Thursday, March 8, 2012
BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO HUNGER AND THIRST FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS, FOR THEY WILL BE FILLED
I was looking at the dwindling wheat and tears fell from my eyes. Since it was not in my nature to blame God for my predicament, I continued painfully to trust my Provider. My husband had to toil day and night to provide food on the table. Both of us needed to be strong in order to take care of my two lovely sons. Their future was our concern. To me, anyone that bothered not about the next generation would be a selfish fellow. For God had spoken so much about passing to the next generation, His Word, His wisdom. I strived then to be an exemplary mother.
As I knelt there in prayer, I heard a sweet call of my name from outside. My husband had been my constant strength in the midst of difficulties. I considered him my fortress. As I open the door, two smiling boys rushed to fill my arms of love. They just loved spending time with their awesome dad. Danny and Tom might not understand what we went through but to see them happy was a worthwhile sacrifice.
The central theme for both of us was following God’s Word. It was the only foundation that we built our lives upon. We constantly thirst for more of Him to impart and impact our kids. One question always stood out as a motto in our lives: How could we give when we ourselves were not filled?
“Darling, I had a rough day today,” my man let out a sigh. While the boys left to play, I hugged him tight. “Tell me, I am a good listener,” I said, hoping my love would comfort him.
“I was happy this afternoon to receive my pay for the week, at least it was not cut like before with all kinds of unclear taxes. My arrogant boss had seen my commitment to his farm and decided to spare me the cut. I know he is not a man of integrity but I thank God, he did something good for me today,” he spoke gently.
“That’s good news but…” I chipped in, eagerly waiting for the rough part.
“Yah, there was a ‘but’. After that, as I strolled home whistling God’s praise, a friend came to me with a sad story. He told me that he needed some money to pay off his landlord where he owed for quite a number of months. He sounded quite desperate. He is an honest man as far as I know. I was struggling between our own lack and the gentle voice of God tugging at my heart,” my husband spoke slower.
In my heart, I already knew the outcome of that encounter. “How much did you lend him?” I probed.
“Half of my pay,” he said softly, looking at me. Although he was strong in leading our home, he wanted some sort of approval from me. He always desired that we were on the same page. It would be tough for us but I gave him a hearty approval. I held him tighter and uttered, “I am SO proud of you.” In my mind, all along, I wanted my husband to do what was right in the eyes of God all the time, even in the midst of difficulties. He let out a smile that melted my heart. We might have suffered lack but deep within us, we were fulfilled. We felt like we were in the centre of God’s great purpose for our lives. Indeed, the joy of the Lord was our strength!
“Hey, Sweetest Darling, you know what. I heard of a man from God coming into this side of town which many said is the prophesied Messiah. Can I have a date with you this evening?” my husband asked with a booming voice.
When we arrived to the place, there was already a crowd, all anticipating what this “Messiah” would say to them. We park ourselves at a corner with the two boys, looking forward for the sweet gentle voice of God which we always longed after.
A well-built man stood up and declared, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
Jesus paused and we stood speechless. Every word seemed like fire burning deep into our souls. My husband and I were like empty vessels, thirsting for more of God. And those words ignited in us a frenzy of emotions, coming from Jesus the Messiah Himself. It was like, ‘Wow, God knew what was in my mind and what we did for Him!’ kind of a feeling. Our physical (wheat) vessel needed filling, so was our spiritual vessel. I raised my hands and said softly, “God, you are truly my Provider!”
The encounter with God that day greatly boosted our confidence to continue being righteous man and woman of God.
The fourth beatitude suggests a life of consciously following every instruction of God. It is choosing to be a willing vessel for God’s glory. Today unfortunately, many Christians have conformed to the patterns of this world, being in sync with its standards. They live their life depending on circumstances and their own constant-changing feelings. Some have also argued away the truths from the Bible with worldly philosophies and fear of men.
The only fulfilment we can find as Christians is by living and relying on the solid ROCK of God’s Word as the only foundation. All other ways are shifting sand. We may stand firm on them for a while but eventually we will crumble. Even the seemingly righteous acts that flow out from the world are nothing but selfish agendas.
The prophet Isaiah declared long ago, “..all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;.. (Isa 64:6). Jesus lambasted some Pharisees for being like whitewash tombs, a depiction of lovely on the outside but dead men’s bones on the inside (Matthew 23:27).
A voice says, "Cry out." And I said, "What shall I cry?" "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever." (Isa 40:6-8)
Apart from God’s Word, everything will fail. The above verses are so relevant for today’s generation where there are so many godless people who are striving to find fulfilment and meaning to life, not knowing they are like grass that would soon wither. God told Isaiah to present Him and His Word confidently to the lost world. In essence, God proclaimed, “Either you stand on My Word or you fall, period.”
Usually, people do things guided by their innate beliefs. When they believe something contrary to the Word of God, then they will do and behave likewise. In the same manner, the Christians who hold on to the Word of God, they will do accordingly. We must not be afraid of our weaknesses. God is our Provider. God will fill our inadequacies with His power and grace as we act. He will empower us when we go for Him.
(Isa 40:28-31) Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
NOTE: Righteousness could have a two-fold meaning. First, we are righteous because Christ died for our sins. That’s our position in God. The second meaning is found in our actions. Due to our righteous position, we do righteous acts. Position of righteousness doesn’t mean that automatically righteous acts will flow out from our beings. We have to practice what we believe in. Someone said this, “Even when we are on the right track, we will get run over when we stay still.”
Next: Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.