“You, God, are my God,
Earnestly I seek You;
I thirst for You
My whole being longs for You,
In a dry and parched land where there is no water.
I have seen You in the sanctuary
And beheld Your power and Your glory.
Because Your love is better than life,
My lips will glorify You.
I will praise You as long as I live,
And in Your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be satisfied as with the richest if foods;
With singing lips my mouth will praise You.”
The traditional heading of this psalm gives the occasion for writing: “…of David. When he was in the Desert of Judah.”
I once walked in the desert in Israel, beautiful but desolate and as arid as can be. Yet even in such a place, or perhaps BECAUSE he was in such a place, David’s greatest longing of all came out in this song, not for food or water, but for the tangible presence of the Lord.
Jesus hints that we may lose our hunger and thirst for Him: “but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful” (Mark 4:19). Probably this has been true of me, and most of us, if we are honest: we love Jesus, but there are always other things to take our attention. Even good things in the wrong proportions can squeeze out our passion for the Lord, our hunger and thirst for Him.
Some of you may remember me talking of the time when I was eating five Cadbury’s Cream Eggs a day; we lived near the factory where they sold large bags of seconds (not what the government meant by “5-a-day”!!).
I had to stop doing that! The problem was not my weight or my teeth, but my appetite. I was so full of sugar (enough to power a small city) that I had no desire for good, healthy food (even Lynette’s!). I had to go on a sugar-fast to break by cream egg habit!
What is it that takes away our appetite for the Lord? Do we have to find ourselves in a desert before we will long for Him? Surely it is better to take a look at what fills our lives, even the good things, and ask, do I truly hunger and thirst for Him? Does Jesus satisfy me “as with the richest of foods”? We may need to draw back on some things for a while to retrain our appetites.
Some of us may feel that Lockdown is like being in the desert. In which case, let’s thank God and take the opportunity to nurture our hunger for Him, a chance to refocus and retrain our appetite.
PRAYER: (first pray Psalm 63 above as a personal prayer). Lord, show me what is dampening my appetite for You. If it is something unavoidable at the moment, show me how to use my circumstances to draw nearer to You rather than be dragged away. Deepen my desire for being close to You. Thank you that we CAN know You so intimately and that You alone can truly fill us to overflowing.