Jesus said you are blessed if you hunger and thirst for righteousness.
I don’t know about you, but I have read the Bible so many times where I read and knew what I read but never really thought about it more than superficially. Understanding how a tool works and how to use it are two different things. We have to meditate on what we read and think of how what we have learned can become beneficial; being good citizens of God’s kingdom is learning the mind of the King. Jesus said blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness.
With this in mind, I want to look at Matthew 5:6
“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”
In my family, we joke about becoming Hangry. When you are starving, all you want is your appetite to be satisfied. Food is all you can think about. So, can you think of a time when food was all you can think about? Funny thing is we do this daily; ha ha ha!Matthew 5:6
What about being thirsty? I remember when I was in high school, I had a job working at a car dealership cleaning cars. I worked out in the hot sun for hours and became so thirsty. As I drove home in my car, which was more like an easy bake oven, I dreamed of a cool glass of water! I was going to put ice in a large metal bowl and go outside and drink it as it poured down over my scorching body.
What is righteousness?
Do we thirst for righteousness like we long for food and water? Is righteousness something we strive for all day long? To answer that question, we must ask what is righteousness. A dictionary definition is the “quality of being morally right.” But that leads us to the next question. What determines what is right? It is safe to say that truth determines what is right, but how do we find what is true? A definition of true is “in accordance with fact or reality.”
If you think about it, a few things are facts. Mathematics is, for the most part, factual because you can test the answer. Many other truths are not based on fact, like your favorite color. We can think about this biblically and ask, is lying okay? Think of Rahab’s lie to her people to save the lives of the spies compared to David’s lie to Priest Ahimelech, and men were killed because of it. We want truth to be black and white, but the reality is the truth is found in wisdom.
The word truth is used many times in the New Testament, but most of the time, it is something that is discovered. There are a few verses that speak of finding the truth. When looking for men to be leaders, one of the qualifications was not knowing the truth but having wisdom.
Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.Acts 6:3
Wisdom finds truth
Paul’s prayer for the people of Ephesus was to have wisdom.
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:Ephesians 1:17
Anyone following me knows I have been working on understanding Genesis; admittedly, I get frustrated with Christian’s attitude towards it. I ask questions and often get responses based on traditions or a deflection. That leads me to hunger and thirst for righteousness; if we want to get to the truth, we need wisdom.
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”James 1:5
This reality cannot go unnoticed; only wisdom can discover the truth. Take the example of two lies; we need wisdom to decide if lying is acceptable. That is why God gave us Proverbs. The Bible is a book of wisdom, not rules. There are not enough rules to govern all situations.
“The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, King of Israel;Proverbs 1:1-6
2 To know wisdom and instruction;
To perceive the words of understanding;
3 To receive the instruction of wisdom,
Justice, and judgment, and equity;
4 To give subtilty to the simple,
To the young man knowledge and discretion.
5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning;
And a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:
6 To understand a proverb, and the interpretation;
The words of the wise, and their dark sayings.”
In the beginning, Solomon realized he was just a babe and needed wisdom. When God asked what he wanted as king, Solomon said WISDOM!
To know good from evil.
Here is something that I have come to understand about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It can’t be that God did not want humans to know what is good and evil because He created them to rule with Him. I believe they were forbidden from eating because they were naked. Think about a little child with no problem running around with no clothes on. They are totally unaware of all the evil that can come with nakedness. Imagine that if, all at once, you could give the mind of an 18-year-old to the little girl, what would she do? Feel ashamed and run to put some clothes on. Does that sound familiar?
My point here is that of Proverbs; we need God to teach us how to decipher what is good and evil in the world. We can not bypass God and strive to find righteousness alone, or we will sin. Finding the truth is hard work; it happens in prayer, reading the Bible, and studying nature, yes, studying nature. Bible college teaches you that there is natural revelation, but we seem to throw that out when making sense of the Bible.
There are so many hours at night or times in the day that I am searching for truth in my mind. If something does not make sense, it will bother me until I can get the answer. Questions about creation, the sovereignty of God, election, forgiveness, and the list goes on. I beg God to show me the answers I need. To make truth sensible! I read books, articles, audiobooks, video lectures, podcasts, and, of course, I read the Bible! I asked God to show me the truth even if it is not what I want to believe. I beg God to send someone to correct me if I am wrong. I ask questions or bounce ideas off others to see if they are God’s messenger to correct my faulty thinking.
Why is there little thirst for righteousness?
Now, I will be frank here, and I am not trying to think I am better than anyone else, but can you blame thinking this? Why are there so few Christians doing the same thing? It is so hard for me to find people searching for truth. I have difficulty getting anyone to have more than a few-minute conversation about a Biblical topic. On the converse, nobody, and I almost mean nobody, ever approaches me with questions.
Yes, maybe I am the problem, and nobody wants to talk to me because of my personality. But I have been in church consistently for over 40 years and can’t remember when I heard Christians engaged in seeking truth. It has to be a back-and-forth discussion, or all that is happening is reinforcing the same ideas, which could be wrong!
Last, do you respond within minutes of hearing something someone shares with you? There is no way a person can give a thoughtful response without thought. Are you willing to try your best to see if what they tell you is true, or are you shooting it down immediately?
He that answereth a matter before he heareth it,Proverbs 18:13
It is folly and shame unto him.
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.Acts 17:11
It’s time to be babes.
Going back to the tree and the couple’s nakedness, I think the Bible is so sophisticated that there are clear links of thought carried through the books. Here is an example of what I mean. Jesus had a hard time with those who thought they knew it all. They had their own wisdom, which correlates to eating from the wrong tree. It is looking for wisdom on your own rather than letting God reveal it to you. So Jesus said this;
At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.Matthew 11:25
The nake Adam and Eve were babes who needed wisdom. Like a good parent, God wanted to teach them the wisdom they needed to rule well. We must remain as babes only because we always need to learn. At the same time, we need to obtain maturity to tell the difference between good and evil. We cannot let the tradition of men and peer pressure keep us from learning. We cannot allow a bias that was not created from a deep study of the Word to keep us from obtaining the knowledge God wants us to have.
So I leave you with this: do you hunger and thirst for righteousness? Do you want to know the truth on how to understand the difficulties you are faced with daily? Do you want your mind to grow and learn new things? Do you consider things you hear open-mindedly and want God to give you wisdom? Is seeking truth done as much as you think about what to eat or drink?
Jesus came to call people to be citizens of His Kingdom; He was looking for those with the right attitude. The question is to you, are they your beatitudes?