Have you ever been reeeeeeally hungry or reeeeeeally thirsty?
Maybe you got a cold bottle of water, downed it in less than a minute… but yet, you were still thirsty.
How many times have you gone to an all you can eat buffet, stuffed yourself so you couldn’t move, telling yourself, “I don’t even want to see food for a week”… but later that night you couldn’t resist the pan of brownies sitting on your counter.
You drink, but you just get thirsty again.
You eat, but you just get hungry again.
Nothing satisfies forever and nothing meets your need forever… in this world. But Jesus taught us again and again that there is One thing that completely satisfies forever, that will meet all your needs, forever: Him.
Today is the 5th episode in our series on The Beatitudes. Joining us today to explore the 4th Beatitude in our series is teacher and author of the book “Broken Yet Blessed”, Kathi McCarty, with: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness… for they shall be filled.
Table Talk Notes
A starving soul…
Words which describe an experience have a basic meaning, but it is life and life’s experiences which decide what the intensity of that meaning is.
Pain to one means something different than to another (eg surgery vs. a headcold)
Love to one means something different than to another (eg newlyweds vs. 40 yr marriages)
Jesus speaks to a Palestinian audience.
- A western world can’t appreciate these words
- A Palestinian family rarely ate meat
- A day’s loss of wages meant a day without food – starvation was common among the poor
- Water was a precious commodity
- Travel could mean risking one’s life if there were no wells on your journey
What Jesus was really saying?
Blessed is the man who longs (craves as in survival) for righteousness as a starving man longs for food, and as a man perishing of thirst longs for water.
Psalmists & prophets used this same metaphor.
Ps 42:1-2 | like a deer longs for water As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
Is 55:1 | “longs for the water of life ‘Come, everyone who thirsts, come…'”
to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.
Jesus confronts & challenges
“Do you desire and long for righteousness with that intensity of desire, craving as a starving man? A man perishing from thirst?”
This is considered to be the most “demanding” of the Beatitudes
John 6:27, 33-35, 48-56 | Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.”
… 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
…48 I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.
Let’s also remember that the beatitudes are a kind of “show & tell” to make obvious just how badly we all need attitude adjustments and how at hand the Kingdom of God truly is.
The Christian life is not for the dilettante, but for those who desire righteousness as a matter of life and death. Click To Tweet
While it’s the most demanding beatitude, it’s also the kindest and most encouraging. It displays God’s sense of sympathy for those who are willing to enter into the “struggle for.”
It is not he who has attained righteousness who is called blessed, but those who hunger and thirst for it; those who are trying to live with a sin so cringe-worthy that inwardly they scream to be made pure; or those who have suffered terrible injustice; those consumed with longing for things to be made right.
The grammar says it all…
The genitive case for “hunger & thirst” is the norm – we hunger for part of something, or thirst for part of something ( a slice of bread, a drink of water)
Jesus used the accusative case – meaning the whole of something
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for ALL of righteousness.
What is righteousness?
Gr: dikaiosune – has 3 meanings: justice toward God and man; justification by faith; and right living toward God and man
Personal justice – knowing that God is the vindicator
Rev 6:9-11 | When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.
2 Tim 1:8-12 | Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.
Daniel 3:14-18 | Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? …if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
Social justice – The book of Amos (it’s not about changing God’s word to accommodate the culture, but rather that our laws reflect God’s moral perspective, and pulling down injustices and the philosophy that supports it)
Justification – just as if I never sinned
Right living – as mandated by the Word
“…for they shall be filled (satisfied)”
Filled – Gr. chortazestha – to stuff a person full to the point of complete satiety…to go beyond full to the point of overfilled so that nothing offered to you is not only not appealing, but you find it somewhat repulsive.
The Kingdom of God has a chemistry that can transform even the past, and makes the terrible losses that we experience seem insignificant in the greatness of who our God is. He fills us with the goodness of HIS righteousness.
John 4:25-37 | The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.” Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” They went out of the town and were coming to him. Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”
What was Jesus really saying?
A literal translation from the Greek would read…
“The bliss that belongs only to the gods, the joy that is inexplicable, belongs to those who, like dying of starvation and thirst, long for and crave justice, justification and right living in Me, for they shall be filled to the point of complete satisfaction.”
Are you hungry for a deeper, more intimate relationship with Jesus?
Do you long for your life to be a model of right living and an expression of God’s justice in the earth?
Is your love and righteousness tank on empty or full?
James 4:7-8 – “Draw near to God… | Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you…
Gal 6:9-10 – “Do not lose heart in doing what is right…” | And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith
Song of Solomon 4:9 – “You have made my heart beat faster with a single glance in my direction…” | You have captivated my heart, my sister, my bride; you have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes…
Matt. 6:33 | “Seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these (other) things will be added to you.”
Rev 7:9-10, 13-17 | After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
… 13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
Rev 22:17 | The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.