Finding Righteousness

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Matthew 5:6

One Sunday on their way home from church, a little girl turned to her mother and said, “Mommy, the preacher’s sermon this morning confused me.” The mother said, “Oh? Why is that?” The little girl replied, “Well, he said that God is bigger than we are. The mother replied, “Yes, that’s true, honey.” “And he also said that God lives in us? Is that true, mommy?” Again the mother replied, “Yes.” “Well,” said the little girl, “If God is bigger than us and He lives in us, wouldn’t He show through?”

Hunger and thirst in our text are expressions of strong desire. Nothing better expresses this strong desire than when we strive to obtain righteousness than hunger and thirst. An ardent desire is often represented in the Scriptures by hunger and thirst. Ps 42:1-2 As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? Since hunger and thirst are the keenest of our appetites, our Lord, by employing this language here, plainly means “those whose deepest cravings are after spiritual blessings.”

Oprah Winfrey was interviewing people on her program recently who were having affairs with married people! One woman who had a long-standing affair with a married man was saying how happy she was. But then someone raised the question of morality. “Wait a minute,” the woman protested. “I am a Christian, but my personal life and my religion don’t have anything to do with one another. God wants me to be happy, and if I am happy with this man, then God doesn’t mind.”

Is God only happy in making us happy? Is God like an eternal babysitter letting us constantly have our way? Can we believe in God and live like the Devil? Can we sow wild oats all week then glibly go to church to pray for a crop failure? The truth is, God is too pure even to look upon wickedness. Hab 1:13Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong. “God is light,” John says, “and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” (I John 1:5,6) Yes, God is concerned with happiness, but our eternal happiness! He wants to get us to heaven’s pleasures, so He demands righteousness on earth.

What is righteousness? A rabbi went on a journey with the prophet Elijah.
They walked all day, and at nightfall they came to the humble cottage of a poor man, whose only treasure was a cow. The poor man ran out of his cottage, and his wife ran too, to welcome the strangers for the night and to offer them all the simple hospitality which they were able to give in straitened circumstances. Elijah and the rabbi were entertained with plenty of the cow’s milk, sustained by home-made bread and butter, and they were put to sleep in the best bed while their kindly hosts lay down before the kitchen fire. But in the morning the poor man’s cow was dead.

They walked all the next day, and came that evening to the house of a very wealthy merchant, whose hospitality they craved. The merchant was cold and proud and rich, and all that he would do for the prophet and his companion was to lodge them in a cowshed and feed them on bread and water. In the morning, however, Elijah thanked him very much for what he had done, and sent for a mason to repair one of his walls, which happened to be falling down, as a return for his kindness.

The Rabbi, unable to keep silence any longer, begged the holy man to explain the meaning of his dealings with human beings. ‘In regards to the poor man who received us so hospitably,’ replied the prophet, ‘it was decreed that his wife was to die that night, but in reward for his goodness God took the cow instead of the wife. I repaired the wall of the rich miser because a chest of gold was concealed near the place, and if the miser had repaired the wall himself he would have discovered the treasure. Say not therefore to the Lord: What are you doing? But say in your heart: Must not the Lord of all do right?”

Rigtheousness is to be morally upright. It is the person seeking to be free of sin. virtuously justifiable!

A parable that comes out of Asia and is similar to the Biblical story of the Prodical, has a son leaving home and spending many years away, finally returning in rags and misery. He does not recognize his father, but the father recognizes him and tells his servants to take him to the mansion and to clean him up. Still not revealing his identity, he waits to see if the son will become worthy to become a son. He assigns humble tasks and leads him on through encouragement. Not until his son had become used to his duty, withstood temptation, and broken himself of a mean spirit did the father reveal his identity. He formally declared him to be his heir, and introduced him to his relatives, the king and other people. The father did not accept his son while he was still unworthy. The father treated his son according to the stage he had reached.

They shall be satisfied as a hungry man is when supplied with food, or a thirsty man when supplied with drink. Those who are perishing for want of righteousness; those who feel that they are lost sinners and strongly desire to be holy, shall be thus satisfied. Never was there a desire to be holy which God was not willing to gratify. Christ has made provision to satisfy all who truly desire to be holy.

John 7:37-38 On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”

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