Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
In our society, we think of meek or gentle people as doormats and wimps. But in Matthew 5:5, Jesus talked about the strength of meekness. He said, “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.” In classical Greek, the word translated as “gentle” or “meek” means “power under control.” I think of King Kong carrying Ann Darrow to the top of the Empire State Building. His giant gorilla fingers could squash her like a gnat, but instead, he holds her gently. That is power under control. In other words, happy is the employer who does not pour out her wrath on a negligent employee. Happy is the parent who does not give full vent to his rage when his child misbehaves.
Jesus said those who keep their power under control “shall inherit the earth.” Our final destination as believers is not floating around someplace on another planet; it is right here on a re-created earth, one without sin or sorrow. That is the inheritance of the gentle.
In verse 6, Jesus talked about a fourth paradox: the fullness of hunger. He said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” He was saying, “Joyful are those who have an appetite for righteousness.” Wouldn’t you like to live in a world where everybody behaves righteously? Where there is no more war or terrorism? Where bad things no longer happen to good people? The Bible promises those who hunger and thirst for such a world ultimately will be satisfied when the Lord returns to establish His kingdom.
In verse 7, Jesus moved on to the reward for mercy: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” To be merciful means not to give people the punishment they deserve. When you refuse to show mercy, you are robbing yourself of the joy that comes from offering forgiveness–and you are in danger of robbing yourself of forgiveness for all eternity. Jesus said in Matthew 6:14-15, “If you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” If you have truly been the recipient of God’s mercy in your life, then you ought to be willing to extend mercy to others. Poet and philosopher Edward Herbert once wrote, “He that cannot forgive others, breaks the bridge over which he must pass himself, for every man hath need to be forgiven.” Those who show mercy will receive mercy when they need it.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Straight Talk About Your Happiness” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2022.
Edward Herbert, “Autobiography of Edward Lord Herbert of Cherbury” (London: Alexander Murray, 1870), 32.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org