Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.
Have you ever been hungry for cookies or chips? You’ve rummaged through every cupboard in search. At last, you see a familiar package behind the canned goods and pull it out. But you find it empty with mere crumbs in the bottom? Jesus was talking about something much more important than cookies or chips. Righteousness is full of meaning as we will discover.
This beatitude hints back at many scriptures.
Before we begin it is important to note that the word translated as ‘righteousness’ does not mean holiness. It is the Hebrew word Tzedakah.
RIGHTEOUSNESS is Strong’s Concordance #6666 and it looks like this:
In the Bible, it is used to mean
1. justice, righteousness
2. righteousness (in government) — of a judge, ruler or king. King Messiah
3. righteousness (of God’s attribute)
4. righteousness (in a case or cause)
6. righteousness, truthfulness
7. righteousness (as ethically right)
8. righteousness (as vindicated), justification, salvation
7. righteous acts
When you look at how it is in Hebrew, the letters reveal more.
The letters from right to left are:
Tzade 90 = Humility. Picture-Fishhook. Means: Righteousness, to pull toward, Desire, Trouble, Harvest
Dallet 4 = Earth or creation. Means: Door, Gate, Impoverished man, to come from indicates a pathway, a place of decision, or an entrance to life or death.
Qof 100 = Election of God’s chosen ones, set apart as holy. Means: Holiness, Consecrated, Divide, sun on horizon, Back of the Head, Make a Complete Circle, End of a Cycle, Final, Behind, Dome
Hey 5 = Grace. Means: Revelation – 5 is the number of Torah, Behold, Give Attention, unfold or look upon – (if it comes at the end of a word: the meaning is based on the letter before)
One who is hungering and thirsting after Righteousness is one pulled toward the Door or Pathway of a Consecrated Life. He pays attention to the Revelation of Holiness and pursues it..
Jesus is the Door, the Way, and the Revelation of Holiness.
John 10:9 “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
He also tells us more in John 6:27 and 35.
John 6:27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.
John 6:35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.
Jeremiah 23:5-6 declares— “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell safely; Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”
In this beatitude, we hear again hints of other Biblical texts.
Psalm 42:1-2 As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?
Psalm 63:1 O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.
Psalm 84:2 My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
Psalm 107:9 For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.
Psalm 143:6 I spread out my hands to You; My soul longs for You like a thirsty land. Selah
And this wonderful text from Isaiah that Jesus used on the last day of the feast.
“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters;
And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come, buy wine and milk Without money and without price.
2 Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And let your soul delight itself in abundance.
John 7:37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.”
The New Testament meaning for Righteousness is Strong’s Concordance #1343 from #1342 from #1349. The primary root meaning found in #1349 is right, justice, the principle, a decision, or its execution, judgment, punishment, vengeance.
Here is a quote from Hebrew 11:32-33a,
“And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: 33 who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness…”
The words, “worked righteousness” mean, ‘dispensed impartial, fair justice’ to the nations. It reflects the words of a judge.
As we take all this into consideration, let’s look at the attributes of one who hungers and thirsts for righteousness.
- They long for God.
- They are desperate to know the truth.
- They long to do what is right.
- They pursue justice.
In the Bible, righteousness always has to do with covenant and/or justice. While it can mean ethical or moral, those are not its primary meaning.
In Genesis 15: 1-6 we have this account of Abram before he became Abraham: After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”
2 But Abram said, “Lord God, what will You give me, seeing I go childless? … 3 Then Abram said, “Look, You have given me no offspring…”
4 And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “…one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” 5 Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”
6 And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.
Abram did not live a sinless life, yet God credited righteousness to him for belief.
To hunger and thirst after Righteousness is to hunger and thirst after God’s mercy and faithfulness based on covenant. To long for His redemption and salvation to be saved, healed, delivered made whole, and preserved.
In Hebrew, Righteousness, Salvation, and Faithfulness are all on the same plane and interconnected.
So, Righteousness is a constant pursuit of justice or fairness, brotherly love, giving to the poor, generosity, compassion lived out in service, fulfillment of all legal and moral obligations in relationship, and conformity with God’s will.
In conclusion, let’s consider the opposite of hungering and thirsting after righteousness.
- One who is independent, self-sufficient.
- One who lacks relationship.
- One who is disagreeable, arrogant.
- One who is prideful.
- One who only does what is right in their own eyes.
May we hunger, thirst, and be in constant pursuit of righteousness. May we be quick to follow our Lord and work with Holy Spirit to establish His justice and truth, serving others. May we re-present His kingdom wherever we go.