Hungry Hearts – Man as Chaplain

"Behold, a king will reign in righteousness, and princes will rule in justice. Each will be like a hiding place from the wind, a shelter from the storm, like streams of water in a dry place, like the shade of a great rock in a weary land. Then the eyes of those who see will not be closed, and the ears of those who hear will give attention. The heart of the hasty will understand and know, and the tongue of the stammerers will hasten to speak distinctly. […] And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever." -- Isaiah 32:1-4, 17 ESV

In October 1908,
Sir Ernest Shackleton and three companions set out from their base camp in the Antarctic, hoping to be the first men ever to reach the South Pole. A few weeks later, their ponies were dead, and their rations were running low, forcing them to turn and head back to base. The journey lasted 127 days round-trip. In “The Heart of the Antarctic,” Shackleton writes that much of the men’s time was spent talking about the food they’d like to be eating. 

Like Shackleton and his men, Jesus knew what it was like to be hungry, having fasted for 40 days in the wilderness before the start of His public ministry. He told his listeners during the famous Sermon on the Mount that they should pursue righteousness with the same kind of fervor with which a starving man seeks sustenance: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6).

In the dark days of judgment, God gave Israel a bright promise: where they were and what they were experiencing would not last forever. Righteousness would prevail. “Behold a king shall reign in righteousness” begins the chapter. When Christ reigns in righteousness, the result will be peace, joy, and true happiness. However, righteousness will never be the outcome of human effort or mankind’s limited ability. It can only be found and experienced when the King who reigns in righteousness is honored and served.
Founding Father Patrick Henry understood this principle. He
wrote: “Righteousness alone can exalt [America] as a nation. Whoever thou art, remember this; and in thy sphere practice virtue thyself, and encourage it in others.” In his November 20, 1798, handwritten will, he wrote: “This is all the inheritance I can give to my dear family. The religion of Christ can give them one which will make them rich indeed.”

Personally or nationally, this verse is forever true, “When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan” (Proverbs 29:2). Consequently, we should seek to put righteous people in places of influence. What a difference it would make if we had God-fearing, righteous individuals populating our school board, our city council, our state legislature, our Congress, the White House, and the courthouse. However, as Chaplains, our first priority must be developing a hunger for righteousness in our own hearts and then whetting appetites for righteousness in our homes. That happens when we surrender to Christ as the King of Righteousness and worship Him. We have families to lead, a nation to influence, and hungry lives before us that only Christ can satisfy! 

  • How would you describe your relative hunger for Christ and His righteousness? Do you feel satisfied or desperate when it comes to your relationship with the Lord?
  • How are you intentionally creating a hunger and thirst for God’s Kingdom and His righteousness in your family?  
  • Ask God to help you “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33)!