Matthew 5:6 - Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.
It is very common nowadays that we hear people talk about their dreams, ambitions, needs, desires and wants. They want to accomplish many things in their lives.
Amateur athletes want to join the pro to seek greener pasture.
Actors want stardom.
Businessmen want to become tycoons.
These kind of people do all their best and work very hard to achieve their dreams. Not bad at all. They push themselves in perfecting their craft, studying everything about their discipline and practice more than anybody else. Their ambitions knows no limits. Every opportunity for them must be seized and there are no idle time for them.
Most of all these characteristics that these people possess are evident in Jesus preaching about “hunger” and “thirst.” People has this deep drive to satisfy their needs.
William Barclay, in hisDaily Study Bible commentary on Matthew, provides a colorful description:
Words do not exist in isolation;
they exist against a background of experience and thought;
and the meaning of any word is conditioned by the background of the person who speaks it.
That is particularly true of this beatitude.
It would convey to those who heard it for the first time an impression quite different from the impression which it conveys to us.
The fact is that very few of us in modern conditions of life know what it is to be really hungry or really thirsty.
In the ancient world it was very different. A working man’s wage was the equivalent of three pence a day, and, even making every allowance for the difference in the purchasing power of money, no man ever got fat on that wage. A working man in Palestine ate meat only once a week, and in Palestine the working man and the day laborer were never very far from the border-line of real hunger and actual starvation.
It was still more so in the case of thirst. It was not possible for the vast majority of people to turn a tap and find the clear, cold water pouring into their house. A man might be on a journey, and in the midst of it the hot wind which brought the sand-storm might begin to blow. There was nothing for him to do but to wrap his head in his burnous and turn his back to the wind, and wait, while the swirling sand filled his nostrils and his throat until he was likely to suffocate, and until he was parched with an imperious thirst. In the conditions of modern western life there is no parallel at all to that. (vol. 1, p. 99)
When we eat and drink and got full, we feel satisfaction. But after it has been digested, we still feel hunger and thirst. It is not the hunger and thirst that Jesus meant here. What Jesus really wants us to learn here is that we need to feel hunger and thirst but not only in material things. We have to desire righteousness in the sight of God.
The Bible frequently describe the image of hunger and thirst to illustrate strong desire for the things of God. Psalm 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? Psalm 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.
Once we felt hunger and thirst for righteousness, it will urge us to do anything we can through the help of God, doing all the things that we as people of God can do to become righteous heirs of His kingdom. We are indeed blessed if we feel this way.