A previous post laid the foundation for understanding the Beatitudes, and the last post discussed the first Beatitude: spiritual poverty. The second Beatitude discuses spiritual hunger: “Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be filled” (Luke 6:20).
Jesus presented values that were contrary to the thinking of the day, and this is a perfect example. Hunger isn’t a common problem in our wealthy nation, but in other parts of the world – and in Jesus’ day – it’s one of the worst trials people experience. For many it means starvation and death, and for this reason those who hunger aren’t blessed. The world would say they’re cursed.
Scripture also doesn’t present hunger as a blessing:
- Proverbs 30:8-9 Feed me with the food allotted to me…Lest I be full and deny You, and say, “Who is the Lord?”
- In Isaiah 8:21 God said the Assyrians would invade the land, consume everything, and leave the Israelites destitute: [The people] will pass through [the land] hard-pressed and hungry; and it shall happen, when they are hungry, that they will be enraged and curse…their God, and look upward.”
Hunger carries with it the temptation to curse God. If hunger was a blessing, God wouldn’t bless His people by feeding them, and Jesus wouldn’t command us to pray, “Give us day by day our daily bread” (Luke 11:3).
Instead, Jesus is discussing spiritual hunger:
- The Amplified says, “Blessed are you who hunger now [for righteousness, actively seeking right standing with God].”
- The parallel account in Matthew 5:6 says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.”
Before becoming a believer, you hunger for unrighteousness and sin; you love darkness rather than light (John 3:19) But after you’re saved sin repulses you. You have a spiritual hunger for righteousness and holiness. The devil, the world, and the flesh still tempt you, but you have a new relationship to sin: you’re dead to it (Rom 6:1-14).
Jesus is also discussing a spiritual hunger for the righteousness that’s available through the gospel.
Romans 10:3 says, “[the Jews] being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.”
The Jews thought they were good enough to establish their own righteousness, so they didn’t hunger for the righteousness God offers by faith.
If the Jews are an example of not hungering for righteousness, Paul is an example of the opposite. He said he wanted to, “be found in [Christ], not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith” (Phil 3:9).
Paul ties together the first two Beatitudes. He used to be like the Jews in Romans 10, but he recognized his spiritual poverty and this caused him to hunger for Christ’s righteousness. For those with that same hunger Jesus says, “You shall be filled.”
This is speaking of a future time, because as long as we live in a sinful, fallen world we have to endure unrighteousness and sin. But at some point it will be done away with and we’ll have our fill of righteousness.
Here’s what we need to ask ourselves:
- Do we hunger for the garbage of the world that will make us spiritually sick, or do we hunger for the things of the Lord? Scripture, worship, prayer, fellowship with other believers?
- Are we trusting in our own righteousness, or do we hunger for the righteousness of Christ that’s available by faith?
J.R. Miller said, “If we become satisfied with our faith, love, obedience, our communion with God, and our consecration to Christ–we are truly in a sad condition. We have ceased to grow. There are many professing Christians who are starving their souls in the midst of abundance of spiritual provision, because they have no hunger. There is nothing for which we should pray more earnestly, than for spiritual longing.”
Did you notice any change in your spiritual appetites after becoming a Christian? Share below!
You can listen to the sermon this is drawn from here.