Daily Devotional – The Beatitudes by Thomas Watson Part XXX

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Image Depicting Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount

The Beatitudes

by Thomas Watson

An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12 

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
“Blessed are those who are persecuted, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

Spiritual Hunger!

Theme: a duty implied; a promise annexed.

 

But some may say, ‘If my hunger were right then I could take comfort in it—but I fear it is counterfeit. Hypocrites have their desires.’

In reply, that I may the better settle a doubting Christian I shall show the difference between true and false desires, spiritual hunger and carnal hunger.

1. The hypocrite does not desire grace for itself. He desires grace only as a bridge to lead him over to heaven. He does not so much search after grace—as glory. He does not so much desire the way of righteousness—as the crown of righteousness. His desire is not to be made like Christ—but to reign with Christ. This was Balaam’s desire. ‘Let me die the death of the righteous’ (Numbers 23:10). Such desires as these are found among the damned. This is the hypocrite’s hunger. But a child of God desires grace for itself, and Christ for himself. To a believer not only is heaven precious, but Christ is precious, “Yes, He is very precious to you who believe!” (1 Peter 2:7).

2. The hypocrite’s desire is conditional. He would have heaven and his sins too, heaven and his pride, heaven and his covetousness. The young man in the gospel would have had heaven, provided he might keep his earthly possessions. Many a man would have Christ—but there is some sin he must gratify. This is the hypocrites’ hunger; but true desire is absolute. Give me, says the soul, Christ on any terms. Let God propound whatever articles he will, I will subscribe to them. Would he have me deny myself? Would he have me mortify sin? I am content to do anything—just so I may have Christ. Hypocrites would have Christ—but they will not part with their beloved lust for Him!

3. Hypocrites’ desires are but desires. They are lazy and sluggish. ‘The desire of the slothful kills him, for his hands refuse to labor’ (Proverbs 21:25). Men would be saved but they will take no pains. Does he desire water. Who will not let down the bucket into the well? But true desire is quickened into endeavor. ‘All night long I search for you; earnestly I seek for God.’ (Isaiah 26:9). The ‘violent take heaven by force (Matthew 11:12). The lovesick spouse, though she was wounded, and her veil taken away—yet she seeks after Christ (Canticles 5:7). Desire is the weight of the soul, which sets it a going; as the eagle which desires her prey makes haste to it. ‘Where the slain are, there is she’ (Job 39:30). The eagle has sharpness of sight to discover her prey, and swiftness of wing to fly to it. So the soul who hungers after righteousness, is carried swiftly to it in the use of all holy ordinances.

4. The hypocrite’s desires are cheap. He would have spiritual things—but will be spend nothing for them. He cares not how much money he parts with for his lusts; he has money to spend upon a drunken companion; but he has no money to part with for the maintaining of God’s ordinances. Hypocrites cry up religion—but cry down supporting the church. But true desires are costly. David would not offer burnt-offerings without cost (1 Chronicles 21:24). A hungry man will give anything for food; as it fell out in the siege of Samaria (2 Kings 6:25). That man never hungered after Christ, who thinks much of parting with a little silver for ‘the Pearl of great price’.

5. Hypocrites’ desires are flashy and transient. They are quickly gone, like the wind which does not stay long in one corner. Or like a hot fit which is soon over. While the hypocrite is under terror of conscience, or in affliction, he has some good desires—but the hot fit is soon over. His goodness, like a fiery comet, soon spends and evaporates. But true desire is constant. It is observable that the word in the text is: ‘Blessed are those who are hungering.’ Though they have righteousness—yet they are still hungering after more. Hypocrites desire it like the motion of a watch—which is quickly run down. The desire of a godly man is like the beating of the pulse—which lasts as long as life. ‘My soul breaks for the longing that it has to your judgments’ (Psalm 119:20). And that we might not think this pang of desire would soon be over he adds, ‘at all times’. David’s desire after God was not a high color in a fit—but the constant complexion of his soul. In the temple the fire was not to go out by night. ‘The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar’ (Leviticus 6:13). There was, says Cyril, a mystery in it, to show that we must be ever burning in holy affections and desires.

6. Hypocrites’ desires are unseasonable. They are not well-timed. They put off their hungering after righteousness until it is too late. They are like the foolish virgins, who came knocking when the door was shut (Matthew 25:11). In time of health and prosperity the stream of their affections ran another way. It was sin the hypocrite desired, not righteousness. When he is about to die and can keep his sins no longer, now he would have grace as a passport to carry him to heaven (Luke 13:25). This is the hypocrite’s fault. His desires are too late. He sends forth his desires when his last breath is going forth; as if a man should desire a pardon after the sentence is passed. These bedridden desires are bogus! But true desires are timely and seasonable. A gracious heart ‘seeks first the Kingdom of God’ (Matthew 6:33). David’s thirst after God was early (Psalm 63:1). The wise virgins got their oil early before the bridegroom came. Thus we see the difference between a true and false hunger. Those who can find this true hunger are blessed, and may take comfort in it

Published by directorfsm

I retired from the Army in 1994 and lost my way in the world. I ended up in prison and it was truly the best thing that could have happened. There Christ rescued me from my depravity (John 3:19) and made me whole again. Since my release in 2006 I have worked in some form of ministry, either prison or construction/disaster relief and sometimes both. My lovely wife Naida and I serve as Missionaries from Pioneer Valley Baptist Church, Chicopee, MA. We are currently headquartered in Jackson, MS. We were sent to the mission field in 2012 to help Rebuild Lakeshore, a ministry of Lakeshore Baptist Church in Lakeshore, MS complete its post Katrina building projects. We had been serving there part time for many years before being called into full time service. While there my wife worked the Mercy House distribution center and I worked as project manager/volunteer coordinator also serving as Sr. Volunteer Chaplain at the local Hancock county jail. Since completing that project in late 2015 we relocated to Jackson MS to assist a church there that had come to help in Lakeshore many times. But due to many circumstances the focus for the ministry has changed some and expanded over the past 24 months. We still help churches in their building projects and do a lot of disaster relief work. For a full list of what we offer please see the SERVICES OFFERED page on our Faith Builders site. Back in 2006 I started Faithful Steward Ministries and FSM Women’s Outreach a Christian outreach ministry; to those with addictions, incarcerated and our veterans we continue to write and mentor these folks. Additionally I am a Chaplain for Mission M25 Network on Run For the Wall and for two military organizations. Between us my wife and I have two beautiful daughters 3 sons and 11 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild.

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