Mountain Top Living ~ Part 6: Blessed are those who Hunger & Thirst for Righteousness
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.
We have all been in those awkward moments when the room is quiet, and our stomachs start to growl and ache for food. We lose focus and our mood becomes grumpy. How many couples have driven around hungry and unable to decide on a restaurant only to become the ill-fated, “Hangry?” Our appetites are inexorable and relentless.
We read of Christ fasting in the wilderness for 40 days and nights. The Scriptures say, “afterward he was hungry” (Matt. 4:2). Can you imagine the spiritual discipline required to deny your most basic of appetites for that long? Yet, Christ was not ruled by his natural instincts. He was able to withstand even through great temptation from the Devil himself.
The natural instincts of hunger, thirst, sleep, and breathing are necessities of life. We must have them to survive or else. Christ spoke of a deeper need, an unfathomable spiritual hunger and thirst for righteousness that only He can gratify. Jesus uses the word filled (χορτασθησοντα), which means to feed and fatten with grass. Jesus alludes to a farming scene reminiscent of the Shepherd. The Psalmist proclaimed, “I shall not want” with the Lord leading and shepherding.
Our physical appetites can get the best of us and consume us if we are not spiritually centered in Christ. How can we forget the cautionary story of Esau? He came home hungry and weary from the field. He traded his birthright for a pot of stew from his shrewd brother Jacob. Esau lost his very identity, as the firstborn which came with great blessing through custom and law. As firstborn, He was to receive a double portion of the inheritance and recognized as the leader of the family. But it was “despised” because his appetite for food overcame him. Not only did he miss out on so many earthly blessings, He also, loses his place as the heir and ancestor to Israel and the Messiah. It was all for a pot of stew.
There is an appetite for so much more than this world has to offer. God has set eternity within our heart (Eccl. 3:11). It is only in Him that we can find true fulfillment, but we must be hungry and thirsty for righteousness.
The disciples urged Jesus to eat in Samaria to which He replied, “I have food to eat of which you do not know” (Jn. 4:32). The disciples soon learned that He was the “bread of life” and the “living water” (Jn. 6: 48, 4: 10). The greatest yearning of the heart is the spiritual needs for truth, purpose, worship, forgiveness, and love which are found in relationship to the Savior. The Psalmist of old wrote, “As a deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for you, O God” (Ps. 42:1).