Matthew 5:6 (ESV) "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Matthew 5:6 (TM) "You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness—those who seek God—for they shall be filled.
"Righteousness" means right-relatedness, and Jesus' emphasis is not on right-relatedness with Torah but on right-relatedness with God! The apostle Paul, in Philippians 3:9, contrasts the righteousness of the Law and the righteousness that is "through the faith of Christ" (KJV); in Christ we have an actual righteousness, an actual right-relatedness with God.
In Matthew 6:1-8 Jesus shows the difference between religious rites and genuine hunger for God. His statement of "hungering and thirsting" reminds us of the words of the psalmist, "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, oh God" (Psalm 44:1 KJV). This longing for God is a longing to see God's kingdom established in His people, who then practice justice themselves.
What does it mean to ‘hunger and thirst for righteousness’?
• It is not seeking self-righteousness, but it is the righteousness that comes from God.
• It is to depend, not on our own will-power to achieve it but upon God.
• In Jesus’ time, if there were anybody who would qualify for such earnest passion and zeal for God, that would be the Pharisees and the Scribes (Teachers of the Law). But in the same chapter (Matthew 5:20) Jesus makes a startling statement. “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, You will certainly not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” How can one attain a righteousness, which even Pharisees failed to achieve? What kind of righteousness Jesus is talking about?
• Romans 3:21-22 answers the question. “But now righteousness of God apart from the Law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who will believe.”
• So then, righteousness of God is available through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe in Him. And those who will seek him, will find him and will be filled.
• Jesus himself claimed to be the one who will quench the thirst. John 7:37: “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.”
• Hunger and thirst are not one time need, they are our daily needs. Our body need constant nourishment from food and water to function properly. In the same way, our spirit needs daily food too. Many Christians suffer from ‘spiritual malnourishment’ due to lack of hunger and thirst or lack of feeding to their spiritual needs.
• Only God can quench our thirst and satisfy our hunger for righteousness
What do you desire most? Do you long for more of God in your life or have you lost that hunger and thirst?
"Lord, I have been challenged today to look at my desires. What do I crave? What am I hungry for? I want to long for more of You in my life. I want to have a greater spiritual appetite for You, Your Word, and Your ways. In Jesus' name, amen!"