The Beatitudes (Part 8): Blessed are the those we Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness (Part 1)
Order of Service
Those who have a true sense of their sinfulness and a holy hatred for sin, and accept that they have no right to be favourably treated either by God or by other people, have also come to realize not only that they are spiritually destitute and helpless, but that they are utterly undeserving of either sympathy or help.
‘The man who does not like self-examination may be pretty certain that things need examining’
Martyn Lloyd-Jones calls this particular Beatitude ‘the outstanding declaration of the Christian gospel to all who are unhappy about themselves and their spiritual state, and who long for an order and quality of life that they have not hitherto enjoyed’
the promise is not made on the basis of human sincerity or merit, but as part of God’s gracious provision to meet his people’s spiritual need
Outwardly, everything seems fine. They live respectable lives, they attend church regularly, they use religious language, but inwardly and spiritually they are very nearly empty. There is no sense of need, no hungering and thirsting after God. Even worse, they are not aware of it. They are dangerously like members of the New Testament church in Laodicea, to whom God said, ‘You say, “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.” But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked’ (Revelation 3:17).
Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes, ‘I do not know of a better test that anyone can apply to himself or herself in this whole matter of the Christian profession than a verse like this. If this verse is to you one of the most blessed statements of the whole of Scripture you can be quite certain that you are a Christian; if it is not, then you had better examine the foundations again.’
When a professing Christian has little or no appetite for the things of God, something is seriously wrong, even if outwardly everything seems perfectly in order.
‘If you find yourself loving any pleasure better than your prayers, any book better than the Bible, any house better than the house of God, any table better than the Lord’s table, any person better than Christ, any indulgence better than the hope of heaven—take alarm!’
A terrible tragedy is being enacted in our churches today. We have never had so many Bibles, versions of the Bible, and books to help in studying the Bible, yet there seems to be distressingly little hunger and thirst for God. Many seem to have a restless search for ‘power’, exotic spiritual gifts, happiness, peace, emotional ‘highs’, or some other undefined ‘blessing’, but comparatively few seem to have a deep desire to master God’s Word and to be mastered by it.