A Final Point

Matthew 5:6

September 19, 2014

 

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst

for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

- Matthew 5:6

 

What is God’s Word for me today?

We must make a final point of this beatitude that teaches us the steps to happiness. This emerges only in the Greek. It is a rule of Greek grammar that verbs of hungering and thirsting are followed by the genitive case. The genitive is the case which is expressed be the word of. The genitive which follows the verbs of hungering and thirsting are called partitive genitives, meaning genitives of part. The Greek said, “I hunger for of good.” It was some food he desired, not part of the bread, not the whole loaf. The Greek said, “I thirst for of water.” It was some water he desired, not the whole pitcher. But in this beatitude, most unusually, righteousness is in the direct accusative, not the normal genitive. Thus, when the verbs of hungering and thirsting appear in Jesus’ words, he is speaking of a hunger for the whole loaf and a thirst for the whole pitcher.

 

Jesus was saying, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for the whole of righteousness, for complete righteousness.” It is not enough to be satisfied with partial goodness. Blessed is the man who hungers and thirsts for the goodness which is total. So, the fourth beatitude may be fully translated, “O the bliss of the man who longs for total righteousness as a starving man longs for food, and a man perishing of thirst longs for water, for that man will be truly satisfied.”

 

How does this make me become like Him?

Don’t stop short of God’s goal for your life. Don’t seek partial goodness, partial righteousness, or partial God. Seek after the things of God with your whole heart. That is the only way you will ever become like Him.

A Case in Point

Matthew 5:6

September 18, 2014

 

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst

for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

- Matthew 5:6

 

What is God’s Word for me today?

King David is a case in point of those who seek a goal put on their hearts, but fall short. He always wanted to build the Temple of God. But he never achieved that ambition; it was denied him. Yet, God said to him, “You did well that it was in your heart” (1 Kings 8:18). In his mercy God judges us, not only by our achievements, but also by our dreams. Even if a man never attains the righteousness of God, if to the end he is still hungering and thirsting for it, he is not shut out from the promises and blessings of the Lord.

 

H.G. Wells said, “A man may be a bad musician and yet be passionately in love with music.” Robert Louis Stevenson spoke of even those who have sunk to the lowest depths “clutching the remnants of virtue to them in the brothel and on the scaffold.” Sir Norman Birkett referred to goodness as “the implacable hunter,” always at our heels. He said, “The worst of men is condemned to some kind of nobility.” In short, one need not achieve the target to receive a reward. The joy comes in the running of the race. Hunger and thirst for the things of God and you will be blessed.

 

How does this make me become like Him?

David had a desire to build the temple. The fact that God had other plans did not keep him from the blessings of obedience. Do you best in the strength of God and you will receive the peace and comfort of the Almighty. You will become like Him.

Failing Forward

Matthew 5:6

September 17, 2014

 

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst

after righteousness, for they will be filled.”

- Matthew 5:6

 

What is God’s Word for me today?

Desmond Tutu said, “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” When we approach this beatitude from that side it is more demanding, and indeed the most frightening of them all. God’s demand for goodness and righteousness is both unattainable and comforting. While the righteousness of God is not reachable in its totality, it is not righteousness that we are told to achieve. The promise of Christ is for those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, not those who achieve it.

 

If the blessings of God came only to those who achieved, none of us would be blessed. But blessedness comes to the man who, in spite of failures and stumbles, still clutches to his commitment to righteousness. The Greek word for sin is harmartia, an archery term meaning “to miss the mark.” The Bible says “none of us are righteous; no, not one.” The Bible says, “All have sinned.” So take heart if you are among the 100 percent of us who have fallen. Fall forward. Get up, brush yourself off and keep moving forward. The Christian life gives a participation award for those who are in the game, seeking the goodness and righteousness of God.

 

How does this make me become like Him?

We live in a competitive world where there is one winner and a bunch of losers. But in the Christian race, the prize goes to the one who is trying, chasing after the mark, even though he will fall short. It is in the running of the race that we become like Him.

Got to Want It

Matthew 5:6

September 16, 2014

 

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst

for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

- Matthew 5:6

 

What is God’s Word for me today?

Let’s build on yesterday’s lesson. We all want to be happy, or to be filled, as Jesus said. This beatitude is really a question: “How much do you want goodness? Do you want it as much as a starving man wants food, and as much as a man dying of thirst wants water?” How intense is your desire for goodness? Most of us have an instinctive desire for some level of goodness, but it is rather nebulous. We suffer from what Robert Louis Stevenson called “the malady of not wanting.” Stevenson meant that while we want goodness and righteousness, we don’t really want it.

 

Here’s the key to this beatitude. We must desire goodness more than we desire anything else. As we will see later this week, the point is not even to reach this goal, but to seek it. With most things in life, it comes down to passion. Philip Yancey says, “The giants all had one thing in common: neither victory nor success, but passion.” When you become passionate for something, you are on your way toward achieving it, whether you are chasing after a dream, goal, or vision. It all starts with passion. You have to want it!

 

How does this make me become like Him?

The key to success is not desire, but the depth of that desire. When you want something desperately, you will likely get it. If you really want to be filled with all the blessings of God, start by seeking, not those blessings, but his goodness. This is how you become like Him.

Bliss for Starving Spirit

Matthew 5:6

September 15, 2014

 

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst

for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

- Matthew 5:6

 

What is God’s Word for me today?

The next step to real happiness is to be hungry and thirsty. That sounds like a paradox, and it is. So let’s dig deeper. Very few of us in modern conditions know what it is to be really hungry or really thirsty. In the ancient world, it was very different. A working man’s wages was barely enough to support survival. A working man in Palestine ate meat only once a week. The day laborer never progressed much beyond starvation. It was worse in terms of water. A man might be on a journey, and the hot wind would blister his throat in the absence of available water.

 

The hunger described in this beatitude is no common growling of the stomach between meals. It is the hunger of a starving for food and the thirst of a man who will die unless he soon finds water. So as we delve into the idea of hungering and thirsting for righteousness, keep in mind the extent of this hunger and thirst. The promise of filling is reserved for those desperate for righteousness, on the same level of the desperation a man feels as he stands on the edge of starvation.

 

How does this make me become like Him?

You want to be happy. We all do. The question is not how much you want to be happy but how much you want to be righteous. When your hunger and thirst for righteousness equals the hunger and thirst of a man deprived for days of food and water, you are on the track toward happiness, and the track to become like Him.

Gentle

Matthew 5:5

September 12, 2014

 

“Blessed are the meek, for

they will inherit the earth.”

- Matthew 5:5

 

What is God’s Word for me today?

There is no English word that is equivalent to the Greek word praus, which we have been studying all week. Many scholars believe the closest word is “gentle.” Encapsulated in this word is all that makes great men great. It was the lack of this quality that ruined Alexander the Great, who, in a fit of uncontrolled temper in the middle of a drunken debauch, hurled a spear at his best friend and killed him.

 

No man can lead others until he has mastered himself; no man can serve others until he has subjected himself; not man can be in control of others until he has learned to control himself. I like the way William Barclay translates this verse, in expanded detail. “O the bliss of the man who is always angry at the right time and never angry at the wrong time, who has every instinct, and impulse, and passion under control, because he himself is God-controlled, who has the humility to realize his own ignorance and his own weakness, for such a man is a king among men!”

 

How does this make me become like Him?

Do you want to inherit the blessings God has for you on earth? The key is God-control and a meekness that is gentle humility. You can receive this through submission to the Lord. In the process you will joyfully become like Him.

The Power of Meekness

Matthew 5:5

September 11, 2014

 

“Blessed are the meek, for

they shall inherit the earth.”

- Matthew 5:5

 

What is God’s Word for me today?

Trevor Hammack said, “Humility is the nearly impossible task of being more concerned with our own sins than we are with the sins of others.” This gets to the root of true meekness. The promise of this third beatitude is that we may “inherit the earth.” It is a fact of history that men with this gift of self-control have achieved greatness. Moses, accepted as the great leader of Israel past, was described as “very meek, more than all the men that were on the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3). Moses could be blazingly angry, but he was a man whose anger was on a leash.

 

What Moses learned, you can learn. Your anger must be released only at the appropriate time. Solomon said, “He that rules his spirit is better than he who takes a city” (Proverbs 16:32). James said man is able to control wild beasts, but not his own tongue. I learned this lesson of leadership years ago. Before I can lead others, I must lead myself. Only in self-control (meekness) can I influence others for the Kingdom of God.

 

How does this make me become like Him?

Would you be satisfied to be looked upon as the kind of leader Moses was? We all admire his strength and boldness in the face of difficulty. But first, Moses was meek. When you capture this quality, you will be the most effective leader you have ever been. And in the process, you will become like Him.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 106 other followers