Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Thirst of the Godly Soul

O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.

Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.

When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches.
Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me.
Psalm 63:1-8

The Psalmist draws a picture of himself as a thirsty man in a waterless land. Even though we have the omnipresence of God in the world, the Psalmist wanted something more from God. He wanted Gods divine presence within Himself.

As I was preparing this message I came to grips with the thought that I was thirsty for another outpouring of the presence of God in my own heart. No matter where we are in life there should always be a thirst after God.

The power and the glory mentioned in verse 2 are not the external splendor of public worship, but the communications of Divine grace, as manifested in the experience of the devoted soul. The Psalmist longed for such communion with God as he had formerly enjoyed in the sanctuary.

The thirst is not merely for the ordinances of a man-made religion, or for teaching concerning God. The thirst of the soul of man needs for its satisfaction to be brought into a vital and sympathetic relations with the Divine.

The Psalmist was seeking...
  • ...a Person. Creeds and ordinances cannot satisfy the soul.
  • ...a living Person. Not one whose work and life and love are things of the past; but One "who is able to save, because He ever liveth." I am so glad that Jesus is alive today and that we can have him with us every moment that we live!
  • ...a divine Person: One who is able satisfactorily to respond to the soul's deepest yearnings, to help it to realize its loftiest aspirations. Only in God can the thirst of man's soul find satisfaction.
Each of the verbs indicates intense desire. It is a thirst of the entire man. "My soul thirsts." Soul and flesh are used to denote the whole man by two principal parts. His whole being went out after God in fervent desire. Wanting God became the Psalmist's number one pursuit in life.

"In a dry and thirsty land where no water is." These words are literally true. The wilderness of Judah where David was at this time, even in the neighborhood of the Jordan, was a desert country.

These words are also true figuratively. The desert was a picture of his condition, an exile from his throne and home, and from the sanctuary of the Lord. His own son and his most trusted counselor, with a great host of his subjects, were in armed rebellion against him. The circumstances in which he was placed led him to seek the Lord more earnestly.

Sorrow and trials often drive us closer to God if we let them. We must never let trials in life separate us from God but rather use them for stepping stones to get closer to Him.

We live in a world today that is becoming more and more like the place that David found himself, that is in a dry and thirsty land where there is very little spiritual water to be found.

There are churches today who have replaced programs for the presence of God. The old hymns are being replaced with contemporary music in some churches today. Maybe I am old-fashioned but I still like the words from the songs that feed my soul. There is even one T.V. minister who never uses the name of Jesus. (May the Lord help me to fulfill my God-given call to proclaim His Word in truth.)

I think that Christianity has come to the place the scripture talks about when it says in 2 Timothy 3:5:
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
I think that Jeremiah 2:13 says it best:

For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.
But I am so glad that God gives us a promise in Isaiah 35:6-10:

For in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.

The Message Bible says it like this:

Springs of water will burst out in the wilderness, streams flow in the desert. Hot sands will become a cool oasis, thirsty ground a splashing fountain.

May the Lord help us, as a church, to become an oasis in the desert for people who are thirsty for God.

The way this church can become a spring in the desert is for each one of us seek the face of God until the springs flow out of us.

Do you thirst for the living God? Have we learned that the church without God is a desert? But a greater question is, have we learned that, if we are thirty, He is an oasis of satisfying water?

Why did David thus yearn for God? Two reasons are suggested.
  1. Because of his personal relation to God. Jehovah was the God of the psalmist, not only by creation, but by covenant; not only by virtue of His claims, but also by the psalmist's choice and consecration. There was a recognized and sacred relation between them. Because of it, it was right and appropriate that the Psalmist should seek God. Blessed are we if, when the woes of life over takes us, we can address ourselves to Him, saying, "O God, thou art my God..." A personal relationship with Jesus is so vital to us in these last days. Without that we have no hope of eternal life. Without it we can’t help others to know Him.
  2. Because of his exalted estimation of God. David says that he longs for God, "Because thy lovingkindness is better than life." We regard "life" here as signifying more than mere existence; for the statement of the Psalmist implies that life is good but life was not as good as God's lovingkindness. The Psalmist regarded the lovingkindness of God as better than a life of prosperity and pleasure. Having God's lovingkindness in his troubled life in the wilderness of Judah, David would esteem himself; more blessed than in a life of pleasure in his palace at Jerusalem without it.
"My lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless Thee while I live; I will lift up my hands in Thy name."
The lifting up of the hands was the attitude of worship, and symbolized the lifting up of the heart.

In his sorrowful exile while thirsting for God, the Psalmist praises Him because...
  • ...of what God is to Himself.
  • ...of what God is to the Psalmist.
  • ...of what He has done for him
  • ...of what He has promised to do for him.
In the bitterest experiences of life the devout heart will find matter and motive for praising God. Oh, the delightful realization of His presence!

Jesus cried, saying "If any man thirst, let Him come unto me and drink."
We live in a dry and thirsty land spiritually today, but there is an oasis were we can find water.

For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring: And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses. Isaiah 44:3-4

Ho! every one that is thirsty in spirit,
Ho! every one that is weary and sad;
Come to the fountain, there’s fullness in Jesus,
All that you’re longing for: come and be glad!

"I will pour water on him that is thirsty,
I will pour floods upon the dry ground;
Open your hearts for the gifts I am bringing;
While ye are seeking Me, I will be found."

Child of the world, are you tired of your bondage?
Weary of earth joys, so false, so untrue?
Thirsting for God and His fullness of blessing?
List to the promise, a message for you!

Child of the kingdom, be filled with the Spirit!
Nothing but "fullness" thy longing can meet;
’Tis the enduement for life and for service;
Thine is the promise, so certain, so sweet.
--Lucy J. Myer

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

WOW, this is incredible! While looking for the Hymn with the words, "I will pour water on him who is thirsty" I came upon your website & read the sermon. It was obvious that it was God who brought me to it, for what a blessing it was!!! Our family sing Southern Gospel Music across America, and I have been in prayer for a certain Church who seems to look for ministry instead of seeking what God wants. Thank you for this encouragement to seek God & HIS power! God bless His ministry through you!, in Christ, Christine.