2/15/10- Matthew 5:6- Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God.
Calvin abridged: To hunger and thirst is a figurative expression that means to suffer poverty, to want the necessities of life, and even to be defrauded of one’s right. Though their wishes be moderate, and people may ridicule them for their languishing, yet one day God will listen to their groans as Mary said- “God fills the hungry with good things” (Lk. 1:53).
“Happy are the merciful”. The world counts those happy who give themselves no concern for the distresses of others, but are only concerned about their own comfort. Christ indicates that people are blessed when they are prepared to not only endure in their own afflictions, but share in the afflictions of others. They shall obtain mercy not only from God, but from people- who eventually honor those who are humane.
“Happy are those who are pure in heart”. Purity of heart is universally considered the mother of all virtues. Yet ninety-nine percent put craftiness and the ingenuity of deceit in the place of purity of heart.
Thoughts- Jesus speaks of the focus of our hearts here. The world values self-centeredness and deceit. But our Lord values seeking righteousness as a deer seeks water, as a starving man food. To seek righteousness means to want what is right more than self-advancement, money, or things. Jesus also speaks of mercy. Jesus did not withhold mercy even if someone may abuse it (like the leper he told not to speak, but did; or the nine ungrateful lepers). He often warned those to “go and sin no more” but their failure to be faithful, did not withhold his help. Our attitude seems to be that we are more concerned about breeding stray dogs by feeding them- than showing mercy to those who are languishing in despair. Yet if we were hurting, we would want mercy shown to us. Loving our neighbor as ourself means showing mercy. The impure are not close to God- for their sin- their deep, heart-hidden sin, separates them from the Holy One. Getting our hearts right, focused, and in accordance with God’s law is essential for getting closer to God.
Prayer: Lord, give me a hunger, a merciful and pure heart for you. Draw me to yourself by seeking you with righteousness and mercy.