February 7, 2023
Matthew 5: 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
The righteousness of God is his perfection in attribute, attitude, behavior, and word and Jesus said those who hunger, and thirst for God’s righteousness will be blessed by being spiritually satisfied and quenched being filled with his righteousness.
In Luke Jesus teaches the character needed to be someone who hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness.
Luke 18: 9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10 "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men--robbers, evildoers, adulterers--or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.' 13 "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' 14 "I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
The Pharisee did not hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness but justified himself by exalting his own righteousness by boasting how he fasted twice a week and tithed and exalted himself over those he called sinners.
But Jesus said God will justify and exalt those like the tax collector who humbled himself before God, seeking his mercy because he knew he was an unworthy sinner.
Those who humbly seek God’s mercy know they are unworthy sinners and will hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness which comes through his Son who revealed his Father’s perfect attribute, attitude, behavior, and word in himself. As follower of Jesus, we hunger and thirst to be like our Lord Jesus and his righteousness and will humbly walk like him.
1 John 2: 5 But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.
When we are humble and contrite because when we fear his word, God will highly respects and admire us because we obey Jesus who is the Word of God.
Isaiah 66: 2 "This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.
Jesus teaches in Matthew 6 what a humble heart does to show his righteousness dwells in them.
Matthew 6: 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
In Luke the Pharisee boasted to God about how he tithed to temple to exalt himself. Jesus teaches that his righteousness is to care for the needy and when you do it must be in secret wanting only God to know you have done it out of love for him out of mercy and compassion. When you give so others know then it is not for God but to receive an earthly reward. Only when your giving is done in secret out of love for God then he will exalt you and reward you in heaven.
At times you may still be praised by others for your good deeds done in secret because some good deeds will not go unnoticed which may open a door for you to share your love for God.
Anonymous is always an honorable name to have. Jesus also exalts those who secretly give out of their poverty which he saw in the widow who gave all she had to the temple. Those who live in poverty are humble because they know everything they have belongs to God like Job. We are poor because we are just servants and stewards of what belongs to God.
Jesus teaches how we should pray in his righteousness.
Matthew 6: 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Jesus said not to be like the Pharisee who like to make long winded public prayers to exalt themselves and not to pray like a babbling brook, repetitively saying the same thing repeatedly. Jesus said to pray in secret to your Father who hears your every word and the heart behind it. He will answer you even before you ask him because you are his children who pray knowing his will from his word and then he will reward you in heaven.
James said the prayers of a righteous person is powerful and effective because they pray knowing Jesus’s righteousness through the teaching, counsel and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus teaches his righteousness of denying yourself for him.
Matthew 6: 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Fasting was denying yourself from food for a day because you wanted God to come near and to hear him. Jesus said that fasting was for God alone and not so others know you are fasting only then God will reward you.
Do we need to fast today to have God come near and to hear him? Through God’s grace and our faith in Jesus we receive the Holy Spirit, God dwelling in us because we love God and we hear God through the Holy Spirit teaching, counsel and guiding us through God’s word. But there is a fasting that God still wants us to do found in Isaiah.
Isaiah 58: 5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself? Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord? 6 "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter- when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? 8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. 9 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. "If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, 10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. 11 The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
God said he does not want our fast to be only a day when you humble yourself by bowing your head like a reed and lying on sackcloth and ashes. God wants us to be his light by sharing that only Jesus can loosen the chains of injustice and set the oppressed free and lighten their yoke.
Matthew 11: 28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
God also said the fast he wants is to spend yourself in caring for those who are hunger by sharing your food and to provide the poor with shelter, clothe those who are naked not turning away those in his family.
Jesus teaches this kind of fasting in:
Matthew 25: 34 "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' 37 "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' 40 "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
The fast Jesus wants us to do is to care for the needs of those in his family be it physical or spiritual needs and when you do you will be blessed by his Father and receive your inheritance in his kingdom.
The righteousness of God is what your heart treasures.
Matthew 6: 19 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
The righteousness of Jesus is having a heart like his that treasured being home with his Father in heaven when he was on earth and not treasuring things in this world that will not last.
When your heart treasures being with your Father and Jesus forever in heaven then you will hunger and thirst for their righteousness, humbling your heart and being the righteousness of Jesus.
Be safe in Jesus, Ps. Glenn