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Luke 6:21, Matthew 5:6 Click on these links to read the passage. You may select your own version of the Bible after the link opens.

Have you ever been truly hungry? Did you consider it a blessing? Would the world consider it a blessing? These questions come to mind as I read Luke 6:21.  Jesus’ response according to Luke was that the hungry will be satisfied. It seems that Jesus was speaking in terms of eternity. This is in keeping with other statements Jesus made such as “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.”

It can be tempting to let this passage ease our consciences and allow us to become complacent about the multitudes of hungry people in the world. If Christians were truly allowing the Holy Spirit to guide them in their study of Scriptures, they would not be tempted to slip into this kind of thinking. Consider Jesus’ teachings in Matthew 5:31-46 where he speaks of separating the sheep from the goats. Jesus told his listeners that whatever they did for the hungry and thirsty they did for him, and if they did not feed or give them water they were also denying it to him.

But God is also mindful about the here and now.  Jesus had compassion on the hungry when he multiplied bread and fish to feed the multitudes. God had compassion on the Israelites wandering in the desert and gave them manna from heaven. He also gave them water out of a rock. Perhaps our greatest hindrance from receiving his supernatural blessings is our own lack of faith that he can or will supply our needs.

Matthew expresses this Beatitude in spiritual terms as he refers to those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Jesus’ promise that they shall be filled, fortunately, more readily offers hope for at least partial fulfillment in this life. Similar verses such as “Seek and ye shall find” (Matthew 7:7) quickly come to mind. Jeremiah presents the same concept emphasizing the importance of seeking God with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13).

I can not leave this Beatitude without bringing up fasting. This is a voluntary condition of physical hunger that holds promise of spiritual blessings for us. I confess that I have never undergone a total fast, so I am very limited in my personal experience; though a personal friend (who is much younger than I) went on a fast for several days. I was amazed at her testimony of how God worked through her in a supernatural way during her fasting experience. This is surely a means of drawing close to God that is underestimated by many Christians today.

Heavenly Father, enlighten us with your Holy Spirit to understand the teachings you have for us in your Holy Word, the Bible. Help us not to fall away by denying the truths you have given to us. Help us to be aware of your blessings when the world tells us we are losing. Help us to give thanks in all circumstances, even if we are hungry and thirsty; and if we are well fed and satisfied, help us to have compassion for others who are not.

Disclaimer: Since I began this study of the Beatitudes in the book of Luke, I have continued with 6:21 recognizing that doing so has caused me to skip Matthew 5:4-5 which I will pick up later. I’m glad I’m only commited to a blog and not a book or magazine article as I write this, in which case I would start over and use Matthew to guide the study with cross references to Luke.

 Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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     27 ” Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!  Luke 12:27-28 (NIV)

     I have never been known for my great wardrobe.  Even as a teenager, I found other things to spend my clothing budget on than clothes.  Yet there are times when I’m envious and even covetous of the clothing I see others wear.  On those occasions when I attempt to bolster my wardrobe, I’m often disappointed with the outcome. 

     For some reason, it so often isn’t the most expensive things I have purchased that have been my best outfits.  Rather, it tends to be the items I have found on sale at the times I really needed them that have been my best purchases.  And right in there with these purchases is clothing that has been given to me.  It hasn’t been hard to recognize these as two of the ways God has been there for me.

     I am also reminded of the passage in 1 Peter 3-5 in which women are encouraged to enhance their beauty with the “unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.”  If we put our faith and trust in him, we open the door for him to clothe us with a beauty that money can’t buy.

     Lord help me to draw closer to you day by day that I may be fully clothed in your righteousness.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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