Lessons from the beatitudes Part 1

Blessed are those who Hunger and Thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled


Hungering and Thirsting for God


How is your appetite today?

How much of an appetite do you have for God?

What do you hunger for today? Is it happiness, money, or a relationship, where will you find it? Be honest with yourself.

How much of a thirst do you have for God? If it is success you long for, where will you find it?

Or do you thirst for revenge, fame or fortune?

What are you thirsting for today?


When I was boy sometimes we would go to the cinema and find that we had come into theatre half way through the movie. This was no problem since you stayed on for the second performance and left once you had caught up all that you had missed.


Today's message from the Lord resembles this situation a bit since we are coming in half way through the Beatitudes but nevertheless I believe that is God’s will for our message today.

To set things in context you should know that the Beatitudes are part of that wonderful sermon given by Jesus to his disciples which is known as the Sermon on the Mount.


Matthew 5 The beatitudes

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.


The word ‘Beatitudes’ means simply the ‘blessednesses’ and each verse begins with the English word ‘blessed’ which means happy, fortunate, to be envied, enjoying the favour and approval of God and also enjoying God’s smile (my favourite).


The Greek word for blessed is Makarios, and some of us more senior people may recall Archbishop Makarios in Cyprus many years ago.

How would you like to have blessed as your surname? The best bible scholars have worked out that the beatitudes are a step wise progression so in a sense we can’t start in the middle. We all have start by being ‘poor in spirit ‘and begin to progress through the other beatitudes.


When we realise our spiritual poverty we can begin to mourn over our sins and receive the comfort and direction of God. The next stage is we begin to develop meekness which is best described as strength under control like a trained stallion. Once we have developed strength under control we can begin to hunger and thirst for God himself. The Lord knows where each one of us is at spiritually and if he is ministering this message to us today that is what he wants us to receive.


Motive

Why should we want to hunger and thirst for God and his righteousness?

Firstly Jesus tells us that we will experience the smile and approval of the Living God and it is his great delight to fill us when we hunger and thirst for righteousness.


Psalm 16:11 says, You will show me the path of life: in your presence [is] fullness of joy; at your right hand [there are] pleasures for evermore.

To hunger and thirst for righteousness is to hunger for God himself.

Matthew 5:6. The late Martin Lloyd Jones says this verse divides those who are believers from those who don’t know God. It only makes sense to one of those groups of people. Which group are you in?


Hungering and Thirsting

If we are what we eat then if we eat and drink righteousness then we will become righteousness!


So this means following hard after God in our lives. It is a relentless pursuit of God and all that is good in Him particularly pursuing his will in every area of our lives.


We will further explore what it means to hunger and thirst for righteousness in Part 2 of this study.

Amen


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