Blessed Are They Who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness

Apr 05, 2021

The fourth Beatitude, Blessed Are They Who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness, is, to me, the heart of the Beatitudes. To step on this rung of the ladder, after acknowledging that we need God in our poverty of spirit, after mourning our losses and suffering, and after seeing ourselves as meek, just one of billions of human beings loved by God, means that we have totally accepted God’s agenda for our lives: to seek righteousness for everyone, to fulfill our purpose on this earth. To acknowledge our hunger and thirst for righteousness opens our hearts and souls and minds and spirits to God’s agenda for all of His human children and prepares us for the even more difficult tasks to come of being merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, and persecuted because of Jesus Christ.


From this rung of righteousness on up the ladder, our lives are totally dedicated to God. God has healed in us our ego-centricity, our judgments of others, our self-protectiveness, our preference for one kind of people over all the others. He has healed in us much of what keeps us earth-bound and loyal to our cultural values and desires for its citizens. This is what it means to live in His kingdom here on earth: we are dedicated to fulfilling His will and purpose for us. It is not that we won’t sin or make mistakes along the way, but that we will clean up our own messes, make amends where needed and keep our eyes on God in all things.


The Greek word for righteousness, dikaiosyne, means “what is right, justice, the act of doing what is in agreement with God’s standards, the state of being in proper relationship with God.”[1] I turn so often to Paul’s letters and his understanding of his role in following Christ: “For Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” He admits his imperfections and yet keeps his eyes solely on Christ and what he is called to do for the church. Formerly, Paul was a Pharisee, a Jewish persecutor of Christians who was called by Christ to help establish and to foster the early Christian church in the Mediterranean area. He sees his human failings and yet is totally dedicated to the purpose he was given. And how effective he was!


To hunger and thirst for something is to be totally dedicated to making it happen. So, to hunger and thirst for righteousness is to be totally dedicated to bringing it to the forefront in our lives and in the lives of others. Righteousness means that we are seeking to bring God’s sense of justice and adherence to His laws into the world, into our country, into our cities and states, into our lives and interactions, so that everyone would benefit from God’s sense of justice, not the human one. It means that justice is blind, that everyone who commits a crime or violates God’s law would be treated equally no matter their power in the world, their wealth, their poverty, their skin color or any other human attribute. For our God “is just in all his ways, and kind in all his doings (Psalm 145:17).


This fourth rung on the ladder of the Beatitudes means that we have totally accepted God’s ways as our own and are wholly dependent on His Holy Spirit to help us achieve His purpose for us. There is no attachment to human ways any more. There is no egocentricity that rules any more. We are His alone. All His. Thanks be to God!


Questions to ponder over the week: Do I hunger and thirst for righteousness? Is that my highest priority in my life? Is my love so all-consuming that righteousness is at the top of my list of what I want to accomplish?


Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who put our relationship with Him above everything else in our lives. May we hunger and thirst for righteousness for everyone we meet. May God’s purpose for us be fulfilled in our lives.


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[1] Goodrick & Kohlenberger III, Zondervan NIV Exhaustive Concordance, 2nd Edition, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids MI, 1999, Strong’s #1466, p. 1542

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