They That Hunger And Thirst
The idea is addressed by Jesus in Matthew 5 in the Sermon on the Mount. They are blessed who hunger and thirst after righteous because they will be filled. There is also a wider implication in the words hunger and thirst.
To hunger and thirst are two of the strongest drives in the human sense of survival. Sleep and sex are also strong drives. But among all of them breathing is the strongest. And it makes sense, because the breath of life from God is what gives life to all beings.
Take that away and we die in minutes. Take away food and water for an extended time and we also die but we do so agonizingly and painfully over days and weeks. Take away sleep for a long enough time and our bodies and minds cease to function and eventually we would also die. Being deprived of sex may have some temporary effect on the emotions or the mind but death is not inevitable. As we age and that drive dissipates we can still live productive meaningful lives.
So then, the drive to satisfy thirst and hunger are second only to breathing. Breathing uniquely of all the drives is both voluntary and involuntary. When we sleep the involuntary nervous system takes over and keeps us breathing.
For the sake of our study then it is safe to say that satisfying hunger and thirst are the most fundamental human drives to sustain life.
When you are truly hungry and thirsty everything else in life becomes second to satisfying that need. You will do whatever you need to do to get food and water. Now you can be so deprived of these for so long that you are too weak or too desensitized to express your need.
But this is beyond what Jesus was referring to in His message. He does not want us be near death before our hunger and thirst are satisfied. The hunger and thirst in the passage is much like that in Jeremiah 29:13 “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”
If we desire righteousness to the dimension that we desire water when we are truly thirsty, and food when we are truly hungry we will be filled with righteousness,
God says, if with all your heart you truly seek me you will find me. There must be a sincere, truly, heart-engaged desire for the righteousness of God if we are to realize the blessing of being filled. And what does being filled mean? It means that God will pour Himself so fully into our lives that we will become in word and in nature more like our Lord Jesus in every way.
Those who think themselves to be righteous in their own eyes, apart from God, their righteousness is, according to the Scriptures, “as filthy rags,” something of no value, worthy only to be discarded, thrown into the trash.
The heart that hungers and thirsts for righteousness is also the heart that hungers and thirsts for truth, for justice, for Godliness, for true compassion, mercy and grace, for the nature and character of God that is Love. That is the ultimate pursuit for every believer.
“Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.” Romans 14:19
“Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.” 1 Corinthians 14:1
“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord…” Hebrew 12:14
Hunger and thirst for these things and you will be filled.