Have you ever been so busy with the activities of your day that you got into the afternoon and realized that you hadn’t eaten lunch? That’s not a big deal once in a while…in fact it would not hurt me to skip a meal occasionally anyway. But have you ever been so hungry or so thirsty that you were actually suffering from the lack? I never have. I’ve read stories about it. I’ve seen pictures of people who were desperately longing for food or water just to be sustained. But I have never experienced that.
When Jesus, in Matthew 5:6 says “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied, the picture he is drawing for us is one of intense longing…ardent craving.”
I read the account of a march in World War I that helps me get this into perspective and to imagine what it would look like if I hungered and thirsted after righteousness.
Our eyes became bloodshot and dim in the blinding glare…our tongues began to swell…our lips turned to a purplish black and burst. Those who dropped out of the column were never seen again, but the desperate force battled on to Sheria. There were wells at Sheria, and had they been unable to take the place by nightfall, thousands were doomed to die of thirst. We fought all day as men fighting for their lives. We entered Sheria’s station on the heels of the retreating Turks. The objects which met our view were the great stone cisterns full of cold, clear drinking water…I believe that we all learned our first real Bible lesson on that march from Beersheba to the Sheria wells. -Major Gilbert
Can you even imagine what our spiritual lives would look like if we longed for righteousness as those soldiers longed for the cool refreshing water at Sheria? But how do we develop that kind of hunger?
I’ve noticed something about our spiritual hunger and thirst. It is the opposite of our physical hunger and thirst. That doesn’t surprise me as I contemplate the fact that the Beatitudes have consistently been like that. But think about it: the longer you go without eating, the hungrier you get. The longer you try to last without a drink, the thirstier you get. But in relation to spiritual things…in relation to righteousness, the longer you go without being fed the Word of God and the longer you refrain from the refreshing water of the Word in your life, the less those desires affect you. If you want to hunger and thirst after righteousness, you have to feast on Christ and drink deeply of the refreshment gained from Scripture. The more you do; the more you’ll desire to.
Christian, I trust you are spending time in the Word and listening to it being taught, even during the time sheltering at home. I trust you are actively seeking ways to develop a thirst for the things of God. I hope you are looking forward to being able to return to the practice of weekly corporate worship. These things are good for our soul.
And the promise is certain. Those who actively develop their taste for the things of God WILL be satisfied. I sure love the satisfaction after a good meal. I want to develop an appreciation for the satisfaction that comes from being filled with the fruit of righteousness. What will you do today to get hungry and thirsty for the things of God?