Blessed Are They Which Do Hunger and Thirst After Righteousness
Righteousness is to keep the whole Word of God; for only God is good; and the whole Word of God was inspired by Jesus Christ and is the LOGOS [the WORD; Jesus Christ] in print.
To become like our Father in heaven, we must internalize the whole Word [righteousness] of God; by hungering and thirsting to learn and keep it with all our hearts.
This is one part of the meaning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, where we are commanded to eat the unleavened bread; representing Jesus Christ [the LOGOS, the WORD] the Bread of Life [Jesus Christ].
We are to eat this unleavened bread; which pictures purity from leaven; picturing Christ-like purity from all uncleanness and sin; and the internalizing of Jesus Christ who is the Word of God.
John 6:33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. 6:34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
We are commanded to eat unleavened bread for the Passover and the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because seven is a picture of completeness, and leaven pictures sin; therefore to be unleavened, is to be free and pure from sin, as God the Father and Christ are pure and free from all sin.
The seven days picturing completeness, demonstrates that we are to continually and completely fill ourselves with the whole Word of God, desiring it as a famished man desires physical food.
We are to hunger and desire with all our hearts to be filled with the nature of the Father and Christ; which is the righteousness of the whole Word of God. We are also to thirst to drink in the whole Word of God and the Spirit of God.
John 4:13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 4:14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
Jesus further explained his meaning on the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles.
John 7:37 In the last day, that great day [day 7 of the Feast of Tabernacles] of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 7:39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
We can only become like God, by learning and doing what God does, by learning, thinking and doing like God thinks and acts! And we can ONLY internalize the nature of God, through a deep passionate hunger and thirst to learn and to keep every Word of God!
If we truly hunger and thirst to be like God and to be filled with the righteousness of God’s Word; and if we follow the Spirit of God to passionately keep the whole Word of God; then we shall be filled with the righteousness of God and his word!
Only those who hunger and thirst to learn and to keep the Word of God may enter into eternal life and the kingdom of God!
Matthew 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven [as defined by the whole Word of God].
Fasting is intended to, among other things; make us hunger and thirst physically, as a practical lesson on how we should be hungering and thirsting spiritually, for the whole Word of God.
Righteousness is the enthusiastic keeping of and living by every Word of God. Do not be confused or misled into thinking that the word of any man or corporate church is the same as the Word of God. Rather test and prove out the words and teachings of men against the Word of God and hold fast only to that which is true by the Word of God.
We are to hunger and thirst after the righteousness of God: NOT to the supposed righteousness of men!
Blessed Are They Which Do Hunger And Thirst After Righteousness: For They Shall Be Filled
The writers of Scripture often apply the analogy of hunger and thirst to illustrate a passionate yearning for God; a longing to be in His divine presence and to be filled with all that He has to offer in way of His righteousness and holiness.
David uses this analogy in several of his psalms; Peter exhorts us to desire the “milk of the word” as a new born babe that craves its mother’s milk; and Jesus uses this analogy in the fourth Beatitude when He says that blessed are those who “hunger” and “thirst” after God’s righteousness.
Psalm 42:1 As the hart [deer] panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
1 Peter 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 2:3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
The Bible uses graphic images of a thirsty deer, a newborn infant, and a man who is famished and parched, to depict what it means to have an inner ravenous hunger and an intense thirst; which illustrates for us the need to have a passionate desire to obtain the righteousness of God which in turn will fill us with true satisfaction.
To hunger and thirst for food and water is something we can all relate to; the analogy gives us a vivid image of what it means to hunger and thirst for the righteousness of God. Just as we have a constant need to be filled with food and water, Jesus says that we are blessed if we seek after God’s righteousness with the same intensity that we would have for physical food if we were starving, or for water if we were very thirsty.
Our need for constant nourishment throughout the day illustrates for us a continuous cycle of taking in food to satisfy our never ending desire to be filled; and likewise Christ is calling His followers to have this same kind of insatiable desire to internalize the righteousness of God. The second half of the Beatitude states a promise that those who do so will be filled.
Just as a parched animal in a dry desert yearns for fresh cool water; those whom God has called out to follow Him and who are seeking Him with all of their hearts, must passionately long to become righteous as Christ is righteous and to be holy as God is holy. To become a child of God we must have a life-long pursuit to be filled with the righteousness of God and to be seeking it most as we live out our lives.
Later in the same sermon, Jesus expands on seeking the righteousness of God and commands us to seek God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness FIRST. The Kingdom and God’s righteousness are synonymous; they go together hand in hand, for you cannot have one without the other.
Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness…
If we want to understand the fourth Beatitude and what it means to hunger and thirst for righteousness, we need to know what Jesus means by the term “righteousness”. What does it mean to be righteous or to have righteousness?
The English Definition of “righteous” from the Merriam Webster Dictionary:
1: acting in accord with divine or moral law: free from guilt or sin
2: godly moral right or justifiable <a righteous decision> based on the word of God. b: arising from an outraged sense of justice or morality<righteous indignation>. righ·teous·ly (adverb) – righ·teous·ness (noun)
Synonyms are: all right, decent, ethical, honest, honorable, just, moral, nice, right, good, right-minded, straight, true, upright, virtuous (Merriam Webster Dictionary)
The English dictionaries define righteousness as “behavior that is morally justifiable or right.” Such behavior is characterized by man’s accepted standards of morality, justice, virtue, or uprightness; but they are not necessarily in accordance with God’s standard as outlined in His Word.
What man defines as righteousness may seem very noble and are generally good things to strive for, but unless we know the Bible’s true definition of what the whole righteousness of God is, we won’t really understand God’s definition of the kind of righteousness which Jesus tells us that we are to thirst and hunger after.
The Bible plainly tells us what it means to be righteous in God’s sight:
Psalm 119:172 My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness.
Deuteronomy 6:24 And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day. 6:25 And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us.
God tells us that all of His commandments are righteous and if we are keeping all of His law, that will constitute our righteousness. It is God’s laws as presented in the whole Word of God, that is the standard that we are to yearn to write upon our hearts and to seek after.
The righteousness of God describes His divine nature, which is His own character; and all of His laws, statutes, ordinances, and judgments are what constitute the kind of righteousness that is of God. (See also Psalm 19:7-14)
The Hebrew word for righteous is tsaddiq (Strong’s # 6662) and is sometimes translated as “just”: Definition: just, lawful, righteous man. (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)
The Greek word for “righteous” is dikaiosuné (Strong’s #1343). Definition: …, justice, justness, righteousness, righteousness of which God is the source or author, but practically: a divine righteousness. (Strong’s Concordance)
HELPS Word-studies 1343 dikaiosýnē (from 1349 /díkē, “a judicial verdict”) – properly, judicial approval (the verdict of approval); in the NT, the approval of God (“divine approval”) and refers to what is deemed right by the Lord (after His examination), i.e. what is approved in His eyes. (HELPS Word-studies)
God’s Word, (in the letter but also in the whole spiritual intent of God’s laws) is the plumb line by which He measures the righteousness of men and women and how they measure up to His standard. The righteousness of God is His divine nature and is characterized by His beautiful mind, His every attribute, every attitude, every behavior, and every word.
In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus demonstrates for us that He wants His followers to emulate all of God’s character, to internalize His divine nature in all that we think, say, and do as we are becoming like Him.
After listing the eight Beatitudes in the introduction of His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus then gives us illustrations of what it means to carry the letter of the law over into the very essence of how those laws are to be kept from the heart and from their very spiritual intent.
Matthew 5:38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 5:39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. 5:40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. 5:41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. 5:42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 5:46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 5:47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
It is this kind of righteousness that Jesus is referring to when He says “blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness….”
When we exhibit the righteousness of God, we are not only becoming like Him but we become His lights in the world of what it means to be righteous and just.
By our examples and by how we are living our lives, God’s people are to show forth the ways of God: this was true in the Old Covenant and is even more stringent in the New Covenant for we are not only to be examples of obeying God in the letter of the Law, but now He wants us to be shining examples of what it means to apply the very things that He is teaching in His sermon; that we are to live according to the very spiritual intent of His commandments and be perfect as His Father in Heaven is perfect.
Matthew 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 5:15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Philippians 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
This was true in Moses’ day and is still true for the Spiritual Nation of God (God’s spiritual People) as we strive to live according to all God’s commandments in this crooked and perverse generation wherever we happen to live and in whatever situation we find ourselves.
Deuteronomy 4:5 Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the Lord my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. 4:6 Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. 4:7 For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for? 4:8 And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?
4:9 Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons; 4:10 Specially the day that thou stoodest before the Lord thy God in Horeb, when the Lord said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.
4:11 And ye came near and stood under the mountain; and the mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness. 4:12 And the Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice.
4:13 And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone. 4:14 And the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it.
The world may not appreciate the fact that we are lights for God at this time, but some day they will look back and know that God’s ways were clearly demonstrated for them by the examples of His people who were living in their midst. And then the seeds that were planted regarding the Kingdom of God and God’s righteousness will sprout when God calls them in the “day of visitation”.
1 Peter 2:12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
Jesus ends chapter 5 by saying that we are to become perfect [complete] as our Father in heaven is perfect [complete]. The whole sermon on the Mount is instruction in righteousness and how we are to become the perfect man.
The fourth Beatitude follows logically from the previous ones and is the fourth step in the process of becoming the “perfect man”. Each virtue is a consecutive link to the other, beginning with the first Beatitude of being poor in spirit and having contrition, humbly acknowledging our spiritual insufficiency before our Creator, seeing ourselves for what we are; not only for the sin we do, but also for the sinful nature that spawns our sins.
In the second Beatitude Jesus shows us that once we acknowledge our sins and our sinful natures, we then need to mourn over those sins, as well as mourn for the destruction and suffering that sin brings not only to ourselves and the ones we have sinned against, but we mourn for the sins of the world as well.
In the third Beatitude, Jesus helps us to see our need to be meek and to always be of a humble, teachable spirit. When we mourn over the evil in our lives and in the world, and if we are meek and filled with humility, this awareness provokes an intense desire to submit to the will of God, to make up for the deficiencies in our character that God is revealing to us even to the point of purging sin from the inner most places of our heart (Psalm 51:6). This leads to the practicality of wanting to replace that evil with God’s righteousness.
The first three Beatitudes serve as the backdrop to preparing us to come to the place where we yearn and desire with all of our hearts to be filled with the righteousness of God; and if we are diligently pursuing His righteousness, as a deer thirsts afters the waters, He promises that He will reward us by filling us with His righteousness.
If we are ever to be conformed to God’s spiritual image, to become as He is; we must have a passionate desire for all the things of God and that desire [yearning] will motivate us to do whatever it takes to obtain those things.
What is hungering and thirsting like? It is similar to motivation, an inner intense desire that pushes a person toward taking action and being willing to do whatever it takes to achieve whatever it is that he wants to do or acquire. Motivation is powered by desire and initiative, and therefore, if those two are absent, motivation is absent also.
When there is strong desire (hunger) for something, it stokes initiative and direction, courage, energy, and the persistence to follow through until we reach our goal; a person with this kind of passion and zeal takes the necessary actions to do what it takes to achieve whatever goal that is set before him.
A vehement desire becomes strong when we have a clear vision, a vivid mental image of what it is that we desire to achieve. When we seek God’s righteousness with a strong desire to achieve it and with a mental picture of it in our mind, this hunger and thirst ignites an inner strength and power, and with the help of God’s Holy Spirit it pushes us forward, until our vision becomes a reality.
Righteousness as defined by God is simply the keeping of all God’s commandments, along with the statutes, ordinances and judgments and the whole Word of God, taking in God’s words, writing them into our hearts and internalizing them into our very being. These are the things we are to passionately hunger and thirst for. We cannot attain to God’s righteousness on our own, we must first seek God’s forgiveness, to be covered by His atoning sacrifice, put on the righteousness of Christ and then live out His righteousness in practical terms by living by every Word of God.
Romans 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13:13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
Ephesians 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 4:23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 4:24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
God through Ezekiel gives us a very succinct description of righteousness and then gives a promise of eternal life if one turns his life to live the way of righteousness.
Ezekiel 18:5 But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right, 18:6 And hath not eaten [sacrificed at pagan high places] upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, neither hath defiled his neighbour’s wife, neither hath come near to a menstruous woman,
18:7 And hath not oppressed any, but hath restored to the debtor his pledge, hath spoiled none by violence, hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment;
18:8 He that hath not given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any increase, that hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, hath executed true judgment between man and man, 18:9 Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just [righteous], he shall surely live, saith the Lord God.
God Has Put a Longing for Eternity Into the Hearts of Man
God created human bodies with the need for food and water in order to sustain life within those bodies. Hunger and thirst are the natural mechanisms by which the body alerts us of those needs.
When we lose the desire for either food and/or water [i.e., lose our appetite] it is often a sign of an underlying health problem. It is the same spiritually; when we cease to hunger and thirst for God and His righteousness it is a sign that there is something wrong spiritually.
Solomon briefly touches upon a profound principle in the book of Ecclesiastes that reveals that man has a vacuum in his spirit that can only be filled by God. Solomon tells us that God “hath set the world in their [men’s] heart”.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.
The Hebrew word for “world” is olam (Strong’s #5769) and it means: long duration, antiquity, futurity. (Strong’s Concordance) Some Bible translators render olam as “eternity”.
So, in essence, when Solomon says “world”; that word is translated from a Hebrew word which means “eternity”. To paraphrase this statement: God has set eternity in men and women’s hearts: a sense of craving for a divine purpose in the inner most being, it is a inexplicable longing which nothing in this world can satisfy, except God.
Yet, until a person is called by God and has the spiritual veil taken from his eyes, man cannot find out [comprehend, grasp] what God’s purpose for their lives and His overall plan is: “from the beginning to the end.”
For those who are called to be the children of God, it is imperative that we seek to fill this longing, this hunger and thirst, with God’s righteousness and the spiritual things that only He can supply. If we do not, then this longing will seek to be satisfied in the material things of the world rather than in the spiritual things of God.
To physically hunger and thirst for nutrient rich healthy food and clean pure water and then to fill our bodies with unhealthy junk food and sugar/chemical laden drinks, is metaphorically like filling our time up with the material things and activities of this world in place of seeking after God and learning how to become more righteous and how we can become molded more fully into His image.
When we continually feed our bodies with empty calories, such food tends to dull our appetite for healthy life-giving food; and instead of desiring healthy foods, we can become addicted to the junk food preferring it to nutrient-rich meals.
The Bible uses the comparison of physical hunger and thirst to the longing we need to have for God’s righteousness and to be filled by it. We can use this analogy even further to illustrate how our need for God is taken over, perhaps without our even being aware of what is happening, by filling our lives with the pursuit of other things rather than the righteousness of God.
Physically, when begin to feel the pangs of hunger, we go into the kitchen, open the refrigerator door and look for something to eat to fill our stomachs and pacify our hunger. When we are short on time, we sometimes want something quick and easy; snacks that will quickly take the hunger away even if it is processed or fast food that is not that good for us.
Likewise, on the spiritual plane, we have a daily spiritual hunger for God that needs to be filled and satisfied. But if we are not in a regular regimen of seeking out His presence and staying close to Him; that hunger may not be recognized for what it is, especially if we have become spiritually sleepy or lethargic or just plain weary.
We will have a sense that we are hungry for something, and it may come in the way of an empty feeling, a longing, perhaps an uneasiness in our spirit. If we are not looking to God, we will feel a need to fill that longing by physical means, whether it is turn on the TV, look at the computer, read books, travel somewhere, perhaps to go shopping and buy stuff, seeking out social activities, etc.
As humans we tend to think that these things and activities will somehow make this emptiness go away, so we try to fill up the void with other things other than God and seeking to be with Him.
In essence, we try to appease that inner spiritual hunger with physical things, not the spiritual things that our spirit really needs; and just as we do we when feel physical hunger, we look for empty calorie snacks; junk food to make the hunger pangs go away. As a result we are not being filled with the things our body really needs and our health suffers because we are not feeding on the kind of food that makes the body healthy and strong. It is the same spiritually.
If we seek our fulfillment in the things of this world, that will tend to dull our spiritual appetite and we become addicted to the things that take away from a healthy, vigorous appetite for the things of God; namely His righteousness, the learning and zealously applying the whole Word of God to our heart and growing in character.
That is why it is so important to stay in the Word, to not go looking for “truth” from teachers that we know are not in harmony with sound doctrine. It is easy to begin to look to Websites that claim to know what is going to happen and how prophecy is going to be worked out, but if these Websites or false teachers are far from God and His doctrines and are teaching nonsensical things in other areas that we know to be untrue, it is best to flee from them.
2 John 1:8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. 1:9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. 1:10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 1:11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.
We know these things but it is so easy with our modern day technology to access any website or any false teacher at the click of a mouse and when we get tired or lazy we can fill our time “looking” at what others have to say regarding matters that spark our curiosity or seem to be a satisfying way to spend our time.
When we go looking for other things to fill up that void that we have for God, we can become accustomed to the junk food and even become addicted to it for we think that the junk food is satisfying our spiritual hunger but in reality it is not. It is only a temporarily fix and the more we substitute the junk food for the spiritual things that truly do satisfy, the more we dull our appetite for the things of God and desiring His righteousness.
We see this everywhere in the world, as unbelievers look for happiness and fulfillment in all areas except in God’s truth and righteous living. The carnal people of the world go wholeheartedly after relationships, wealth and the things that money can buy, power, fame, pleasure seeking, entertainment and immorality of every kind.
But as God’s people those who are the called out by God, we must not let our appetite for God and His righteousness ever become dulled by the distractions and material things of this world. When we fill our lives with other things, we can become so satiated by them that we no longer have a healthy hunger and thirst for the things of God.
When we fill our days with all kinds of pursuits, activities, projects, social events, social media; things that may not be evil in themselves, but if pursue them overmuch we leave no room for the more spiritually enriching activities. These physical things may not be sinful at all, but if we fill up our days pursuing these things more than seeking after God, they tend to fill us up (like junk food) and by the end of the day we do not have the time or the desire to feast on God’s Word, spending time in prayer, and contemplating on the things we are learning from our study and our life’s experiences.
There is spiritual danger in all of this, for while we are pursuing other things and other activities to fill up our lives, we are at the same time neglecting to spend time with God and we are missing out on the healthy nutritious [spiritual] food that our spirit needs. As we fill our lives up with the physical things of this world, we may not even be aware that our hunger and thirst for the righteousness and the closeness of God has faded, and may have dissipated altogether.
As our lives become so busy and preoccupied with so many things, we start to have little or no time to hunger and thirst for God. At the end of the week we may be exhausted from all of our busyness hoping to make up for our lack of time with God during the week by spending extra time on the Sabbath. But this is like going without food for a few days and then binging which is not healthy either.
That is not hunger and thirsting after God’s righteousness like someone who is hungering for Him from the depths of his being. The writers of Scripture made frequent references to the metaphor of a starving and thirsty animal or person, to that of the man of God who has a deep longing for the righteousness and the things of God. It is only by taking in of the bread of life and of His living waters that will refresh and restore and keep us sustained.
Psalm 63:10 God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.
Psalm 42:1 As the hart [deer] panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
The spiritual food and water that God gives is not only spiritually nourishing, but also life-giving; and not just in the physical sense, but that which leads to everlasting spiritual life. For only those who diligently seek after the righteousness of God with all of their hearts will be in God’s Kingdom.
Jesus Christ has much to say about this in other places that expand upon what the Beatitudes teach us.
John 4:13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 4:14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
John 7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
The servants of God in both the Old and the New Testaments had a deep desire to know God, to please Him and to be filled with His righteousness. To hunger and thirst for the righteousness of God is to be on fire for Him, to be hot for the things of God and to desire to be like Him in all of His divine nature and attributes. On the other hand, to not have much of an appetite for these things can be compared to those whose love has grown cold.
Matthew 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall grow cold.
The Laodiceans (as depicted in Revelation 3:14-22) are not really cold, but have become lukewarm in their hunger for God’s righteousness, which means that they are neither hot nor cold. They have let their hunger and thirst for God and His righteousness get DULL.
God says through the apostle John, that the Laodicians think that they are rich, increased with goods and have need of nothing. These members of the Ekklesia say that they are full already; therefore they do not have strong appetites for God’s truth and righteousness anymore because they believe that they are already righteous, and have enough knowledge and understanding so therefore do not need any more.
They have stopped looking for God’s righteousness and for more understanding into God’s Word, for they have been taught that they must just believe and follow what their religious leaders tell them and that they do not have to search out and prove by the Scriptures as to what is truth and what is true righteousness.
Revelation 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
Most of the modern day Ekklesia is lacking in this deep hungering and thirsting for God’s righteousness. We are too satisfied with the teachings that we received in the past and with our organizations, and looking to our leaders to tell us what we are to do and what we are to believe. The focus of the organization’s righteousness (or measure of) tends to be on the counts of heads, their building projects, their many excellent and varied social activities, how much income they are bringing in, and think that God is blessing them because of the many physical blessings therefore they do not see their need to hunger and thirst for the true righteousness of God any more.
Brethren, we really do need a REVIVAL, an awakening to our need for wholesome food; wholesome spiritual food which is right knowledge, restored truth with deeper understanding, along with the righteousness of God. We need to stoke ravenous appetites that can be liken to the zeal and passion in a person’s heart who wants to search out the precious gold nuggets of God’s truth and to zealously apply them to his life.
We as the collective Body of Christ need to be cleansed of all unrighteousness, of our false traditions and looking to men and organizations, and our Laodicean attitudes, the mindsets that have been ingrained into our mindsets by past teachers who did not fully understand or adequately prove the things that they taught.
We need to repent and seek to be filled with God’s righteous doctrines and truth even in the deepest crevices of our hearts and come out from false traditions and mindless following of others who say that they are our leaders, but who in truth, refuse to address questions and concerns that those who are waking up ask of them.
What is the solution? How then, can we individually and collectively begin to develop a vehement hunger and thirst for God and His righteousness? How do we rekindle the love of God and a love for His truth within us and begin to seek Him with all that we have? How do we start a revival within the Ekklesia of today in the years we have left before Christ’s return?
Fasting To Renew our Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness
We need to go to God and pray that He will renew an intense desire and longing in us for Him, rather than for the things of this world and for our leaders and our religious organizations. We have spiritual tools at our disposal and one of those tools is prayer coupled with fasting!
Joel 2:12 Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:
If the Son of God fasted to receive power from His Father, how much more we mere humans need to follow His example to receive the power we need to overcome and to know that we are to live by every Word of God which sustains us spiritually just as physical bread sustains us physically.
The Hebrew word for “fast” is tsum (Strong’s #6684) and literally means , “to cover the mouth”, in other words to “abstain from food”. A true fast, by definition, involves covering one’s mouth which indicates abstaining completely from food and water.
We all know that when we take in food for our physical bodies, the food sustains and nourishes our bodies; healthy food is absolutely necessary for life, and for babies and children to grow to be strong healthy adults. When we eat food, we literally take in the nutrients and the elements that the earth produces and it nourishes us and also becomes a part of our bodies. The eating of food also provides us with an analogy of what God wants for His children in way of taking in of His divine nature by the things that we feed our minds and spirit with.
When we study the Word of God and apply it to our lives, we are taking in spiritual nourishment and making those things a part of our character and we, over time, internalize the divine nature of God as we are becoming more and more like Him. The object lesson of eating food for our physical bodies gives us a graphic picture of what it means to truly nourish our minds and hearts and make God’s own nature our own as we fill up our mind with every word that proceeds out of God’s own mouth which is the Bible, the whole Word of God.
When we eat physical food it sustains us during our temporary lifetimes, but ultimately we all succumb to illness, accidents, and/or aging and eventually at some point this life comes to an end. But if we feed on God’s Word and apply it to our lives, we have the potential of being a part of the resurrection to spirit with everlasting life.
In the long term, God’s spiritual food is much more valuable and precious and its effects are much more lasting than the physical food that we eat. Jesus made this very clear when He told Satan in the wilderness when He was being tempted: “It is written: Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4).
When we fast, we become acutely aware of physical hunger which reminds us of our need for the spiritual things that are even more important than our physical food. Satan tried to tempt Jesus to satisfy His hunger with the material bread and Jesus responded by saying that men must not be concern for only physical food, but to seek to live by every Word of God.
Taking in physical food serves as an allegory of taking in of the Word of God as our necessary food that nourishes and sustains our spiritual life similar to the way that physical food nourishes and sustains our physical life. What does the spiritual food produce? If we are diligently wholeheartedly striving to learn of God and seek to apply the things we are learning from His Word, we will be filled with His RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Just as food strengthens and maintains our bodies, the Word of God nourishes, fuels and strengthens our inner man. Notice what both David and Jeremiah said in regard to the pleasure of eating the words of God by comparing it to food we think of as delicious and mouth-watering.
Psalm 119:103 How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Jeremiah 15:16 Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts.
When we fast, we give up all food and drink, and we are acutely reminded that our true sustenance is from God and the indwelling of His Holy Spirit. We choose for a set period of time to deny our physical cravings for physical food to focus on our spiritual cravings for the spiritual things of God.
We deliberately focus on what God offers us in way of spiritual food and seek it just as much as we crave physical food and in this way we satisfy a spiritual hunger which takes priority over physical hunger for the duration of our fast.
As we fast we must discipline ourselves to keep our focus on God and on what He wants to fill us with. We still get pangs of hunger and experience the weakness and physical symptoms of not eating, but we acknowledge that those symptoms remind us of our deep need for God’s strength to resist our physical cravings and the temptations of Satan and of the world.
Fasting is not an attempt to make God do anything, or to impress Him with our sacrifice of not eating; it is not a hunger strike to refrain from eating until we get what we want. It is a tool we use to humble ourselves to draw closer to God and to seek His will for us. By fasting, we replace our natural hunger for food and the pleasure that food brings, for the deep spiritual things of God. Fasting is a tool that draws us closer to God and is something we need to utilize, perhaps more than we realize.
James 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. 4:5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 4:9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
We fast to humble ourselves before our Great God, to seek to draw closer to Him and His spiritual reality. When we fast we detach ourselves from the things of this world to have our minds free to concentrate on God. We then can pray for Him to show us our hidden personal sins or deceptions that we may be blind to, and ask for forgiveness and help to overcome; or to beseech Him for protection and deliverance from Satan knowing that we are powerless on our own to fight him off and resist his bait.
God knows everything about us and He knows everything that we have need of. Fasting is a way of shutting down the world around us so we can tune out the noises and voices that so easily distract us so that we can clearly hear God’s voice and hear what He has to say to us.
Fasting serves as a means of intensifying our spiritual awareness so that God can get through to us and so we are more open to hear His Word. We empty ourselves of our own desires and cravings and He can then fill us with His Holy Spirit along with a healthy desire for the things that produce righteousness.
There may be a need to fast from the things and activities that have taken over our lives and schedules as well, to help us to get refocused on the things that really matter. By fasting from the many material things and activities that take up too much of our time, that too, serves to replace the desire for those things with the hungering and thirsting for the things of God.
If we have been allowing a hectic social life or all the different forms of entertainment and social media to squeeze out time for God, we perhaps need to fast from those things and run to our Father and ask Him to restore our hunger and thirst for Him and His Word. Prayer and fasting helps us to reevaluate our priorities in life and as we draw closer to God He will reveal things to us that we need to change.
In the natural world, health advocates stress the benefits of fasting to clear out all of the junk and toxicity that fills us as a result of living an unhealthy life style and consuming an unhealthy diet. Just like fasting for physical reasons, fasting for spiritual reasons can restore a person’s natural desire to be filled with wholesome nutrient rich spiritual food rather than craving the things that do nothing for our spiritual state and can even be harmful. Heartfelt spiritual fasting is a powerful tool that can clear out all the spiritual clutter and restore a healthy appetite and enthusiasm for the things of God.
2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
The Value of Seeking God’s Righteousness Above All Else
As God is pure, His children are to be pure from all sin, so they need to diligently seek to live a clean and righteous life, keeping all of God’s commandments and striving to keep their lives undefiled from the corruption that is in the world.
We must make this goal part of our daily pursuit so that we continue to grow in the holiness and righteousness of God. We need to zealously apply ourselves in making the necessary sacrifices to seek time to be with God and abiding in Him every day.
It pleases God when are zealous to do whatever it takes to prepare ourselves for our future roles in His Kingdom and that we are making every effort to grow in the spiritual image of Him. This should be our goal and we will obtain the goal if we continue to hunger and thirst for His righteousness for as long as we shall live.
In Matthew 6:33 Jesus commands us to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” and then He makes a promise: “all theses things shall be added unto you.”
It is not what we gain physically in this life that matters most, it is what we become in this life that matters.
Jesus instructs us to seek, most importantly, His kingdom, His righteousness, His spiritual blessings, His favor, to grow in His image, and for a life that is pleasing to Him. As we see in this Scripture, this is not just a suggestion as to what we should do with our lives, but Jesus tells us how this must be our highest priority in life. This fits perfectly with the hungering and thirsting metaphor; it is not enough to go through life just saying this is what we should be doing with a lackadaisical attitude, but according to Jesus; God’s Kingdom and His righteousness are the very top priorities in all of life; seeking God’s righteousness is pivotal. Note how Jesus emphasized this important principle to His friends while visiting in the home of Lazarus, Martha and Mary.
Luke 10:38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
10:39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. 10:40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. 10:41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 10:42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
Martha liked to serve and there were things that she felt needed to be done. She must have been a very gracious and hospitable host on this day toward her special Guest and the other friends that had come to visit in her home. But her younger sister Mary dropped everything to take advantage of the opportunity to learn at the feet of her Savior who holds the keys to life and teaches the way of salvation.
From what we read, we sense that she became oblivious to the details of serving and the fact that she was not helping Martha, because she was so enamored with Jesus’ presence and wanted to hear all that He was teaching to those who were in attendance, taking in everything He had to say. Jesus made good use of this incident as a teaching moment to teach a lesson showing us how vital it is to seek Him while we have opportunity and that it is the one thing that should come before seeking anything else in life.
We know that the world does not have righteousness as it’s top priority, and in fact the unconverted are very far from even attempting to seek after God’s righteousness. As God’s people, we must have this burning desire as we have been given so much, and like Mary, we have been given the privilege of seeking Christ and His Word now at this present time; to sit at His feet and to learn to walk in all His ways, while the people of this world are still groping in the dark and in the maze of this world’s deceptive and evil matrix.
If God is calling us and converting us, He has given us this golden opportunity as a gift by allowing us to know Him and His truth at this time. Our heavenly Father has given us the PRIVILEGE of being taught in this present evil world as a type of on-the-job training program for being a worker (a leader and teacher) in His Kingdom.
The potential to become all that God has designed us to be has come to us as a result of God’s grace in calling us. The tools that He has provided and made available for us to utilize in our life-long pursuit of Him are tremendous beyond description if we will only seek those things out and put them first before all else.
Jesus says it is our responsibility to seek after what God has made accessible to us. When God gives someone a responsibility, He also, by grace, provides the means for him to accomplish it. Are we striving to please Him, making the most of the tools He provides us with hungering and thirsting to know Him and to be with Him? Are we walking worthy of the vocation to which God is calling us to, by using all the means He has given that make that possible?
Ephesians 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.
If we keep asking God for His Holy Spirit and the fruits of His Spirit, studying His Word daily, asking Him to give us more of His wisdom and truth, we will grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord. We must keep desiring God above everything and everyone else, making all spiritual effort to do His will and to keep all of His Word, and spiritual growth will surely take place.
2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
At every opportunity do what is right and lawful; when making decisions, take the path that best fulfills His commandments and precepts, and He will guide and lead you in the right direction, even if it looks difficult and uncertain at the time.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
We will never be offered anything more valuable than this precious opportunity to become as God is, to be made into His likeness and to have the hope for a wonderful future that He has planned for us for all eternity if we accept His invitation to come and follow Him and live for Him with all of our hearts.
The most profitable thing in this life we can do is to go after God’s righteousness and seek to grow in it and never let go of it. Can any other goal in this present temporary life even begin to compare to what God has in store for His children? We must not forfeit the opportunity that God has so graciously given to us for so great a salvation.
John 12:26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.
Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. 2:2 For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; 2:3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;
We must not neglect God’s calling and the awesome potential that He offers to us to become like Him and to serve Him for all eternity! If we are seeking God with all of our hearts, we will do all in our power to not become neglectful in communicating with Him and doing all that He has shown us. We must not be like Esau who sold His birthright for a bowl of pottage (Genesis 25:29-34)
What Is The Filling and How Are We filled?
In the second half of this Beatitude God gives another promise; He says that they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled.
Matthew 5:6 Blessed Are They Which Do Hunger And Thirst After Righteousness: For They Shall Be Filled.
What does God fill us with and what does it mean: “…..for they shall be filled”?
David prayed “open thou mine eyes, [the eyes of my understanding] that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” (Psalm 119:18)
We can marvel at all the good things that God has for those who seek His righteousness and what He promises to fill us up with; and in awe give Him thanks. It is so awesome, Brethren, when we think of all the marvelous things that God will fill us with if we seek after His righteousness. He will fill us with His Holy Spirit and His righteous character and there is nothing in this life that we might seek to obtain that could ever compare to the kind of gifts He gives to His faithful children. And one of His most precious gifts is the gift of His Holy Spirit and to be filled with it.
In Ephesians 5:17-18 we are told by Paul to be “filled with the Spirit” and that it is God’s will that we do so.
Ephesians 5:17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
And how are we filled with God’s Holy Spirit? We are told that it is given to those who obey Him in all things:
Acts 5:32 ….And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, [Holy Spirit] whom God hath given to them that obey him.
The more we seek God’s righteousness, the more we will be filled with His Spirit and we will be filled with even more of His righteousness and we will come to understand even more of God’s truth.
Proverbs 1:23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.
Psalm 111:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.
Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
Hosea 10:12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.
Isaiah 55:1 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 55:2 Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.
Whatever we invest ourselves in; the things that we take in; the things that we embrace; that is what goes into our hearts and is what we will manifest in our lives by our thoughts, words and actions. If we are seeking the things of God and filling our minds up with His thoughts, His words, His precepts, then those are the things that will fill up our hearts and pour forth out of our mouths and motivate us in righteous living.
Matthew 12:35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.
Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 6:8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
If we are sowing in the spiritual things, what kind of godly attributes will we be filled with and therefore manifest? God will fill us with the fruits of His very own Spirit. The fruits we will be filled with are:
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
If we are seeking after the righteousness of God, we will come to approve things that are excellent, for we will be discerning of the things that are noble and excellent and we will love the same kind of things that God approves of and loves; we will be filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ and will be a glory and praise unto God (not of ourselves but it is by Him!).
Philippians 1:10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ. 1:11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
To be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding is worth more than all the fine gold in the world!
Colossians 1:9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 1:10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
To know the depths of Christ’s love for us and to be filled with all the fullness of God is what Paul prayed for the brethren in Ephesus, and we, too, can pray this for ourselves and for others. What a delight and joy to be able to understand these things and to experience the understanding of God’s Great Purpose and Plan that He has for all of mankind.
Ephesians 3:18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 3:19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
And if we labor (hunger and thirst) for the things of God and seek Him rather than seeking after the temporary things of this world (the things that do not really profit), we will reap eternal life with God in His glorious Kingdom forever.
John 6:27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.
Isaiah 56:1 Thus saith the Lord, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed.
As we read and studied the first three of the Beatitudes, this one too, brings so many companion Scriptures with their promises to mind. This fourth Beatitude also has a promise, that God will reward us with being filled with all the good things that we could possibility ever need or want.
Psalm 107:9 For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.
We Are Being Conformed to God’s Image
When we remember what it was like when God first started to call us, we realize that this hunger for righteousness was created by God and was instilled in us when we first began to walk with Him. It was our heavenly Father that invited us to embark on a journey to learn how to follow Him and His Son with His offer of an on-the-job-spiritual training program to become kings and priests under Him in His Kingdom.
When God created a hunger and thirst in us, it is so that we will crave to know Him, to want to be like Him, to understand what His will is so that we can please Him with our whole life and to have the same mind as He does (Philippians 2:5).
We must daily desire to be filled with the things that He is filled with; to have His character traits engraved into our very being. It is not a one-time hunger or a one time filling but we must be continually seeking for God’s righteousness; it is an on-going, day by day process; we are His children under construction.
God is creating and fashioning us into His spiritual image; continuing the physical creation that He began at our birth; after calling us to His righteous way of living, He is now transforming us to into spiritual creations. Genesis 2:26-27 tells us about how God created man and woman to be in made His image, but there are many Scriptures throughout God’s Word that tell us that we are to be made into Christ’s spiritual image as future spiritual children of the very God of all creation, and that we will be made a member of His Family and live with Him throughout eternity.
He gives us His Holy Spirit as a helper and as a guide if we take advantage of all that He has to offer. And His Spirit guides us to God’s truth and to the knowledge of how we can partake of the heritage that we will share with Christ.
John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 16:14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 16:15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
Romans 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
He fills us with so many good things that our cup becomes full to the brim and then runs over all with all that He has to give; including the understanding we can have of what lays ahead for those who endure to the end and go on to become members of His Family.
If we hunger and thirst after God and His righteousness now while we have this life and we apply it to our character, then as written in Scripture, we have this awe-inspiring promise; that we will never hunger or thirst ever again physically but will be filled with the living waters that come forth from our Great God.
Revelation 7:16 They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore. 7:17 for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters.
Our Prayer for Righteousness
We need to pray for ourselves and for the Ekklesia that God would help us all to hunger and thirst for more of His righteousness; to pray constantly that God would reveal to us the things that we need to repent of and that we would seek to have more of His understanding in the things that we need to grow in; to pray that we would desire to become one with the Father and with His Son (rather than to be one with those who do not hunger and thirst for righteousness) in the days and years ahead and that He would sanctify His bride, make her holy and help her to be filled with His righteousness as the return of Christ looms ever closer.
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 5:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Hebrews 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. 10:23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
Let our hungering and thirsting for God’s righteousness drive us to a passionate, relentless pursuit to be at one and in full unity with our Father and with our Espoused Husband Jesus Christ. God promises that if we will hunger and thirst for Him and His righteousness above all else, that we will be filled.
Isaiah 45:8 Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the Lord have created it
2 Peter 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. 3:14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
And look at this astounding promise from God in the Book of Daniel. It is easy to read over this and not be in complete awe of what God is saying. He is saying that some day in the future (and we are now much more closer than Daniel was in his time) there is going to be an END of transgression, an END of all sin. This prophecy says that the earth will be filled with everlasting RIGHTEOUSNESS and that all the visions and prophecies are going to be fulfilled and then He says “to anoint the Most Holy” who, of course, is Jesus Christ who is going to come back to earth in all of His glory and will reign over the whole earth as King of kings, and Lord of lords.
This is what God’s people are to long and yearn for, as well as seeking righteousness for themselves. This is a promise and it is going to happen! There will be no more sin anywhere in the world or in the whole universe when God’s whole plan is fulfilled and every last vestige of sin is thrown into the Lake of Fire.
Daniel 9:24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
Jesus tells us in Revelation 22 that the fountain of life will be made available to all who thirst and that He will in no way turn anyone away who desires to drink.
But for those who are being called in this age, our time is now. For the disciples of Christ who hunger and thirst for His righteousness, the way has been made available and we have access to drink freely of God’s Word and to take in of the Bread of Life as much as we desire.
Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
Have a wonderful Sabbath, everyone,
Psalm 42 Commentary
Hope Thou in God
To the chief Musician, Maschil, for the sons of Korah.
Psalm 42:1 As the hart [deer] panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. 42:2 My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?
The word “panting” brings to mind a powerful description of the psalmist’s deep yearning for God, to long to come into His fellowship and to come before His presence. Just as a deer is thirsty and pants for fresh waster, so the psalmist is desirous for God to be in his life again. He desperately wants to do whatever it takes to be close to God once again, so he is seeking Him just as a parched animal seeks after water to satisfy it’s thirst.
It seems that the psalmist has become separated for some reason and is far from his home, far from the place of worship. We cannot know the time this was written so this could be referring to either the Tabernacle or God’s Temple in Jerusalem; the psalmist finds himself far from the place that is called the House of God and far from his homeland. This could also be a metaphor for being separated from God because of sin in his life and/or a lack of zeal for keeping all of God’s commandments with all of his heart and he is feeling cut off from Him.
Psalm 42:3 My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?
The psalmist is mourning and in despair because his cruel enemies are persecuting and mocking him. They want to know where is his God now; and why has He allowed him to experience troubles; if his God is so powerful and loving, as the psalmist has witnessed to them, then why doesn’t His God help him? At this point the psalmist is so despondent and depressed that all he can do is weep and cry out to God.
Psalm 42:4 When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holy day.
During this time of depression and separation from God, the psalmist recalls the past when his relationship with God was good and he rejoiced in participating in the worship processions with other worshipers at God’s appointed times, the new moon and the Holy Day festivities. He has memories of when he and his companions would all freely and joyfully walk to the house of God. He is reminiscing of the time when he could have free access to God.
Psalm 42:5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.
The psalmist is contemplative, thinking about the circumstances that he finds himself in, as he asks “why am I distraught and in despair? I must hope in God and even though I am going through these trials, I must look to Him to help me to get through this.”
This verse brings to mind another psalm in which the writer says to himself “be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). The psalmist continues, in essence saying, “I can have confidence that my hope in God will bring salvation and deliverance if I seek Him with all my heart and do not forsake the keeping of His commandments and all of His ways.” In his agony of spirit, he is pouring himself out to God, while reminding himself of God’s faithfulness.
Psalm 42:6 O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar.
Here is a repeat of the state of the psalmist’s mental anguish as he perceives it; he then remembers God’s grace and provision that provide a bulwark against depression in the present even though he is far away and in distress. He mentions that he is, at that time, in the land of Jordan and Hermon, and Mizar; (Mt. Hermon is the mountain range at the far north of Israel’s boundaries, near the source of the Jordan River. Mizar is of unknown location.)
In the second half of the psalm (verses 7-11), the psalmist sorrows greatly. He uses various analogies to express his intense feelings of fear and depression. Turbulent waves, along with sounds of billowing waters, are a well-known metaphor of despair and trouble in the Bible. (Psalm 18:4; Psalm 32:6; Psalm 46:2-3; Psalm 69:1-2; Psalm 114:3).
Psalm 42:7 Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.
Psalm 42:8 Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.
The psalmist calms himself with thoughts of God’s mercy and lovingkindess, and by the fact that he can experience God’s presence (both during the daytime and nighttime) as one who is in a covenant relationship with Him and who acknowledges His rule over him.
He prays to God, knowing that God gives lasting promises to His children, and he reminds himself that this is true even when he feels sorrow and when he is going through difficult trials.
Psalm 42:9 I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
Verse 9 is a agonizing cry to God who appears to have forgotten him, as his troubles are so great that it seems as if God has forgotten him. The psalmist is again pouring out his agony of spirit to God because he is in so much mental pain. He says in his heart, “Where is God when I am in a far country, separated from my home and His Temple in this strange place and taunted by unbelievers, my enemies? Why doesn’t God seem to hear my cries and my prayer? Why doesn’t he intervene to change my circumstances?” From the beginning though, he acknowledges that God is his Rock.
Psalm 42:10 As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?
The psalmist experiences the same kind of reproach from his enemies that Christ received from those who mocked Him on the cross; and this is how our enemies mock us when they see that we are going through trials and it appears to them as if God has abandoned us.
In their mind, this validates what they believe about God as if our troubles are proof that they are right; that there is no God or that we are following a false and undependable God.
They seem to be saying that those who suffer, even though they belong to Christ, deserve what they are getting for they have put their hope in a God, that they, (our enemies) have no regard for. “Where is your God when you need him? Where is your God now?”
When we hear these things from others, especially our beloved family members and friends, and when they abandon us that can be a cause for intense grieving and deep depression. “Where is God indeed?” and they try to get us to believe as they do, “that there is no God”.
Matthew 27:41 Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, 27:42 He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. 27:43 He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.
Psalm 42:11 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
The psalmist in his deep meditation and in his attempt to process what he is going through, asks these disparaging questions in faith, and then he acknowledges that God is his Rock, his Deliverer and his Rock Solid Foundation.
As a believer and as one of God’s dear children, the psalmist cannot help but conclude that he must put his hope and trust in his Lord when he finds himself in the midst of challenging and painful circumstances.
Verse 11 is a refrain of verse 5, and the psalmist again exhorts himself to put his hope in God. It is from his Rock that his deliverance will come and he expresses his intent to praise God for all His help and for the COMFORT that he received while he went through this time of great discouragement.
The psalmist reminds himself of a great certainty; to “hope in God” and this exhortation brings comfort and lifts his anguish in his efforts to overcome his depression. He then draws consolation based on the character of the God he trusts, and then exclaims: “I will yet praise him.”
To “hope in God” is a reassuring promise to all of God’s people when they have faith that God is constant and that He does not change. We, too, can tell ourselves when we are embroiled in hard trials, that: “God is the same, and therefore his purposes for me have not changed. He has led me to victories over problems and sustained me when going through them in times past. He will do so again. Therefore, instead of looking at my current circumstances as hopeless and something that will defeat me, I will remember how past troubles (that seemed insurmountable at the time), were eventually remedied and healed and I was able to get past them or to accept them.”
We can find multiple examples of this in the lives of the men and women of God; people like Abraham and Sarah, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David, Jeremiah, Elijah, who experienced similar emotions over what was happening to them at the time of their hardships.
The writer of this psalm is trying to teach us that we, too, can put our hope in God in times when we are discouraged, depressed and overwhelmed by the burdens that this life throws at us from time to time; whether those burdens are caused by God to discipline us for our sins, from the persecution of others, from loneliness, from sicknesses, financial problems, or from just having to live in this present evil world while we wait for our redemption and the day when those who remain faithful, will be permanently delivered at the time of the Resurrection.
As the days and years get ever darker in this pivotal time in the history of mankind just as we see the tribulation encroaching ever closer, this is a very good psalm to reflect upon, admonishing us to seek our peace in God and to not put our trust in the things of this world, nor become distraught because of the things we see happening all around us in the world.
The prophet Habakkuk found solace in God just as the psalmist did in his Psalm.
Habakkuk 3:16 When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble: when he cometh up unto the people, he will invade them with his troops. 3:17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: 3:18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. 3:19 The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.
The psalmist of Psalm 42, in addressing the pain of his own problems, is also speaking a message of exhortation and consolation to all of God’s faithful children.
As the scattered Ekklesia of God we sometimes can feel isolated and far from our brethren; many of us are unable to assemble with other brethren on the Sabbath; and for some it is impossible to keep the Feasts with the multitude because of circumstances beyond our control; but this is actually working for our good for we will be even better prepared to be kings and priests in the coming Kingdom. Do you know why? We can compare the message of Psalm 42 to what the prophet Isaiah had to say about what will we be doing in the opening days and months and perhaps the first few years of the Kingdom of God on earth? Read the whole chapter of Isaiah 61! Just as we were by Christ in our lifetime called to be firstfruits, we, too, will be freeing a world that has been held captive, not just in the Tribulation years, but held captive all their lives in the bondage to sin and the effects that sin produces.
The called out of God, who have been through harsh trials of all kinds but then put their trust in God, who were faithful until the end…will be healing the broken hearted, comforting those that mourn, proclaiming freedom for the captive and release from darkness for the prisoners; all who have been far from the temple and from their true homeland..in essence far from God. We will be able to comfort them with the message to put their hope in God and that He alone can bring spiritual health and restoration, and then give them “beauty for ashes”.
Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;61:2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified. 61:4 And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.
The awesome message of Psalm 42 is “Put Your hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him who is the health of my countenance, and my God……”
James Malm and Constance Belanger
Note- Constance submitted the original rough draft of this article in 2014, which I then completed for posting.