“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)
I confess that too often I feel like I am running on empty and have been for awhile now. Maybe that’s how you feel too? I think about these words of Jesus as He taught His disciples how to pray in Matthew 6:11,
“Give us today our daily bread.” Do I trust God to do that for me?
He did just that for the Israelites during their time in the desert. “The Lord said to Moses, . . . tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’ The people of Israel called the bread manna. . . . The Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came to a land that was settled; they ate manna until they reached the border of Canaan.” (Exodus 16:11-12, 31, & 35)
It says they were filled with bread. Not a meager ration, not just enough to get by, but filled, – just like Jesus promised in Matthew 5:6, one translation says satisfied, and another one says completely satisfied.
The thing is, if I am filled, I want to hang on to that feeling of fullness. I don’t want to let it go, to let it pour out onto other people. Then I will be left feeling empty again. And that’s where trust comes in. If I let go of it, if I share my fullness, I will find myself empty once again. I have to trust that my Heavenly Father will be faithful to fill me again and again and again.
There is a story in 1 Kings chapter 17 about the prophet Elijah and a widow and her son. Elijah is hungry and asks her for some bread. She replies, “I don’t have any bread – only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug.” She intended to use that to make one last meal for herself and her son before they died of starvation.
But Elijah told her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord gives rain on the land.’ ” (1 Kings 17:13-14)
The widow did as Elijah instructed her to do. For her to use the last of her flour and the last of her oil to first make Elijah a cake of bread, she had to have faith, she had to trust that Elijah spoke God’s truth to her. She had to trust God. She had to believe even though her flour jar and her oil jug would be empty after she prepared Elijah’s meal, that God would provide for her and her son. She had to believe God’s promise, relayed to her by Elijah, that her flour and her oil would not run out until the drought ended.
So she returned home and acting in faith, the widow prepared Elijah’s cake of bread first as he had asked her to do. The result? We read in 1 Kings 17:15-16,
“So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.”
Notice the widow did not return home to a jar and a jug suddenly full to overflowing with flour and with oil. If that had been the case, she would not have needed faith in order to prepare Elijah’s meal because she would not have been using all that she had left to her in the world in order to do so. No, she returned home to find them as empty as she had left them. Still, she made the cake of bread for Elijah first and brought it to him, just as he had requested that she do.
This widow was doing what Abraham did, acting on faith, not on his sight. Because if we can see it, then it is not faith. If we can see it or already possess it, we don’t need faith. 2 Corinthians 5:7 reminds us of this truth.
“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” some translations say live by faith, and the Living Bible says, “We know these things are true by believing, not by seeing.” This goes back to Habakkuk 2:4 which says,
“but the righteous will live by his faith -“. And that is how I am called to live. I want to live like Abraham, like the widow, like the Israelites in the desert, like countless others who have gone before me, stepping out in faith, believing God, taking Him at His word.
The widow’s jar and jug, remind me of the Israelites’ manna in the desert. In each case, it was a day by day supplying of their need. Just as God’s mercies are new every morning, so was His manna new each morning, so was His supply of flour and of oil new every day, just what was needed for that day.
Faith and trust were required anew each and every day. And Abraham, the widow, the Israelites, they all found God to be faithful. I have found Him to be faithful, too. As I hunger and thirst after His righteousness, to know Him more, He is faithful to fill me.
But what God gives is not given for me alone, rather to be poured out on those who have need. I do not need to fear becoming hungry and thirsty because I will find myself hungry and thirsty again – but – He has promised, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
Why does my Heavenly Father do it this way? this one day at a time kind of a thing? What could He be teaching me? Matthew 6:34 gives me an answer.
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Isn’t that the truth and a huge understatement all at the same time? Especially in this era of COVID-19 and civil unrest, each day does seem to present plenty of problems for each of us to deal with. And you, like me, may again find yourself running on empty.
Each day I am thankful for a new beginning – new mercies, new manna, new flour and oil, and I remember these words in John 6:35,
“Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me will never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty.’ ”
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)
sincerely, Grace Day