AFReG Devotions 2022

8 February 2022

They that Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness

Matthew 5:6 – Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.

Most people know what it feels like to have hunger pangs and to be thirsty especially on a hot humid day. It is not an easy place to be when one is physically hungry or thirsty. To have similar sensations because of the frustration of experiencing evil, injustice and the rampant sinful choices in our communities and nations and longing to do something about it is something else.

The beatitudes are countercultural and point to values that people do not normally associate with blessings. Righteousness in the Old Testament is translated from the Hebrew root “sdq” and it also means justice. In the New Testament (including in Matthew 5) the word “righteousness” is translated from the Greek word “dikaiousouni,” which denotes right relationships; a right relationship with God and right relationships at the human-human level. If we have right relations with God, we will treat human beings justly and would not want to oppress them or deprive them of their God-given rights. 

The world is so filled with wrong relationships. People are suffering because of the self-centeredness of the world and its systems. There are so many hungry people in the world, and people who suffer injustice because of the color of their skin or because of their class or because they are from a different tribe. The inequalities experienced in the world today are all expressions of wrong relationships. 

To belong to the blessed community that Jesus is calling for here is to be countercultural. To long intensely for God’s righteousness to the point that it is described as hungering for and thirsting for it is not a usual experience in our broken world. 

This beatitude is clearly indicating that those who are so committed to right relationships; coming into a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s justice in the world and are eager to do everything to ensure that no one is oppressed or victimized, are blessed. Such people are usually so frustrated with the ways in which sin and injustice have taken hold of the world that they are longing for God to change them and to give them passion for acting to bring right relationships and transformation in the world. Their longing is so great that it feels like hunger and thirst. 

The beatitude promises satisfaction. Such people shall be filled. When we first get our relationship with God right, by trusting the Lord Jesus Christ, we already have the beginnings of satisfaction. When this relationship leads us to fight for a better world in which injustice is dethroned, we will be blessed. “Hungering for” and “thirsting for” cannot be a docile “wanting.” It results in actively praying for and acting to bring on God’s transformation in this broken world. 

Prayer: Lord God give us the deep hunger and thirst for Your righteousness and let us willingly respond to Your call to be Your instruments for transformation and right relationships in this broken world.