Archive for March 13th, 2018

Thirsting for God

March 13th, 2018

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. (Psalm 63:1 ESV)

Can there be a better description of this godless world than this? A dry and weary land, that has nothing in itself to satisfy the human soul?

The best the world can offer is diversion. Even the natural world that is glimpsed through godless eyes does not offer to our souls what they truly long for. The word for “weary land” compares this world in which we live – the relationships, the values, the pressures, the promises, the lusts that tear our hearts and our families apart, the pride and avarice that is part and parcel of its fallenness – to farm land that never has enough water.

The first lesson of seeking that our souls must learn is that this world does not satisfy our deepest longings – only God is capable of doing this. Too often we seek the blessings of His hand, something temporal and material, rather than seeking the superior blessings of seeing the face of God. We are, after all, in Christ Jesus fundamentally spiritual beings.

This was David’s prayer when he was in the wilderness, when all that was rightfully his had been taken from him and he himself was under the threat of death constantly. Many can relate to David’s experience. He received the anointing of God, but this elevation simply put him in the cross hairs of King Saul. And many receive a promotion, and then realize it has made other jealous, placing them in the cross hairs of the envy and competitiveness of others. And we may say like him, this world is a parched land, that even when it offers you something simply makes you an object of envy of others. Truly promotion puts us in slippery places.

Only what we receive from God can we be assured is ours for eternity. Our souls must not only realize the insecurity of the world’s offers, but also delight in the security of God’s offers to our souls. David had the faith to say, “Your lovingkindness is better than life” and “Thus will I praise you!” (63:3-4). We believe that the promises of God of life and peace and the inner realization of our acceptance in Christ, of our eternal home and our Eternal Father, of His love for us – all of these that we rejoice in are evidences of our faith in His promises.

This also redirects our desires in this life. David rested inwardly by living “in the shadow of [God’s] wings” (63:7). He was not ambitious for himself, and be careful of any ambition that is not established in the will and protective care of God. It is not the position that gives us comfort so much as the awareness of God’s care for us, that does extend to our earthly possessions and life.

“My soul follows hard after thee” (63:8 KJV), describes faith as obedience and following God. Here is another expression of our faith, that we do not only take our requests to God and ask for His blessing and protection. We also expect Him to lead us in our values and decisions so that we can truthfully say we are doing His will with our lives. But it is not the doing of His will alone that is our goal, certainly not our main goal. It is the knowing of God.

If we will know Him first and let that be the goal of our life, if we will love Him, then we will find everything else in our lives falling into its proper place. Too many make their religion one of achieving worldly success first, and wanting the blessings of God to support them. “If faith in God helps me get wealthy,” they reason, “then it might be a good thing.” But that is similar yet worse than saying, “If having a wife would help me get wealthy, then it’s not bad.” One’s wife or husband should be seen as rewards in themselves alone. When all else is gone – money, health, beauty – they are still there and their friendship and love are more valuable than anything else the earth offers.

To know God, to be forgiven and restored to Him, to be reconciled and redeemed, to have Him as our Lord, our protector, our guide, and our strength – these are the most precious things in life.

Daily Devotions, Psalms