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Thirsting for God

Thirsting for God

Read Ps 63:1-11

“My soul thirsts for you, my flesh yearns for you.”

The region southern Israel, the land is a barren, hot desert where little grows. It is a wilderness where water is scarce and there is little shade to protect one from the scorching sun that is beating down upon anyone who travels in this region. It is a place where thirst would be one’s constant companion and water would be one’s obsession. It was in this wasteland that David was forced to flee when his own son, Absalom, sought to usurp the throne and wrestle the kingdom (2 Samuel 15-18). But it was not just the barren wilderness of southern Judah that David found himself fleeing for refuge, it was a place where he would experience the wilderness of his soul. One can only imagine the despair that David must have felt as he found himself sitting under the hot Judean sun. His own son had betrayed him and turned against him. When Absalom was killed, we see the depth of David’s pain when he lamented, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son.”

It was in this wilderness, both literal and figurative, that David penned the words of this Psalm. When one reads the Psalm one can easily hear the echo of David’s circumstances as his words speak of thirst “in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” But surprisingly the Psalm is not a Psalm of lament where the writer would cry in deep grief because of his circumstances (such as Psalm 13). It is not a Psalm where David prays for God’s deliverance and restoration to the throne. Instead, we find in this Psalm David in deep longing, but not for a change in his circumstances, but for God himself. In the midst of one of the darkest periods of his life, what David longs for most is a fresh vision of God. David was not just facing physical thirst; he was confronted with spiritual thirst.

If you have ever been really thirsty, you know that water becomes your one thought. The drier your mouth becomes, the more you think only of a cool refreshing drink of water. In his longing and thirst in his wilderness experience, David’s one thought is being satisfied by the power and glory of God. So powerful is David’s longing for God, that it becomes his one thought day and night. When sleep escapes him because he has to remain watchful for his enemies, instead of thinking of them, he thinks only of God (vs 6). For David, the one longing is that he remains riveted upon God. In verse 8 he states that he would cling to God. The word cling speaks of a deep, unbreakable attachment. The word can be translated, to be glued or joined fast with another.

This is what we have lost in our modern Christianity. God is no longer our longing. To satisfy the longings of our soul we turn to all other activities rather than God. We strive for theological integrity, and rightfully so. But we have forgotten that the end game is not theological correctness, but a personal relationship with the living God. We no longer thirst for God. We no longer find our satisfaction in God himself (vs 5). But how do we change? It begins by developing a thirst for God and to not be satisfied until we find him. It is to cultivate a desire to have a personal relationship—so much so that it becomes our constant prayer and thought. This begins by asking God to give us what is not natural for sinful man; a longing for him. This is a prayer that God promises to answer. Christ stated in the Sermon on the mount, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” Today, start to make it your daily prayer that God will give you a longing for him.

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