Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Matthew 5:6
Jesus therefore took the loaves; and having given thanks, He distributed to those who were seated; likewise also of the fish as much as they wanted. And when they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments that nothing may be lost.” John 6:11-12
I do not come from a background that observes Lent, an annual season of fasting and penitence in preparation for Easter. However, during this past few weeks it seems the Lord Himself put me in this mode. Our church had just finished a Bible study and we were challenged to fast something for 10 days. One of the suggestions was that we fast television. That particular suggestion dominated my thinking, so the following Monday I began my TV fast. On that very day, inexplicably, my internet went out. When I contacted my server they indicated they had no record of our internet account which seemed preposterous. Would you believe it took two weeks to resolve it? Added to these two simultaneously occurring events I dropped my cell phone in our dog’s water bowl. I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I began to see that Someone wanted my full attention. One of the true benefits of the voluntary and enforced fasts was a greater hunger and thirst for righteousness. It stood out to me that in John 6:11-12 that they were given as much food as they wanted. I had been snacking on the world’s junk food and it had indeed dulled my appetite and the Lord desired for me to know that. I don’t watch sordid or awful programs. The song One Pure and Holy Passion by William Murphy states:
This world is empty, pale, and poor– Compared to knowing You my Lord. Lead me on, and I will run after You.
Empty, pale, and poor is an apt description of some of the things that were taking too much of my time and attention. The heart of this song is a cry and a prayer that He would give us one pure and holy passion. That He would give us one magnificent obsession. Instead we obsess over our favorite television programs, texting, games, twitter feeds, blogs, pinterest , and fill in the _______. God is so gracious, full of mercy and lovingkindness, but He is not into competing for our attention. He has given us many exceedingly great and precious promises, but not all of them are unconditional. They require something of us.
”I, the LORD, am your God, Who brought you up from the land of Egypt; Open your mouth wide and I will fill it. “But My people did not listen to My voice; And Israel did not obey Me. “So I gave them over to the stubbornness of their heart, to walk in their own devices. “Oh that My people would listen to Me, that Israel would walk in My ways! “I would quickly subdue their enemies, and turn My hand against their adversaries. Psalm 81:10-14
We are told in 2 Chronicles 16:9
“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars.”
He wants our hearts to be fully His and our mouths opened wide with desire to have our emptiness filled by no one and no thing, but Him. He’s jealous for us friends. His jealousy is whole and pure longing with desire to show Himself strong on our behalf. Will we run to Him with hungry hearts or appetites that have been dulled by the empty, pale, and poor things the world is offering to distract us? He will give us as much as we want. During this week approaching Easter let’s do as the song by Helen H. Lemmel says,
Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. The things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.