My soul thirsts for God
Psalm 42 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So my soul pants for You, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God;
When shall I come and appear before God?
3 My tears have been my food day and night,
While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
4 These things I remember and I pour out my soul within me.
For I used to go along with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God,
With the voice of joy and thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival.
5 Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him
For the help of His presence.
6 O my God, my soul is in despair within me;
Therefore I remember You from the land of the Jordan
And the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.
7 Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls;
All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.
8 The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime;
And His song will be with me in the night,
A prayer to the God of my life.
9 I will say to God my rock, “Why have You forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”
10 As a shattering of my bones, my adversaries revile me,
While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
11 Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.
The psalmist says: As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God That should be the heart cry of every believer, that our desire for God would be as great as our desire for the things which sustain our physical bodies. Fellowship and intimacy with God is as important as the air we breathe, as water, as food we eat. Jesus says: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life…” (John 14:6) Jesus is not only the way of life, He is life itself. In John 6:35 Jesus says: "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to Me will never hunger, and whoever believes in Me will never thirst.” So whether we acknowledge it or not our relationship, our intimate fellowship with God is essential to our very being. Without it we are less than whole. In Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus says: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” Loving God, desiring intimate fellowship with Him is foundational to everything else we do. Jesus says that the whole law and the prophets, all of God’s revealed plan for the redemption and restoration of man and creation, depend upon these two commandments. We cannot do the second, until we do the first.
The psalmist says: When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” These things I remember and I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go along with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God, With the voice of joy and thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival. The psalmist, here, was one who was responsible for worship in the temple. His despair is due to the fact that circumstances were preventing him from continuing in that temple worship. He felt separated from God, longing to return to God’s intimate presence. It is different for us. In John 4 Jesus has a conversation with a Samaritan woman about worship. He says: “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” 1 Corinthians 6:19 says: do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For us to worship in spirit and truth does not require that we go to the temple. We are the temple. To worship God in spirit and in truth, to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind, requires only that we live and walk in submission to the indwelling spirit of God, rather than our own desires.
Just as it is important for our physical bodies, to eat right, to drink enough fresh water, so too our spiritual bodies require that we also nourish ourselves with what is good. If our natural diet is full of junk food, things that may be pleasing to our pallets, but lacking in nutrition, we become unhealthy. In the same way if we fill ourselves spiritually with things that are unhealthy, things which may appeal to our physical desires, things of the world, we become spiritually unhealthy. In Psalm 37:4 the psalmist says: Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart. When we love the Lord our God with all our heart, when we worship Him in spirit and in truth, our desires become His desires. It is not that God gives us everything we want. Rather, it is that He Himself is everything we need.
The psalmist says: Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence… Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him The psalmist was reduced to hope of another time to worship and be in God’s presence. We on the other hand have a promise. Jesus says: I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. (John 14:16-17) Jesus also says: “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
The choice is ours to make. We can fill ourselves with the things that appeal to our flesh, the empty things of the world or we can, like the psalmist, so desire to intimately fellowship with and partake of the goodness of God that we are satisfied, filled with everything we need. May our hearts cry be like the psalmist: As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God;
My prayer and my declaration is that of David in Psalm 34
I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall
continually be in my mouth. My soul will make its boast in the Lord; The humble will hear it and rejoice. O magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together. O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! Thank You Lord. Amen