There are three parts to this fourth Beatitude: the twin metaphors of hunger and thirst; the striving for righteousness; and the net result, which comes not only as a promise but also as Godly wisdom, they will be filled.
To hunger and thirst are very expressive experiences we may readily identify from our own, (in varying degrees) and also from accounts by others we know or have read about. We eat, we drink, as an act of normalcy. To hunger and thirst moves us to fill the urge and recognise the need to eat and drink. To feel hungry and thirsty are natural signs of living.
Now of course Jesus is not talking about “bread and water” (or a meat pie and coffee!) but identifiable metaphors descriptive of one desiring to be filled. We are so made, to be filled. We have a propensity to be filled. But with what do we put into ourselves that we may feel full; and continue to put in to maintain a sense of fulfilment? Of course, Jesus is pointing towards what does fill and makes one truly satisfied. Note the conversation Jesus has with the woman at the well in John 4. Also, Jesus’ response to the Devil, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God”. – Matthew 4:4
I remember in my late teens and early 20’s living life experiences but always feeling the void of being unfulfilled. This void was to be identified as a “God emptiness”; and the journey of being found by Christ who became my Saviour. In the words of Isaiah, Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labour what does not satisfy? Listen to me (says the Lord) and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. – Isaiah 55:4 & also John 7:37
Without going further into this fourth Beatitude, let us go back and reflect as Jesus has been speaking. There is a sequential form and structure. Jesus is not teaching random blessings. Think of the eight Beatitudes in verses 1-12 as a ladder to be climbed one step at a time. You must start at the bottom. When we have reached this fourth rung we are now in position, we are prepared for this hungering and thirsting for more of Christ to live in me. To see one’s own poverty of spirit and to mourn such emptiness; to come in meekness and a teachable spirit, the way is open that God may fill us.
Another day to explore further this fourth Beatitude; enough for today to reflect back before going forward. There are times we are required to go back down the ladder before we can proceed back up. Repentance and seeking God’s forgiveness are constants as we journey Heaven bound cf 1 John 1:8-9.
May God bless as we take some time for quiet reflection.
HYMN: Break thou the bread of life, dear Lord to me,
As thou didst break the loaves beside the sea.
Beyond the sacred page I seek thee Lord,
My spirit pants for thee, O living Word.
Thou art the bread of life, O Lord to me,
Thy Holy Word the truth that saveth me
Give me to eat and live with thee above
Teach me to love thy truth, for thou art Love.
Break Thou the Bread of Life by Acapeldridge – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQpj4TSe-Ec
PRAYER: Our gracious Father, we give thanks for this day given to us. This brand new day of opportunity and meaning to discover.
In this day’s beginning, we turn our eyes afresh to see our hope in all things and circumstances; to find our true and unfaltering security; our rock to stand firm and resolute; and our shelter in the storm. We ask for a renewed or enhanced faith to believe and we cry in unison with the one who said, “Lord, I believe. Help me in my unbelief.”
Lord, I lay before you my life circumstances…
My family… my friends…
We uphold our church family. Hold us strong together with our lives held physically apart. Bless us now as we begin the day through Christ our Lord. AMEN