We are already into the fourth week of our Friday evening home Bible Study small group looking at the Beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount of Jesus. What a blessing to dive into the deep meaning of the Lord’s instruction and teachings, especially for the facilitator who studies it twice for preparation and presentation, but even further to the Blogger who gets to acquaint with, meditate upon and convey the lesson a third time. And what a lesson the Lord is teaching!
Righteousness. The word itself can make us a little uncomfortable. We don’t use it much today either. Somehow the word righteousness feels out of place in our culture. Should it be this way? The word for righteousness in the Greek is used to describe whatever is right or just in itself, and which therefore conforms to the revealed will of God. A life aligned with God’s will. Being “right with God”. Hunger & thirst are bodily cravings that must be satisfied. Life cannot be sustained by simply eating one meal or having an occasional sip of water; rather, the intake of food and water is to be a continual habit of life. So, too, a hunger and thirst for righteousness implies a craving and desire that has to be satisfied (meaning a deep inner contentment), no matter the cost. Are we truly satisfied with our life? If not, could it be that we are hungry for the wrong things? Do we have our priorities right and straight? Are we looking for satisfaction in all the wrong places? Think about it. What is it that you just absolutely have to have? Luke 12:34 says: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” If, like the words of songwriter Mick Jagger, “I can’t get no satisfaction”, then what exactly do you & I hunger for? Thirst for?
John 7:37-38 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'"
John 4:13-14 Jesus said to her (the Samaritan woman at the Well), "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
What do thirst for (our motivating, driving force) and where do we go for our satisfying water of life and “well being”. Is there anything in our lives that might ruin our appetite for righteousness? Think about it. How would the world be impacted if all truly desired to live life as God intended it to be lived? Is satisfaction – that sense of deep inner contentment – something we can pursue and gain as an end in itself, as so many of us do, or is it a natural by-product of something else? Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:31-33 "Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Providence is defined in my Webster’s New American Dictionary of 1960 as “God’s care for mankind”. Jesus speak to this in the giving of the “Lord’s Prayer” of Matthew 6, instructing us to pray: “Give us this day, our daily bread”. “Give” means that God is the “Giver” of our provision for life and we receive all from our Maker, Lord God. “Us” means that we are not selfishly in this world alone, but to “love our neighbor as ourself”, having compassion and care for all and each other, as God does. “this day, our daily” means (as we read earlier) Life cannot be sustained by simply eating one meal or having an occasional sip of water; rather, the intake of food and water is to be a continual habit of life. So, we ask our Heavenly Father, Creator and Providential Provider to meet our true needs in life, each and every day for living and living in righteousness. “Bread” represents all our needs. So, as life is not comprised of only nourishing our bodies, we ask God to provide the needs of our entire life (body, soul & spirit) to, including His Devine Hand on our life as His precious child seeking first the kingdom of God (his Will, not ours) in righteousness. The sensual flesh of our sin nature thinks otherwise.
James 4:2-4 You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. You adulterous people (meaning spiritual adulatory against God), don’t you know that friendship with the (godless and therefore lawless) world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. The world seeks life satisfaction (doing a this and a trying to do that), apart from God, in darkness. How can we be sure that we have a genuine hunger and thirst for righteousness? We need to focus our attention on the spiritual and not the sensual and physical. What is our continual habit of life and who do we live for?
Psalm 119:1-8, 40 & 123 Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD. Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart. They do nothing wrong; they walk in his ways. You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed. Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees! Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands. I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws. I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me. Behold, I long for Your precepts; Revive me in Your righteousness. My eyes fail from seeking Your salvation and Your righteous word.
John 17:17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
Satisfaction guaranteed! Christ is our righteousness, Brian