“And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them saying, Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled“ Matthew 5: 1-2,6
This is a unique blessing. A man desires meat, he eats it., and is filled for a little while but he is soon hungry again. A man, desires drink, and he has it, but he is soon thirsty again,. But a man who hungers and thirsts after righteousness shall be so “filled ” that he shall never again thirst as he thirsted before.
Many hunger and thirst after gold, but nobody ever yet filled his soul with gold; it cannot be done. The richest man who ever lived was never quite as rich as he would have liked to be. Men have tried to fill their souls with worldly possessions; they have added field to field, and farm to farm, and street to street, and town to town, till it seemed as if they would be left alone in the land; but no man ever yet, could fill his soul with an estate, however vast it might be.
Alexander conquered the world, but it would not fill his soul; he wanted more worlds to conquer. And if you and I could own a dozen worlds, were we possessors of all the stars, and if we could call all space our own, we should not find enough to fill our immortal spirits, we should only be magnificently poor, a company of imperial paupers. God has so made man’s heart that nothing can ever fill it but God himself.
There is such a hungering and thirsting put into the quickened man that he discerns his necessity and he knows that only Christ can supply that necessity. When a man is saved, he has obtained all that he wants. When he gets Christ, he is satisfied.
I recollect a foolish woman asking me some years ago to let her tell my fortune. I said to her, “I can tell you yours; but I don’t want to know mine; mine is already made for I have, everything that I want.” “But” she said “can’t I promise you something for years to come?” “No,” I answered, “I don’t want anything; I have everything that I want I am perfectly satisfied and perfectly contented.” And I can say the same to-night; I do not know anything that anybody could offer to me that would increase my satisfaction. If God will but bless the souls of men, and save them, and get to himself glory, I am filled with contentment, I want nothing more. I do not believe that any man can honestly say as much as that unless he has found Christ but, if he has by faith laid hold upon the Saviour, then he has grasped that which always brings the blessing with it. “He shall be filled.”
It is a unique blessing.
And the blessing is most appropriate as well as unique.
A man is hungry and thirsty, how can you take away his hunger without filling him with food and how can you remove his thirst without filling him with drink, at least in sufficient quantity to satisfy him? So Christ’s promise concerning the man who hungers and thirst after righteousness is, “He shall be filled.” He wants righteousness; he shall have righteousness. He wants God; he shall have God. He wants a new heart; he shall have a new heart. He wants to be kept front sin; he shall be kept from sin. He wants to be made perfect; he shall be made perfect. He wants to live where there are none that sin; he shall be taken away to dwell where there shall be no sinners for ever and ever.
In addition to being unique and appropriate, this blessing is very large and abundant.
Christ said, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall “for shall”—have a sup by the way? Oh, no! “for they shall”—have a little comfort every now and then? Oh, no! “for they shall be filled—-filled;” and the Greek word might even better be rendered, “they shall be satiated;” they shall have all they need, enough and to spare. They who hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled;—filled to the brim. How true this is!
There is also this truth to solace you,—there will be righteousness all over this world one day. Millions still reject Christ, but he has a people who will not reject him. The masses of mankind at present fly from him, but “the Lord knoweth them that are his.” As many as the Father gave to Christ shall surely come to him. Christ shall not be disappointed; his cross shall not have been set up in vain. “He shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.”
Well may you groan because of the idols that do not fall, and the oppressions that do not come to an end, and the wailing of the widows, and the weeping of the orphans, and the sighing of those that sit in darkness and see no light; but there will be an end of all this. Brighter days than these are coming; either the gospel will cover the earth, or else Christ himself will personally come. Whichever it be it is not for me to decide; but somehow or other, the day shall come when God shall reign without a rival over all the earth, you can be sure of that.
The hour shall come when the great multitude, “as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings,” shall say, “Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.”
If we are hungering and thirsting after righteousness, we are on the winning side.
The battle may go against us just now; priest-craft may be pushing us sorely, and evils which our forefathers routed may come back with superior strength and cunning, and for a little while the courage of the saints may be dampened and waver; but the Lord still liveth, and as the Lord liveth, righteousness alone shall triumph, and all iniquity and every false way must be trampled under foot.
Fight on, for ye must ultimately be victors. Ye cannot be beaten unless the Eternal himself should be overthrown, and that can never be. Blessed is the man who knows that the cause that he has espoused is a righteous one, for he may know that in the final chapter of the world’s history, its triumph must be recorded.
He may be dead and gone; he may only sow the seed, but his sons shall reap the harvest and men shall speak of him with grave respect as of a man who lived before his time, and who deserves honour of those that follow him.
Stand up for the right man! Hold fast to your principles, my brothers and sisters in Christ!
Follow after holiness and righteousness in every shape and form. Let no one bribe or turn you away from this blessed Book and its immortal tenets.
Follow after that which is true, not that which is patronized by the great; that which is just, not that which sits in the seat of human authority; and follow after this with a hunger and a thirst that are insatiable, and you shall yet be “filled.”
Would you be up there in the day when the Prince of Truth and Right shall review his armies? Would you be up there when the jubilant shout shall rend the heavens, “The King of kings and Lord of lords has conquered all his foes, and the devil and all his hosts are put to flight”? Would you be up there when all his trophies of victory are displayed, and the Lamb that was slain shall be the reigning Monarch of all the nations, gathering sheaves of scepters beneath his arms, and treading on the crowns of princes as worn out and worthless? Would you be there then?
Then be here now,—here where the fight rages, here where the King’s standard is unfurled, and say unto your God, “O Lord, since I have found righteousness in Christ, and am myself saved, I am pledged to stand for the right and for the truth so long as I live, so keep me faithful even unto death.”
As I close my discourse I pronounce over all of you who are trusting in Jesus the fourth benediction spoken by Christ on the Mount of Beatitudes, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” Amen.