This is my favorite verse in the Beatitudes:
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.
Back when I was searching for a deeper relationship with God (and didn’t even quite realize it), this was one of the verses that I claimed as my own. I was hungry for righteousness, praying diligently for it, and clinging to God’s promise that I would be filled. And praise God, He is faithful to His promises!
If we are hungry for righteousness, it is because we realize we are not filled with it. But we desire it – oh, so much! Think about when you are physically hungry. It’s hard to concentrate on anything else; the thought at the forefront of your mind becomes, “When can I eat?”
The Greek word for “hunger” means to “pine,” “famish,” “crave.” What I picture from these definitions is not just a little hunger, but a starving for righteousness. Why would this condition be a blessing? Because it shows how much we need and desire to live a godly life. Whereas, if we are full, we won’t be looking for more food / righteousness. Which is why Jesus contrasts with, “Woe to you who are full, for you shall hunger” (Luke 6:25).
This idea of hungering and thirsting after God is actually a common theme in the Bible:
Psa. 42:1-2, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?”
Psa. 63:1, “O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.”
Psa. 143:6, “I spread out my hands to You; my soul longs for You like a thirsty land.”
Isa. 55:1-2, “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance.”
John 6:27, “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”
John 6:35, “And Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.'”
Luke 1:53, “He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty.”
John 4:14, “but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
John 7:37-39, “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive. . .”
Do we have a hunger and thirst for God and His Word? Do we desire righteousness as much as we do our regular food? Or have we become complacent, over-content with our spiritual state?
Isa. 49:10, “They shall neither hunger nor thirst, neither heat nor sun shall strike them; for He who has mercy on them will lead them, even by the springs of water He will guide them.”
Rev. 7:16, “They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore.”