Happy are the Hungry (for the right things)

Rev. Samuel Sutter - 8/8/2023

We all have a built-in hunger. The feeling that something is missing and we can be filled… but what we try and fill out emptiness with can hurt us more than help us. Hungering for the wrong things is the sin of covetousness, but JESUS gives us a better way to be filled, happy and blessed.

Sermon Notes

This is an upside-down world, or perhaps a right-way-up world; and Jesus is saying that with his work It’s starting to come true. This is an announcement, not a philosophical analysis of the world. It’s about something That’s starting to happen, not about a general truth of life. It is gospel: good news, not good advice… The word for ‘wonderful news’ is often translated ‘blessed’, and part of the point is that this is God’s wonderful news. God is acting in and through Jesus to turn the world upside down, to turn Israel upside down, to pour out lavish ‘blessings’ on all who now turn to him and accept the new thing that he is doing. (This list is sometimes called ‘the Beatitudes’, because the Latin word ‘beatus’ means ‘blessed’.) But the point is not to offer a list of what sort of people God normally blesses. The point is to announce God’s new covenant.
– N.T. Wright


Exodus 20:17 (NIV) 17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”


Matthew 5:6 (NIV) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.


Psalm 107:4–9 (NIV)

Some wandered in desert wastelands,

finding no way to a city where they could settle.

They were hungry and thirsty,

and their lives ebbed away.

Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,

and he delivered them from their distress.

He led them by a straight way

to a city where they could settle.

Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love

and his wonderful deeds for mankind,

for he satisfies the thirsty

and fills the hungry with good things.

It is with good reason that this is the fourth beatitude. The man marked by poverty of spirit (5:3), who grieves over sin personal and social (5:4), and approaches God and man with meekness (5:5), must also be characterized as hungry and thirsty for righteousness (5:6). It is not that he wants to be a little bit better, still less that he thinks of righteousness as an optional luxury to add to his other graces; rather, he hungers and thirsts for it. He cannot get along without righteousness; it is as important to him as food and drink. – D.A. Carson

In the Gospel of Matthew, the term “righteousness” normally refers to actual personal righteousness that results from one’s relationship with God, that is, the righteousness of sanctification rather than the righteousness of justification (Matt 1:19; 3:15; 5:10,20,45; 6:1,33; 9:13; 10:41; 13:17,43,49; 20:4; 21:32; 23:28–29,35; 25:37,46; 27:19). – Quarles

Matthew 6:1 (NIV)  “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

Matthew 6:33 (NIV) 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Here’s your assignment – next time you hunger or thirst – when you see one of the 10,000 ads you see today trying to convince you that you aren’t, you don’t have, you haven’t experienced enough. Next time you’re scrolling, browsing, comparing. Try this… instead of staying dry or trying to quench your thirst for more…. with more. – Try this. Put your head and heart to a longing for God’s kingdom and righteousness.

Downloads & Resources