell that filled the air. The people paid him no attention as they rushed by him to see the more popular exhibits in the circus. He was ignored and forgotten about, even the leaders and the owners of the circus forgot him. His fast went way past forty days, because nobody bothered to count the days. And ultimately they found him one day slumped over in the cage. They rushed over to assist him and in his last dying breath, he told his secret. He simply said, “I have to fast; I have no choice. You see, I couldn’t find any food that would satisfy me.” This may seem like a strange story but when you learn more about the author, Franz Koffka, it makes more sense. Koffka was an atheist. He had said this story summed up what he felt about life. In retrospect, “The Hunger Artist” was not about physical hunger; it was about spiritual hunger. Beneath the surface of this story, Franz Koffka was talking about his own spiritual condition; he was The Hunger Artist. He recognized his soul was starving, but he said, “I can’t find anything in life that will satisfy me!” Only those that hunger and thirst for the righteousness of God will be filled [NASB “will be satisfied”]. Only those who pursue the things of God will be able to get their true needs met. Isaiah 55:1-3. We have to make sure we’re drinking from the right well. Jesus said in John 7:37, "If anyone is thirsty, let them come to me and drink." We hunger after the world and it tastes sweet in the mouth but it turns bitter in the stomach. When we thirst for worldly pleasures it’s like drinking salt water. But when we crave spiritual food and drink of the living water we will find choice morsels and holy nectar that satisfies the soul. We need to hunger and thirst for the righteous life. We need to hunger and thirst for God’s word, we need to be hungry for God’s power, his love, his wisdom, his ways. This hungering and thirsting signifies an insatiable desire for God and the things of God. It’s not the kind of thirst you have after playing ball on a hot day…it’s the kind of thirst you would have after days in the desert without even a drop of water. It’s not the kind of hunger you have when you’ve missed lunch…it’s more like when you’ve gone several days without eating! It’s not just being hungry or thirsty it’s more like being ‘parched’ or ‘starving’. How is your spiritual appetite? When we hungered and thirsted for God’s righteousness to come upon us in salvation we became filled with the Holy Spirit. Now we need to continue to hunger and thirst for righteousness in order to be filled with all the righteous virtues of the faith. 1st Pet. 2:1-3, “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” Now that God has whet our appetites by revealing his goodness, we are to keep craving that goodness. We are called to get rid of unrighteousness and put in the righteous. Out with the old; in with the new. Our desire for it needs to be like a baby’s for milk. A baby doesn’t have to contemplate whether or not he wants milk-he craves it-he can’t stand to be without it-he cries when he doesn’t get it quick enough. When we have this intense hunger and thirst for all things righteous God will satisfy our appetites. Psalm 107:9, “For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” When we have this spiritual appetite God will feed us. He will not only feed us-he will fill us. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled with it.