Why is it when you have a big meal and have eaten more than your fill, the next you wake up ravenous? We had a lovely meal out last night – we even stretched to two courses, which is very unlike the us to splash out – but this morning I woke up with a growling stomach. I am reminded that rarely in life are we truly and properly hungry – the next meal is never far away and if it is too far a snack or a cup of tea will keep us ticking over. So when I read in the Beatitudes about hunger and thirsting after righteousness it is hard for me to imagine what is really described.
Matthew 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
The word here for hunger is to crave, to be famished. It is such a strong way of describing the intensity of which Jesus says we should be seeking to see God, His justice, His right way. Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes about this verse:
“…we may come to the conclusion that we have nothing to do but to be entirely passive, and to wait quietly for something to happen. That, however, it seems to me, is to do much violence to these terms, ‘hungering and thirsting’. There is an active element in them. People who really want something always give some evidence of the fact. People who really want something with the whole of their being do not sit down, passively waiting for it to come.” Pg 89 Studies in the Sermon on the Mount (IVP 1999)
So the question is what am I hungering for? If people were to examine my life what is it that I am seen to be hungering after – money, comfort, recognition? Am I actively perusing God’s righteousness with a strong craving that can only be filled by Him? I think many times I live my life peckish for God rather than hungering for Him. So I pray a dangerous prayer – dangerous because I will be uncomfortable when God answers it – and ask that He gives me a really craving for Him that cannot be satisfied by anything else.