Faithlife Sermons

Earnest Thirst

Preaching the Psalms of David  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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When the pressures of life surround us in defeat people of God must earnestly seek and thirst after Him instead of relying upon the things of the world.

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Introduction

John Chrysostom (347-407) said, “the spirit and soul of the whole Book of Psalms is contracted into this Psalm.” - John Chrysostom
C.F. Keil and Franze Delietch stated that the ancient church began their services with the singing of Psalm 63 calling it the “morning hymn”
David never makes a petition in this Psalm. He makes a petition in a similar situation in Psalm 3, but here he expresses his longing for God’s presence, praise, joy, fellowship, and confidence in salvation without asking for a single blessing. Derek Kidner lays out the Psalm as (1-3) “God my desire”;(5-8) “God my delight”; and (9-11) “God my defense.”
We all face pressures in life. We are facing immense pressure right now. This prayer teaches us to earnestly seek after and thirst for God. Even in the midst of life’s pressures we turn to God. When the pressures of life surround us in defeat people of God must earnestly seek and thirst after Him instead of relying upon the things of the world.
David teaches us three distinct lessons in these 11 verses. Let’s read the Psalm and dive in.

David displays an intense conviction for God

Despite the pressures David faced, his sole priority was to seek the Lord. He has fled from the throne. He left his possessions and his wives behind him. His own son whom he loved was attempting to kill him. And yet in all of this, David wasn’t seeking for any of those things to fill the vacuum in his life. He wasn’t praying, “O God, give me my wives back. Give me my palace back. Give me my kingdom back.” But rather, he prayed, “I shall seek You”; “my soul thirsts for You”; “my flesh yearns for You”; “Your love is better than life.” What amazing statements. We try to fill the emptiness in our souls with so many different things in this life. While those things may be good things, they are not always God things.

He thirsts for God

Jesus tells us those who thirst for righteousness will be bless (Matthew 5:6) and if anyone is thirsty to come to Him and drink (John 7:37). He tells the samaritan woman that whoever drinks from the water He will give will never be thirsty again (John 4:13-14).
In earlier Psalms we are reminded of to thirst for God even in the midst of trouble or exile (Psalm 42:1-2)

He desires worship

Our desire for worship must be as deep as David’s. David sits in the wilderness remembering back to the times when he and all the people of God would enter the sanctuary of worship and behold the power and glory of God.
This word glory is the same word used when God filled the tabernacle in Exodus 40:34-35 and when God filled the temple in 1 Kings 8:10-11. God’s glory is His special presence with his people.
David has seen the power and glory of the God in the public worship of the people. Now at a time of immense pressure David desires once again to see that power and glory, for He knows that God is no prisoner of his sanctuary! God will reveal Himself!
We are in a time of immense pressure right now, and of all things we may learn is to appreciate and desire public worship more! We are the temple, the sanctuary, and we can behold the power and glory of the Lord.

He longs for love

David has the attitude that life is not worth living without the love of God. It is this love that drives his service and praise to God.
Paul has a similar attitude in Acts 20:24 and Philippians 1:21-23. Do we have the same attitude? In life, love is most precious of all virtues (1 Corinthians 13:13). Isn’t it strange then how we spend so much time looking for satisfaction, joy, happiness in so many other places, and we spend so little time seeking and enjoying the everlasting love of God. David longed for God, but David didn’t have the added benefit of beholding God’s great love for us at the cross! How much more should we long for God!

He postures to praise

This word bless means to praise, adore, give blessing. It is a phrase of loyalty and implies a posture of kneeling before a ruler. Because the love of God is better than life itself, David has decided to give his life to God.
He says I will lift up my hands. This is the idea of deep praise and honor toward God. Imagine being at a sports event of concert. When the big play is made or the crowd favorite song is played what do people do? They raise their hands in joy and excitement showing their admiration and appreciation for what is happening. David says at the name of the Lord will he lift up his hands. This is a heart posture!
Today, in general, our society rarely treats God’s name with such sacred praise. You and I can change that for ourselves though. We can be an example and treat His name with such admiration and appreciation. As well, we can teach others through bold love why it is so important to posture our hearts toward praise for God!

God’s presence permeates every area of David’s life

God isn’t just a spoke in the wheel; He’s the hub. God isn’t just a slice of life, who rounds out your other pursuits. Rather, God permeates every area of your life. He’s at the center of every decision you make. He’s the Lord of every relationship you have. There is no area of your life, be it your business, your family, your education, or whatever, where God is not an integral part. There is no division between sacred and secular; all of life is related to God.

His soul is satisfied by God

In verse 5, we see a contrast with verse 1. If the thirst was too weak a metaphor, David makes up for it here showing that his soul is feasted. David’s praise is now exuberant!

His thoughts are on God

David’s appetite for God was sharpened in the wilderness, and now more so in his wakefulness through the watches of the night. This is an expression that stresses the slow progress of hours.
David is restless. His enemies are in hot pursuit and through this hardship of both wilderness and wakefulness he enlists his time and thought in the Lord.
David is undoubtably busy. He has a lot on his mind. It is not stretch to assume his stress and weariness. It would be easy for David to brush God off as an after thought. But he doesn’t do that. David made it a priority to spend time alone with God.
James Boice says, “There are three types of people in any Christian gathering. There are those who are Christians in name only. They seem to be following after God and Jesus Christ and say they are, but theirs as a false following. The second class are those who are following Jesus but are following ‘at a distance’. The third type are those who in storm and sunshine, cleave to Him and enjoy daily communion with Him. These people want God, and they want him intensely because they know that He and He alone will satisfy the deep longing of their souls. David was a person who desired God above everything else”

His help and safety is in God

David is filled by God, thinks on God, and is safe in the presence of God. David is not simply referring to physical safety. Of all people, David knows that physical safety is not guaranteed. David is talking about soul safety. He is explicitly talking about his soul throughout this whole Psalm (1, 5 , 8). David knows that in God his soul is safe. His spirit is helped.
With this understanding, David once again makes a reference to where his joy comes from. In verse 5, David praises with joyful lips and here he sings for joy. Notice the worship language that is found here showing the praise David gives God. David’s joy comes from the Lord. Our joy comes from the Lord.
Joy is a strange word for David to use here given his current predicament. However, David knows that no matter the pressures of life he can always praise and sing joy to the Lord having joy in his life because of the provision of God. We too can have joy despite the pressures of life because of the provision of God.

His soul clings to God

To cling in Hebrew means to be loyal in relation to affection. The word “clings” is the same Hebrew word used of the marriage relationship in Genesis 2:24 and Ruth’s determination to be with Naomi in Ruth 1:14. “In the present verse it is strenuous: lit., ‘clings after thee’, as if in hot pursuit.” David follows behind God, like a soldier travels behind the shield that he carries. Again, Boice says, “If you have been satisfied by God, isn’t it true that you will want to cling to Him too? If you are not clinging to Him, perhaps it is because you have never sought Him enough to be truly and deeply satisfied.”
In this verse we also see human and Divine cooperation. God will uphold us, if we will trust Him. God is the one who makes it possible to cling to Him. We see this in the strength of the stronger partner as we see in Isaiah 41:10. We see this same divine-human interplay in Philippians 3:8-14.

Righteousness and Justice are the Foundation of His throne, Vengeance belongs to Him

Psalm 89:4 states that righteousness and justice are the foundation of God’s throne, and love and faithfulness go before Him. Deuteronomy 32:25 and Romans 12:19 state that vengeance belongs to God. David undoubtable knew this as he utters these words.
9 - In these verses, David returns the reader to the reason for the Psalm. David’s enemies are present in his psalms, but they only come in view through their defeat. David knows that enemies of God and God’s children will face everlasting defeat.
10 - The power of the sword speaks prophetic in a sense. We understand the sword of the spirit is the word of God (Ephesians 6:18), and in Revelation 19:15 Jesus defeats with a sharp sword coming from his mouth. It is profound to see the imagery. In Genesis the Lord creates with a word and in Revelation God defeats with a word.
The jackals give the image of scavengers. This is profound imagery displaying the wickedness and worthlessness of those who despise the Lord
11 - David refers to himself as king. This is profound for two reasons.
David, as king, rejoices in God. He is humbling himself even though he holds the highest earthly position possible. Even at king he admits the true lowliness of his position compared to God. This shows that no matter what we think our status to be, we are all on the same level when we come before God.
David referring to himself as king shows his level of trust in God’s plan. Absalom has all but removed David’s royalty by forcing him to run for his life. This is demeaning and demoralizing. However, David trust in God’s plan and he praises God despite the pressures of his position. When troubles befall us, we must continue to praise God knowing that He will deliver us by His will to carry out HIs plan.

Conclusion

There is a story about Socrates the famous philosopher. One day a young boy came to see him and asked Socrates to teach him the secret to success. Socrates asked the boy to follow him to the ocean seas. Once they arrive Socrates asked the boy to walk into the waters with him. Pretty soon they were chest deep in the water. At that moment Socrates buried the boy under the water holding him firmly not allowing the boy to come up for air. After the boy struggled for a while, and at the point where Socrates decided the boy could go one no longer he lifted his head from under the water. The boy in all his rage and confusion asked Socrates why he would do such a thing! “When you were under the water did you think about your mom or dad, food, clothing, money, or anything like it?” The boy answered, “How could I?! I was drowning and grasping for air. All I could think about was life and air!” Socrates looked back at the boy and said, “When you desire success as much as you desired air you will be successful!”
While success is not what we are after, our desire for God must be this strong! We live, breath, think nothing else but our EARNEST THIRST for the Father!
The longing of these verses is not the groping of a stranger, feeling his way toward God, but the eagerness of a friend, almost of a lover, to be in touch with the one he holds dear. Jesus expressed the same truth in Matthew 22:37-39. We can only love God as we should when we yearn for Him with our entire nature. Don Williams in The Preacher’s Commentary says, “Many Christians… go through life with a low sense of spiritual vitality. Our days are largely consumed with secular pursuits. Prayer and Bible reading are one-a-day ‘fast food’ items. ‘Real life’ is not life in the Spirit, but life in the flesh. It is reaching here and there, doing this and that, and fitting in Christian activity largely to meet our social needs. We may close the night in prayer as a ‘spiritual glaze’ over our real interests, but there is no manifest heart-hunger for God”
We must change this! We must be constant in our pursuit for God!
It is times in the wilderness where we can see these truths. It is good to enter the “wilderness” period of our lives. Hardship, confusion, feeling overwhelmed, and incompetent can be the start to a wonderful relationship with God. Williams says, “The wilderness strips us of our defenses and reveals our vulnerability; it quiets us before God. Now we are ready to hear Him.”
So, how will you respond to this message? Will you fully rely on God and trust wholly in His provision and protection. Will you earnestly thirst for the Lord and seek diligently after Him.
The other day Annalena and I received some journal booklets as an aid to daily development and growth. They will be extremely useful as we desire to grow closer together to each other and to God. When they arrived I was excited, but my first thought was to start these journals in a few weeks after the virus is over, school is done, VBS is past us, and things “slow down.” I realized soon after that things will rarely “slow down.” I realized that there is no greater time to begin a journey with God than the now. Our days will never be slower, less busy, or any calmer. We will never be under less pressure or face less troubles. Every day of our lives we are either in a storm, leaving a storm, or getting ready to enter a storm. So, the time for God is now and every day! We must learn not to fit God into our days, but fit our days into God!
So, today will you commit to following the Lord? Will you seek after Him? Will you allow Him to permeate every inch of your life? Will you trust in his righteousness, justice, and leave vengeance to Him?
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