Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Thirsting for Him

One morning this week as I read in Matthew, a passage that is well familiar to me as it has been read and studied a great many times, caused me once again to pause: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied" (Matthew 5:6.)

The two words that particularly caught my attention were "hunger" and "thirst." And the object of this hungering and thirsting is "righteousness" . . . firstly, being made right with God through believing in Jesus Christ as one's Lord and Savior and being born again, and secondly, it is growing in righteousness, living in such a way that is in keeping with being a child of God.

This "hunger" spoken of here in Matthew means to: "crave ardently, to seek with eager desire." 

"Thirst" is for "those who . . . painfully feel their want of, and eagerly long for, those things by which the soul is refreshed, supported and strengthened." (Definitions from Thayer's Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament.

How powerful and convicting these definitions are! This is to be our heart towards righteousness . . . and as we find elsewhere in Scripture, toward God Himself and His Word (Psalm 119 is an excellent example.)

As I thought about the verse from Matthew, two of my favorite Psalms quickly came to mind . . . .

"As the deer pants for the water brooks, 
so my soul pants [lit. longs] for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God . . . ."
Psalm 42:1-2a

"O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly;
My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You,
In a dry and weary land where there is no water."
Psalm 63:1

What beautiful declarations these are of such great desire and deep longing for the Lord! O to have such a hunger and love for Him as this! 

Just as the thirsty plant in a dry and parched land desperately thirsts and reaches towards the sky for the life-sustaining rain that falls, just as the deer longs for and searches for the water which alone can satisfy its thirst and sustain its life, so should our hearts earnestly long and eagerly thirst for our God, our loving Father, our Lord.

He alone can satisfy, He alone is the "bread of life" and the "living water" that not only is a "well of water springing up to eternal life" (John 4:14), but He and His Word alone are what can nourish, satisfy, and strengthen us "to walk in a manner worthy of [our] calling" (Ephesians 4:1) during our pilgrimage here on earth.

Psalm 63 in its entirety is a treasure of exhortation and examples for us. David penned this Psalm of great devotion, trust in, and longing for the Lord when he was fleeing from Saul, who wanted to take David's life (1 Samuel 22 [verse 5 specifically]) . . . .

"O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly;
My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You,
In a dry and weary land where there is no water . . . .

"Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,

My lips will praise You.
So I will bless You as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.
When I remember You on my bed, 
I meditate on You in the night watches,
For You have been my help,
And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.
My soul clings to You;
Your right hand upholds me."
Psalm 63:1, 3-8

When David's life was at great risk and he was wandering and seeking protection and shelter, where did his thoughts turn? Where was his gaze and heart so strongly fixed? On his God. What a testimony this beautiful Psalm is of a heart so very close to the Lord!

Whenever I read through this passage, there is one thing that always particularly stands out to me . . . do you notice how many heart actions are in this Psalm? (They are bolded in the above passage.) 

David is earnestly seeking the Lord, praising Him, blessing Him, remembering Him when he retires at night; meditating upon Him during the nighttime hours; singing to Him; and he is thirsting, longing, and yearning for Him.

When studying Scripture, I love to look at the definitions of the Hebrew or Greek words as this often gives a deeper, or more thorough, understanding of what is written. The definitions of a couple of the above words that directly relate did that here . . . .

Seek . . . earnestly (one Hebrew word - 7836) - to seek early or earnestly, to look for diligently

Yearns - to pine after, to long; to faint with longing

Cling - to cling or adhere; figuratively to catch by pursuit; to stay close, cleave, follow closely

(Definitions taken from Strong's Exhaustive Concordance and Brown-Driver-Briggs' Hebrew Lexicon of the Old Testament.)

How well all of this describes what our own hearts should be toward the Lord! Remembering Him, praising and blessing Him, clinging to Him, pursuing Him and following Him closely, singing for joy in Him, yearning and thirsting for Him, earnestly seeking Him, meditating upon Him. 

It is a life all-encompassed by our love for Him and devotion to Him. A life and heart that greatly longs, seeks, and works to have our God and His Word be the guiding influence and direction in every single aspect of our lives - from the tiny details to the greatest.

And what a loving Father He is to us! As David declares here: His lovingkindness is better than life, He satisfies us as nothing else can, He is our help, He is our shelter as we can rest in the "shadow of His wings", and His right hand upholds us every step of this journey of life.

~ Posted by Sarah