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Hunger and Thirst…

October 11, 2011

Here’s something I know; throughout the Bible, throughout the entire (meta)narrative of Scripture, we have recordings of men pursuing God.  We have story after story of men like David, and Paul, who were relentless in their pursuit of the Creator.  Historically, I am often humbled by the stories of men like Luther, and Calvin, or men like Spurgeon and the Wesley’s, and even contemporaries like Billy Graham or John Stott whose lives were and are encompassed by the pursuit of their Lord and God.  We see this Biblically…we see this historically…what I ask of myself, all too often, is why don’t I see this locally?   

 Take a minute and read through Matthew 5:1-12 focusing on verse 6 today.  If you’ve been keeping track, these verses should be sounding familiar.  If not…maybe read it twice?

 It’s a powerful statement, isn’t it?  “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”  Listen, all men are chasing after something…we’re all hungering and thirsting for something.  There’s no question…it’s just a fact…that right now, you can sit there and think of the things in your life that you are pursuing.  So there is not a person in the room who can justifiably ask, “What does He mean hunger and thirst?”  We know exactly what Jesus means.  He’s talking about what we commit our energy to…what we give our best effort for…what we focus our resources on.

 You can’t help but go Psalm 42 on this.  You know the one, you remember the deer?  If you say “deer” in a church, every person in the room begins to sing in their head, “As the deer panteth for the water, so my soul longeth after you.”  We’ve turned it into a cute song, but there is nothing cute about it…if you’re the deer.  The deer doesn’t go looking for water unless it’s thirsty…and it doesn’t pant for water unless it is parched.  The animal needs the water to survive.  This is what the psalmist was writing about.  He’s writing about the genuine agony…the pain of longing for the presence of God.  And here’s the thing…it’s longing for it because it knows it’s there.

 C.S Lewis wrote, “If I find in myself desires which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probably explanation is that I was made for another world.”  Now many of us understand this because we’ve felt it…we’ve experienced exactly what Lewis was talking about.  We hunger and we thirst for it…for truth, for holiness, for “right”ness…or, as the Matthew 5:6 says, for “righteousness.”  We’ve seen the broken, and we’ve seen the flawed…we’ve seen plenty of that…and because we understood them to be broken and flawed, we know there must be something whole, and perfect.  This is exactly what Jesus is telling us that we should hunger and thirst for.  Hunger and thirst for righteousness.  The other thing I’d say is this; the deer didn’t carve out the path of the stream or fill it with water.  It had absolutely nothing to do with it at all.  But once it finds it…it stays close…it remembers.  We’re going to continue to hunger and thirst…we run from the living water all the time.  What we have to do…what we absolutely must do…we must remember when He led us to still waters…so we can run back to Him. 

 What Jesus is promising in this passage is that there will come a time…eventually…when we’ll never hunger or thirst again…a time when we’ll be “satisfied.”  If we find ourselves not hungering and thirsting…not pursuing…well, we may not know the source at all.

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