Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.Matthew 5:6
We are continuing our series on the Beatitudes. Today, we will examine the fourth Beatitude found in Matthew 5:6. You can go back and read the last three posts if you haven’t already.
We didn’t have much growing up. My father had a stroke that paralyzed him on his right side. With a fairly young family, he could now, no longer work. My mom had five girls to care for at that time, so it was difficult for her to work outside the home.
We had a farm, so we helped plant, water, and weed our large garden and played outside all day in the nice weather.
By the time Mom made dinner, we were all ready to eat. We always seemed to have enough food, though. My dad would never take seconds until he was sure the rest of us were full. I’m sure there were days when he went to bed a bit hungry for our sake.
The hunger mentioned in Matthew 5:6 is not this kind of hunger but means a poor person who works to fend off starvation. The Hebrew word for this kind of hunger is reab and it means famine, dearth (the scarcity of something), and hunger.
I can only hope I seek out God like a person starving for Him. I believe many who are persecuted in their countries probably could teach us about that…but I’m not sure that is the norm here in the U.S.
The word thirst, in Hebrew, is an interesting word. It, as well as the word for righteousness, begins with the Hebrew letter tsade.
It has the sound of the letters Ts, like the end of the word pots. The ancient Hebrew letter looked like this:
In the Hebrew language, the letters have names as you can see, and the names have meanings. So, the meaning of the word tsade is “to hunt, catch, or capture.” However, the letter in ancient Hebrew looks like a man bent in a position as a servant with his hands lifted up to the Lord in humility. https://www.hebrew4christians.com/Grammar/Unit_One/Aleph-Bet/Tsade/tsade.html
Another scholar describes the tsade as a servant carrying a burden and suggests this letter is most like Christ as we see Him in the scriptures. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SG7RIw9IJsc
See how this and all the Beatitudes come back to Christ-likeness?
Many years ago, my church had a Bible study that suggested we practice brokenness. I asked the Lord how I could practice something I wasn’t feeling. He spoke to my heart and said, “Get on your knees.” Since that day, I prayed on my knees alone in my room.
How would you practice brokenness?
The word for thirst consists of the letter tsade and the letter mem, meaning water. So, this kind of thirst means to hunt for water, in the pictorial Hebrew.
Within this Beatitude, we have a picture of a person who is desperate for food and water, not just hungry and thirsty. Remember I told you there is a reason the Beatitudes begin with “Blessed are the poor in spirit…”
Within this Beatitude, we have a picture of a person who is desperate for food and water, not just hungry and thirsty. #ThisSideofHeaven #Beatitudes #HungerandThirstTweet
Now, for the word righteousness. This was where I started my research, actually.
It is the word, tsedeq. As I said above, it begins with the same Hebrew letter as thirst. And, just like that word, the first letter of tsedeq means, “to hunt, catch, or capture.”
Tsedeq means righteous, but it can also mean justice.
We find this word also used in many Old Testament verses. The bold word is tsedeq.
Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the LORD your God is giving you.Deuteronomy 20:16
You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.Leviticus 19:36
I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness,Psalm 7:17
and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High.
So, tsedeq has the idea that desperate people like those starving or dying of thirst will hunt for God’s righteousness or justice as a person would for food and water.
Hebrew4Christians explain it like this: “Hungering and thirsting for righteousness means relying on God alone to meet our need.” https://www.hebrew4christians.com/Scripture/Brit_Chadashah/Beatitudes/beatitudes.html
But, unlike many who are starving for food and water in this world, the promise from God for those who are truly seeking Him is “They will be satisfied.”
God wants us to seek Him as our lives depend on it…because they do. We need Him more than He needs us.
But, He. Does. Want. Us. The Creator of all things wants to have a relationship with you and me. The Beatitudes tell us how to do that.
By the way, you may wonder where I got Hebrew words when the Gospel of Matthew was written in Greek. Well, the Gospels were first written in Hebrew. After many years, these manuscripts have finally been published, so you can now purchase the New Testament Gospels written in Hebrew on one page with the English translation on the page facing it. It’s pretty cool, but I like that sort of thing.
I realize I have changed the days I am publishing my blog posts. I am going to stay with Wednesdays since another blog I contribute to (called VineWords, Devotions and More at http://www.VineWords.net) has my posts coming out on Thursdays, so I don’t want both coming out on the same day of the week. Thank you!
Isn’t it wonderful the way God ensures we can always be learning more about Him and His kingdom? Love it “Mama D!”
Yes, I love learning the nuances in scripture that lead to big Aha! moments. Thanks, J.D.
Thank you for all the effort that goes into your research! That is what makes your blogs and Bible studies so much deeper.
Sorry to learn of your father’s health issues growing up. He sure sounded like a giving and caring man. I’m sure you look back on those days with your sisters and mom all working together to make ends meet as priceless. ~Ben C.
Thank you, Ben. Dad is in a better place waiting for his rewards at the end of time as we know it. He was a good man who exemplified the Beatitudes.
I desire to humble myself as I hunger for God’s righteousness. Thank you for the great teaching.
Thank you, Cherrilynn. I agree wholeheartedly.
Very informative. Thank you!