Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. – Matthew 5:6
I remember smelling mamma’s cooking and having to wait for what seemed like a lifetime to hear her say; “Wash your hands and come eat.” I remember when I was a little boy I’d play real hard. I’d play so hard that I would wait until the last minute, right before passing out, before I would stop to get a drink of water. What I remember most about these two occurrences is how that first bite of turnips tasted and how refreshing that cool water was when I took the first gulp. A sense of strength seemed to surge throughout my body and soon I was ready to get back to playing.
Jesus is telling us that just as we hunger for food and thirst for water, we should have the same desire for righteousness. Can you imagine the setting when Jesus preached the sermon on the mount? He was probably surrounded by a lot of people who were thirsty and hungry from walking to where they knew He was. Jesus seemed to always use the surroundings and situations to make the plain the point He wanted everyone to understand. In this case He used a need of the people to drive home the importance of living righteous lives. This teaching plants the notion that just as food is important to our natural being, living righteous lives before God is more important because it’s for our spiritual being. The bible says that God is a spirit and if we’re going to worship Him, it must be in spirit and in truth (John 4:24)
Just like that little boy waiting for mamma to say come eat, or the little boy who took the first swallow of cool water from a glass or a garden hose, we will be satisfied if we go after the righteousness of God the same way. An example of wanting it can be found in Job 23:12. Job said God’s word is more important than food.
Righteousness is holy and upright living in accordance to God’s standards. Righteousness is a moral concept and God’s character is the source and definition of righteousness.
A quick glance at what’s going on around us today will reveal a lack of righteousness and a decline of morals in our society. Many think living lavish and contradictory lifestyles is a sign of independence and doing whatever thoughts come to mind. Many might even say they are blessed because they can do what they want to do, when they want to do it. But Jesus is letting us know that true blessings and satisfaction will come to those who seek righteousness and live according to His word. He’s saying we can be blessed, full and satisfied now and in the end.