We are well acquainted with physical thirst and hunger. Our body, according to some estimates is 80% fluid. We are basically walking water balloons. Go without water and see what happens. Our thoughts get jumbled, skin grows clammy, vital organs wrinkle. Our body needs water the same way a tire needs air.
In the same way that we thirst for water and food, every human being is wired with a thirst to be filled spiritually. Deprive your soul of spiritual water and your soul will tell you. Dehydrated hearts send desperate messages. We seek approval from others. We justify our behavior by making comparisons. Waves of worry. Growing guilt and fear. Hopelessness, sleeplessness, insecurity. All warning signs, symptoms, of a dryness within.
What satisfies the soul? Psalm 42 reads: “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. ” (Psalm 42:1-2)(NIV)
Jesus addresses this thirst of the soul in his fourth beatitude. Find yourself Hungry and Thirsty deep within? Jesus gives you this promise in Matthew 5, verse 6. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled”.
Notice, that this beatitude, like the first 3, has two parts. The first part “blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness” affirms the thing longed for. Find yourself hungry and thirsty within? Here is what you need. Here is what is driving that thirst. You are hungry and thirsty for something only God can give you. That no matter what we’ve done, where we’ve been, God has found us right where we are at our computer, at the bar, in a jail cell, at the lunch table with all the popular kids, in the 3rd row from the front or the 5th row from the back at a church, and He says “You are mine. I’ve bought you back. Don’t be a slave to the past. You are a son, a daughter, an heir….” “What you are thirsty for I alone can bless you with, I can give you.”
To hunger and thirst for righteousness is not self-righteousness by our own goodness, but to be right with God by God’s grace. And in response to this free gift, we do what God commands, imitating and reflecting God’s character. It is understanding that what God outlines as appropriate behavior, appropriate relationships, appropriate use of resources and time and energy are what are best for us and best for the world. And so we align ourselves with these truths, these commands, not because we have to, but because we want to.
To hunger and thirst for righteousness is to help bring about God’s will in the world. Once we’ve tasted God’s forgiveness and character and the blessing of filling our lives with Him, we want this so badly for others that we will go to extremes to see right done in the world. We go to brazil and provide medical care. We sacrifice so that people can discover God right here in Memphis. We set aside our preferences for the needs and desires of others. We long for the healing of marriages, the wholeness of family….
And so Jesus says to us here in Matthew 5:3-6 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are you when see your brokenness, your emptiness without God. Blessed are you when you mourn the reality that sin has separated you from Him. Blessed are you when you humble yourself and turn to God. And blessed are you when you hunger and thirst for what only He can do inside your soul – fill you, transform you, make you whole before God.
And that is the 2nd half of this 4th beatitude. It is God’s response to our hunger and thirst - He will fill us. Blessed are you when you hunger and thirst for righteousness for you will be filled.
This weekend we are going to explore how real life begins when we come to the Rock, the Stone the builders rejected, Jesus Christ and have our thirst satisfied. Read ahead in John Chapter 7, verse 37 – 53 and come ready to drink deep and be satisfied. Dan and Sydney have a great worship set planned and there are a few other special things you won’t want to miss.