Today’s reading in The Story begins on page 340 with the words “Now when Jesus saw the crowds,…” and ends on page 346 with the words “…drives out demons.” Matthew 5:1-16;6:5-15,19-34; 7:24-27
Have you ever witnessed anyone whose mouth was so dry that even a small portion of water dispensed by a sponge brought a moment of relief?
I’ve seen people who are hungry. I have seen (and HEARD) my grandson of five months crying out for breakfast, lunch or dinner. (Who can tell which meal it is when he eats every other hour?)
But Jesus wasn’t talking about physical food or physical hunger. He wasn’t talking about the need for water to hydrate the body. Jesus was talking about spiritual hunger and a spiritual thirst.
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. 2My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? Psalm 42:1-2 (NIV)
Have you ever felt such a longing for God?
O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. Psalm 63:1 (NIV)
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus called the thirsty place where the soul longs for God, the blessed place to be.
Remember September 11, 2001? You got up that morning heading to the things you thought mattered – work, school or whatever. But did you notice how quickly those “important things” changed? I was hundreds of miles away from the event at the twin towers. I knew no one personally involved. But I remember how that day, and the days that followed, altered my priorities and reminded me of what really matters. In the days that followed, people hungered to know that God was still on His throne. For the first time in years, some who had walked away from their faith and had abandoned their relationship with God came back. They were longing, NO hungering and thirsting, for God.
We wanted to know that the One who sits enthroned in the heavens and rules over all had not dropped the ball and forgotten us. We were looking for Him to come down again to reassure us that we need not fear.
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you! 2 As when fire sets twigs ablaze and causes water to boil, come down to make your name known to your enemies and cause the nations to quake before you! 3 For when you did awesome things that we did not expect, you came down, and the mountains trembled before you. 4 Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. 5 You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember your ways. But when we continued to sin against them, you were angry. How then can we be saved? Isaiah 64:1-5 (NIV)
When you are hungry, you know it. When you are thirsty, no one needs to tell you. When we can’t fulfill our needs with our own resources or resolve, we turn to the place where our needs and longings can always be fulfilled:
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Are you in that blessed place where you long for God’s power to overcome, for His grace to forgive, for His love to comfort and bless?
Welcome to the blest place which only God can fill.
Jesus said it is a blessing to reach the place in our lives where and when we were starving for the mercy of God, hungering for the love of God, longing to be with God – in God’s presence. To be in such a place is to be in the place of blessing.
Gracious God, I thank You for those times when I have hungered for Your gifts and thirsted for Your Love. I praise You that my Savior offered His very body and blood on the cross that I might be filled. O my Savior, help afford by Thy Spirit and Thy Word! When my wayward heart would stray, keep me in the narrow way. Grace in time of need supply while I live and when I die. In Jesus’ name. Amen.