Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Blessed Are The Hungry

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled." Matthew 5:6 (NKJV)

I seem to often hear the quote "blessed are the hungry"- I think it's often used in charitable situations, and maybe that's why I hear it so often. But I've been thinking on that statement for a while, and this morning I spent some time looking up this verse in different translations to see if any of them actually use the literal word hungry- and I was surprised that none of them do. Every single translation says blessed are those who hunger for righteousness. This is also one of those instances where I really liked what the Amplified version adds to the verse.

Blessed and fortunate and happy and spiritually prosperous (in that state in which the born-again child of God enjoys His favor and salvation) are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God), for they shall be completely satisfied!" Matthew 5:6 (AMP)

So even though this verse is used often in the context of a person literally being hungry and thirsty- it's clearly not a physical need for food and nourishment that Jesus is talking about. He's talking about our spirits. He's talking about our spirit's hunger and thirst, because the spirit that is a part of us doesn't need physical sustenance, it needs more of God. Our souls hunger for more of God- and I believe that that hunger will not truly go away until we are spending eternity in His Presence. Hunger. So often we try to fill that hunger with things of this world. We try to learn a new hobby, we take new classes to learn a new skill- maybe even change careers, trying to satisfy this hunger, when all we really need to do to take steps to fill this empty space is turn to God. You hear it all the time- the rich and wealthy who can buy anything in the world, but still feel like they're missing something. What they are missing is the fact that their soul is hungry for God!

As I read this verse again in the Amplified version, do you know what I see? I see a guarantee. I see a certain result, if we allow our hunger and our thirst for more of God to take us to that place where we get more. I see that it says that we will be satisfied- and not just satisfied a little bit, but completely. Like Thanksgiving dinner satisfied, complete with appetizers and dessert.

Now lets think about this a minute, because Jesus did specifically use the words hunger and thirst. He didn't just say "blessed are those who want or desire more of God", he specifically said "blessed are those who hunger and thirst". When I think on that, think on the use of those words, it gives me a clue as to what He may have really meant when He said that. When we are physically hungry or physically thirsty, we have to take action. We have to physically take food or drink, put it to our mouths and then we have to go through the process of eating it. We must chew, and swallow, and then our bodies take over to digest. We cannot just sit there and look at a piece of meat and will it into our stomachs to satisfy us- we must take action and DO something to get that meat to where it will satisfy our hunger.

In the same way, we cannot just sit around, going about our day to day, wanting more of God without actually doing anything to get that more. We must spend time in our Word- we must spend time in prayer and reflection- and we must spend time worshiping and praising God. The act of corporate worship (church) can also definitely help get us in the mood to act on the desire for more of God. We need to take physical steps to get more of God- we need to take and eat- not food- but what He has for us.

"And he said to me, "Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the house of Israel." 2 So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat.

3 Then he said to me, "Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it." So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth." Ezekiel 3:1-3

We cannot take in more of God without an action on our part. Just as we cannot eat a steak without action, we cannot receive more of God's righteousness without action. Sometimes, that action may simply be falling to our knees, or raising our hands towards heaven. Sometimes that action is opening up our Word and reading what He has for us. Sometimes the action may be a little more- sometimes I need to put in some really good, upbeat praise music and start dancing around with joy.

The greatest thing about this verse though is that it is a promise. If we will hunger and thirst for more of God- and take the action necessary to draw closer to that sustenance, we will be filled. We will find ourselves completely satisfied. God wants us to want more of Him. Jesus tells us that we are blessed, first of all, because of our hunger and our thirst for God. And then He tells us that we will be satisfied. Blessed are the hungry...

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