A Thirst for God
Pastor Oliver explains why true satisfaction can only be found in God.
I looked onto the hot, dry sands of the Pinnacles, Western Australia, and I recalled the words of Psalm 63:
God, you are my God; I eagerly seek you.
I thirst for you;
my body faints for you
in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water.
I licked my dry lips, eager for a sip from the water bottle left behind in the car. "So," I thought to myself, "this is what the psalmist meant when he said he thirst for God." You spent a length of time in an arid desert, and your body desperately longs for a drink of water. It is this desperate longing that the psalmist pictures in Psalm 63:1. I began to think about how good it will be to take a long gulp of cold water. So, this is what it meant to long for God: a desperate thirst for the satisfaction found in God.
The title of Psalm 63 tells us that this psalm was written by David when he was in the wilderness. He was likely fleeing from Absalom (2 Sam 15:13-30). David's first declaration was that he eagerly thirst for God (v1). He desired God's presence, but he was in trouble, and he did not experience God's satisfying presence. I wondered, "Do I desire God's presence and do I long for something else?" In both times of trouble and times of blessings, is my desire only for God? Looking at the sales for "11.11", it seems that many Singaporeans find satisfaction in our stuff. Do you long for God? Or is your desire for something else?
Why did David desperately long for God? Verses 2-5 tells us that David had found satisfaction in God in the past (and not in accumulating stuff). He recalled his time in the sanctuary before the ark of God's presence, and he experienced God's glory. He has tasted God's faithful covenantal love for him, and David declared that it was better than life. God had brought David satisfaction: as with rich food. Imagine the satisfaction you received when you bite into an oily "bak-kwa" (barbequed pork). And David's response? Praise (v4 & v5b)! David's satisfaction in God led him to praise and worship God. Delighting in God leads to our praise which completes the delight!
My friends, now that we can safely assemble as a church, even though in smaller numbers due to Covid-19 precautions, let us gather together. Although God is everywhere present, God will usually graciously encourage the hearts of His people gathered. He does this through the presence of His Spirit, applying the preached and sung word to His people gathered. So I urge you, when it is safe for you, taking all the necessary Covid-19 precautions, do plan to gather for church service!
In times of troubles, David thought of and remembered God. Even in his sleep, he turned his thoughts to God. He trusted that God is his help; that he could find safety and security "in the shadow of your wings" (v7). God's right hand will protect him (v8). David rejoiced in the protective presence of God and can rest securely. Because of this, David, who is under pressure and pursuit from his enemies, can have confidence. His enemies will meet their just ends, and the king (here meaning David) can rejoice in God (v9-11)! Hence, in our times of trouble, we can turn to God. In Him, we can have safety, security and vindication. Amid our problems, God can bring rescue and deliverance. My friends, if you are in a bit of trouble, you can trust God. He will be your protection.
As Bible scholar, Tremper Longman III writes,
The psalmist seeks God's help in the face of murderous foes. He desires God's palpable presence in the crisis. He remembers the clear experience of his power and glory in the sanctuary (v. 2). He is willing to die for God's love which is better than life (v. 3), although he is also confident in God's ultimate victory on his behalf. He commits himself to worship.
When we thirst for God and find our satisfaction in Him, our fulfilment and contentment in Him should lead us to worship and praise God. Is God's love better than life? It is. For this, we can look to Jesus. As Bible teacher Gerald Wilson writes,
Jesus didn't want to die on the cross. He asked God if he could pass—if there weren't some other way (Matthew 26:39). But he went to the cross willingly because God's love (for Jesus, and through Jesus for you and me) was better than life. Christianity is no "pie in the sky by and by". It is realistic, challenging, real, here-and-now faith that endures because God lives and loves faithfully and enduringly in our lives now and here.
And because God's love through Jesus Christ is better than life, we can trust that it will truly satisfy. My friends, may God's committed covenant love so fill you that you will come to know this abundant life that truly satisfies!
1. In preparation for Christmas, we will be celebrating Advent Sundays starting 29 Nov 2020. The theme is "A Son is Given" and we will cover a sermon series on selected passages from Isaiah. Do invite your friends as we remember Christ's birth and prepare for Christmas.
2. Christmas Service this year will be on Friday, 25 Dec 2020 at 9am. Please note it in your calendar as we come together as a church to celebrate the birth of Christ!
3. Let's cultivate our desire for God by coming together to pray! The next Prayer Meeting will be on Friday, 27 Nov 2020 at 8pm. For those gathering in person in the church building, do register on Eventbrite. For the rest joining in via Zoom, the details are found here: https://tinyurl.com/monthly-prayer-meeting.
4. Join us at 9am this Sunday for our Worship Service. If you cannot join us onsite (we still have a limit of 100 persons), do join us via our livestream on YouTube. We will look at Luke 14:25-35, "The Cost of Discipleship". Pray for God's Spirit to prepare our hearts even now as we read the scripture passage a few times before Sunday.