Thy will be done. Whatever it is.
Day 10: Matthew 5:6
Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires; God will satisfy them fully!
Another, perhaps more familiar translation of this is, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” If we really, really want to do the right thing, then God will help us make it happen. If we want to do the will of God with all our heart and mind and soul and strength, he will point us in the right direction and give us what we need to make it happen. He will show us the way.
It’s important to note that this does not say, “Happy are those who do what God requires.” It says, “Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires.” We only have to want it and God will do it. We just have to be willing to let go and God will make something cool happen.
So what does God require? God’s original requirements were given to Moses and recorded in the first 5 books of the Bible. The 613 laws recorded in the Books of Exodus through Deuteronomy were as specific as the 10 Commandments and as broad as the command to love one another in Leviticus 19:18. Many of these original laws are no longer considered requirements by today’s religious authorities (both Jewish and Christians) because they were appropriate only for those living in the time of Moses. For example, we don’t do animal sacrifices anymore, everyone wears blended fabrics, and we don’t destroy our houses when we get a little mildew.
In the centuries after the original 613 laws recorded in Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy were handed down to Moses, God sent various prophets to clarify God’s will for the people in their own time. The newer rules were generally less specific. For example, God’s new, broader requirements regarding social justice were given to the people through the prophet Isaiah:
“Remove the chains of oppression and the yoke of injustice, and let the oppressed go free. Share your food with the hungry and open your homes to the homeless poor. Give clothes to those who have nothing to wear, and do not refuse to help your own relatives. Then my favor will shine on you like the morning sun, and your wounds will be quickly healed. I will always be with you to save you; my presence will protect you on every side. When you pray, I will answer you. When you call to me, I will respond.“ (Isaiah 58:1-9)
Another set of requirements is listed in Psalm 15:
Those who obey God in everything and always do what is right, whose words are true and sincere, and who do not slander others. They do no wrong to their friends nor spread rumors about their neighbors. They despise those whom God rejects, but honor those who obey the Lord. They always do what they promise, no matter how much it may cost. They make loans without charging interest and cannot be bribed to testify against the innocent.
And here’s one of my favorite ones from the prophet Micah:
No, the LORD has told us what is good. What he requires of us is this: to do what is just, to show constant love, and to live in humble fellowship with our God. (Micah 6:8).
If you combine the words of Jesus in today’s scripture with the words of Micah, you could assume that if you are honest, loving, and humble you will be happy. If you are corrupt, unloving, and prideful you will not be happy. If you live in harmony with others you will be happy, but if you initiate discord you will be miserable.
So these are all good guidelines, but what does God specifically require of me today in Woodstock Illinois in the 21st century? What do I have to do to be happy and blessed? Is the Bible a definitive source of God’s requirements for all humanity for all time? I used to think so. When I made a serious commitment to live the Christian life I would read the Bible looking for secret encoded messages that would give me specific answers to the issues I was struggling with in my own life.
As I matured in the faith I came to the realization that the Bible isn’t about me. I realized that the Bible is about God, the history of the Jewish people, the story of Jesus, and the birth of the church. It is only an introduction that invites us to a real, interactive relationship with “The Great I Am.” It is profound, but it isn’t magical, and it isn’t an oracle. The Bible is helpful, but it is not God. The answers I was seeking could only be found through prayer and contemplation and listening to God. I needed inner healing and spiritual maturity and self-acceptance. I needed signs and wonders and encounters with the supernatural power of God. I needed to grow in love. And while the Bible promotes all these things, it is not a substitute for these things.
And, in the spirit of today’s scripture, I have realized over time that I don’t have to have all the answers. In fact, I don’t have to have any answers at all. I just have to desire, with all of my heart, for God’s will to be done. God can somehow transform that desire into something that makes the world a better place, even if I’m not aware of what’s going on. Because it is apparently not about doing and achieving and obeying laws and being perfect. That’s a pretty prideful concept when you think about it. It’s about having desire for God’s will to be done in all things and an expectation that it can actually happen.
What does this scripture say to you?