Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.~Matthew 5:6 ESV
Let’s examine the fourth Beatitude found in Matthew 5:6.
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 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 had 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 could teach us about that . . . but I’m not sure that is the norm here in the US.
The word thirst in Hebrew is an interesting word. It, as well as the word for righteousness, begin with the Hebrew letter tsade.
It has the sound of the letters t’s, 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 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 Christlikeness?
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. There is a reason the Beatitudes begin with “Blessed are the poor in spirit.”
Now, for the word righteousness. This was where I started my research.
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 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 who are starving or dying of thirst will hunt for God’s righteousness or justice as a person would for food and water.
Hebrews 4 explains 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 if 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 us. The Beatitudes tell us how to do that.
Do you hunger and thirst for righteousness?
Heavenly Father, thank You that You want me. Thank You for Jesus and Your Word. Teach me to be more like Jesus.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Genre: Bible study
Copyright 20201: Do You Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness?: Stephanie Pavlantos. All Rights Reserved