Whoever is steadfast in righteousness will live, but whoever pursues evil will die. Proverbs 11:19

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

What is meant by righteousness? After all, the psalmist says we should be steadfast in it.  A definition is acting in accordance with moral or divine law; morally right or justifiable. Being virtuous. We also use the term “righteous indignation” plus the slang usage where it’s used to mean genuine or excellent. (Merriam-Webster)  So, being “steadfast in righteousness” would mean to continually think and act in accordance with moral law. This results in life, while pursuing evil results in death.

There is a contrast being the two – righteous = follow God’s law, evil = acting apart from God’s law. Just have to make a choice and behave properly. Somehow that isn’t always that easy, and things often are not so black and white. What chance do we have as sinful people to just be righteous and never stray?  

In the Beatitudes, from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus lists many things that result in us being blessed. The one for today talks about righteousness. Notice not that it doesn’t say you will be blessed because you are righteous, but rather that you are searching for righteousness. Actually hungering and thirsting for it, just like we get hungry for food and thirsty for water. Jesus knows we aren’t going to be righteous all the time. We are assured, however, that as we try our best to follow God’s moral laws, with as much vigor as we search out food when we are hungry, that we will be filled.  

Lord, we hunger for so many things when our greatest hunger should be for you. Thank you for your generosity. Give us an appetite for wise and right living rather than for wealth and security. Give us the desire to labor for justice and righteousness in the face of the injustices we see all around us. Amen.  

Chris Gabel