Blessed are Those Who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness

Let us look at Blessing No. 4 in Matt. 5:6—“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are people who desire the righteous rule of God in the Kingdom. They are oppressed people who desire the justice of God. They are downtrodden people who seek the righteous rule of God. They are people who have faced injustice who seek God’s justice.[1] They are righteous people who desire God’s righteousness.

The word, “righteousness” (dikaosune) means, “the act of doing what God requires . . . doing what is right.’” (Louw-Nida) Now people do what is right. But Jesus is talking about doing what is right according to God. Jesus is not talking of doing what is right in your own standards. He is talking about doing right according to God’s standards. People also do what is right once in a while when they feel like it. But Jesus is talking of a passionate desire to do right before God.[2]

In the OT, to hunger for the righteousness of God is to hunger for God’s redemption against depression and oppression. David says in Ps. 42:1-2, “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” Then David says in vv. 9-10,

I say to God, my rock: ‘Why have you forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?’ As with a deadly wound in my bones, my adversaries taunt me, while they say to me continually, ‘Where is your God?’”

Thus, David thirsts for God in the same way he thirsts for God’s deliverance against depression and oppression.

[1] Donald A. Hagner, Matthew 1-13 (WBC 33A; ed. Ralph P. Martin; Dallas: Word, 1993), 93.

[2] Leon Morris, The Gospel According to Matthew (PNTC; ed. D. A. Carson; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992), 98.


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