In Matthew 5:1-12, we have a series of teachings given by our LORD, referred to as the ‘Beatitudes.’ Right in the middle of these teachings, in verse 6 we read –
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.”
It’s interesting to note that the beatitudes preceding this verse point to it and the ones following point back to it. The point that I believe is very obvious, is that we are to “be” or “become” something before we “do” something.
There are a couple of sayings that are familiar that I want to introduce at this point.
· Actions speak louder than words.
· What you are, speaks so loud, people can’t hear what you are saying.
I love what OS Hawkins says about this passage of Scripture in his book, “The Joshua Code.” Listen to this –
“The Beatitudes are not a set of rules, such as the Ten Commandments, by which we are to live. The Ten Commandments have to do with actions. The Beatitudes have to do with attitudes. The Ten Commandments have to do with conduct; the Beatitudes have to do with character. Why is it so imperative that we believers incarnate these Beatitudes into our very being? It’s because our actions flow from our attitudes and our conduct issues out of our character.” (I hope you will read that over several times. Meditate on what he has written. It is so important).
In Matthew 5:3, we read “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Surely, we realize that apart from Christ we are paupers spiritually speaking. The ones who realize that they are ‘poor in spirit’ will be concerned about it and seek to become rich in spirit – they then will be blessed.
In Matthew 5:4 we read, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” When we realize we are poor in spirit, and that we don’t have to be in that condition, it should cause us to grieve or mourn over our spiritual condition. Listen to the response of Isaiah when he went to the temple and was surprised by the seraphim moving back and forth and saying, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory”! In verse 5 of Isaiah 6, we have the prophet’s response –
“Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” He grieved over his spiritual poverty. Job (42:6) declared, “I abhor myself.” Peter in Luke 5:8 said, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O LORD.”
Are we satisfied with where we are spiritually? Do we long to be richer spiritually than we are? The Apostle Peter wrote in 2 Peter 3:18, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.”
Do we have a desire to grow and become more and more like our LORD? I think that is what it means to “hunger and thirst after righteousness.”
The next Beatitude is found in Matthew 5:5 where Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” We think this beatitude is based on Psalm 37:11 where we read, “But the meek shall inherit the earth. And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”
The Greek word that has been translated ‘Meek’ in English, is a picture of an animal that has been tamed or domesticated. If we could only picture a wild stallion whose will has been brought into submission to his master. (A great old-time movie that pictures this is ‘The Black Stallion’). Meek is strength under control. The Psalmist says that the one with this quality will experience an abundance of peace. I believe this person will also manifest a spirit of humility. (O.S. Hawkins says, “Those being filled with God’s best are those who are hungering and thirsting for the things of God with a humble spirit”).
It is hard to picture a prideful person seeking after the things of God. I pray that each of us will have a growing hunger and thirst to be filled with the righteousness of our wonderful LORD.