By Elizabeth Prata
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. (Matthew 5:6).
Barnes’ Notes on the Bible: Blessed are they which do hunger … – Hunger and thirst, here, are expressive of strong desire. Nothing would better express the strong desire which we ought to feel to obtain righteousness than hunger and thirst. No needs are so keen, none so imperiously demand supply, as these. They occur daily, and when long continued, as in case of those shipwrecked, and doomed to wander months or years over burning sands, with scarcely any drink or food, nothing is more distressing. An ardent desire for anything is often represented in the Scriptures by hunger and thirst, Psalm 42:1-2; Psalm 63:1-2. A desire for the blessings of pardon and peace; a deep sense of sin, and want, and wretchedness, is also represented by thirsting, Isaiah 55:1-2.
Interesting, isn’t it? When I’m hungry, all I can think about is getting food. When I’m thirsty, I’m not satisfied until I drink. Jesus wants us to be the same way about righteousness. Hunger for it. Thirst for it. Seek filling it. Don’t do anything else until it’s satisfied.
The way John MacArthur described the current state of chaos in “A World Gone Mad” explains a lot of the unsettled feeling I’m having these days. I recommend the article. Here is the excerpt-
On top of the endless chaos surrounding us, our society is drowning in a sea of lies, such that the culture is permeated by a sense of devastating insecurity. We no longer have confidence in politicians, health experts, social activists, academics, or the media—all of them have lost credibility by pursuing agendas over honesty. Even religious leaders have shown a knack for doublespeak and outright deception when it suits their purposes. We have been lied to so routinely that we treat every claim as dubious. Living in that constant state of doubt and suspicion is both exhausting and exasperating.
There are two points. The deplorable state of affairs in America right now is doing a good job of spotlighting sin. The corruption in systems, in people, in society, in organizations is oozing out in more quantity than the Great Molasses Flood of 1919, and a lot of people are getting swept away in its sickening draw.
Sin is ugly, isn’t it? We sinners tend to forget that, having it in us and all around us all the time. We dwell in it, and so, make peace with it, pet it, weakly slay it, only to allow it to return, grinning. But sin is the ugliest thing in the universe. The current scene in America with obvious moral and ethical corruption in academia, politics, law, government, science, and so on shows us that. This is good.
It should make us hunger and thirst for righteousness all the more, shouldn’t it? Seeing sin exposed in its putrid corruption should make us hasten to the cross in agony, pleading for forgiveness for even the most ‘minor’ sins of our own that we’ve committed. If there is anything we can call ‘good’ about the sin-saturated United States, it’s that. When we hold a puppy’s head over his waywardly dropped feces and say “Look at it, just look at it! Bad dog!” God is doing likewise with His children.
Secondly, the last part of the verse: “they shall be filled.” For those that hunger, the promise is not perhaps they will be filled, or maybe they’ll be filled, or later they will be filled. They SHALL be filled. Barnes’ Notes again:
They shall be filled – They shall be satisfied as a hungry man is when supplied with food, or a thirsty man when supplied with drink. Those who are perishing for want of righteousness; those who feel that they are lost sinners and strongly desire to be holy, shall be thus satisfied. Never was there a desire to be holy which God was not willing to gratify, and the gospel of Christ has made provision to satisfy all who truly desire to be holy. See Isaiah 55:1-3; Isaiah 65:13; John 4:14; John 6:35; John 7:37-38; Psalm 17:15.
The desire to be holy should be in each one of us, if we are saved by His grace. The pursuit of that holiness should be a fervent goal daily. Imagine what a life filled with hunger & thirst for righteousness is like contrasted to the darkness all around!
One who pursues righteousness and loyalty Finds life, righteousness, and honor. (Proverbs 21:21).
They SHALL be filled. And bountifully, too-
Adrian Rogers: Rivers of Revival, sermon
John MacArthur: A World Gone Mad, essay
RC Sproul: The Holiness of God, teaching series
RC Sproul, The Trauma of Holiness, sermon (A GOOD ONE!!! I loved this)