Our text for this week is Matthew 5.6, where Jesus speaks the fourth beatitude:
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (NIV)
A good place to start with Bible study is with an effort to understand the meaning of the words used by Jesus. When used metaphorically, “hunger” means “to crave ardently, to seek with eager desire” and “thirst” means “to painfully feel the want of, and eagerly long for, those things by which the soul is refreshed, supported, strengthened.” So, it makes sense that “filled” means “to fulfill or satisfy the desire.” Jesus is saying that those who crave ardently, who seek with eager desire, who eagerly long for the things by which the soul is refreshed will be satisfied.
But what are we to eagerly desire? Jesus is not saying that those who desire for their souls to be satisfied will be satisfied regardless of what it is that they long for. In fact, He tells us very plainly what it is that we are to be longing for: righteousness.
To grasp the full meaning of His words, we will have to explore what this word righteousness means, but for today, I find myself meditating on the simple idea of being satisfied. We all know what it means for our souls to be unsatisfied, to feel the pain of an un-refreshed soul. And yet I hear Jesus saying to me that soul satisfaction is possible for those who crave the right thing.
John Piper, his book Christian Hedonism, says that our problem is not that we crave pleasure but that we find pleasure in things that are not pleasing. God has created us to crave satisfaction and fulfillment, but we are convinced that we can find those things in empty vessels.
The prophet Jeremiah put it like this: “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water” (Jeremiah 2.13). Or to paraphrase Jesus, “Un-refreshed people crave the wrong thing, but blessed are those who know where to find the soul quenching good stuff.”
Lord, lead us to the soul quenching good stuff this week.