My Soul Thirsts For You In a Dry And Parched Land
1 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.
2 I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
3 Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
4 I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
5 I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
David wrote this Psalm in response to his time in the desert of Judah. David, a man after God’s own heart, earnestly sought God out day and night. He spent his time desiring to be with God. And his time in the desert of Judah was no exception. We can learn from David’s example here and elsewhere the depths to which he longed to be in the presence and have fellowship with God.
David’s soul was thirsting for God. David has documented elsewhere in the Psalms that one day in the courts of God is better than a thousand elsewhere. He also compared his thirst for God to that of the parched deer:
1 As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
David’s soul longed to be in the presence of God. At that time, the presence of God was physically in the tabernacle tent. But now, thanks to the finished work of Christ, we are the tabernacle, the Holy of Holies, the naos of God. We have been given full access to the throne room of God. No longer must we thirst for the presence of God and access to Him; we have the Living God as a down-deposit within us, and complete and unfettered access to Him whose David’s soul so greatly longed for.
And while David mentions the physical desert that he was required to traverse in the exile imposed by Saul, we can have our own “desert experiences” when God seems far away, and our trials and circumstances threaten to overcome us and overwhelm us. When faced with crushing pressures and difficulties, the child of God merely needs to go to their inner closet – their place alone in their mind away from the influences of the word, the flesh and the devil – and seek God, who is right there beside us.
Deserts tend to make us weary and thirsty, depriving us of much-needed water. Deserts can seem like the source of living water has been cut off. But the word of the living God is able to bring forth the living water in our souls and remind us to seek Him who is the source rather than focusing on the ones responsible for trying to seize it from us.
Longing for Love
David remembers that God’s love is better than life. The feeling of being loved in the midst of our circumstances helps us to regroup and focus on the giver of peace rather than the destroyer of contentment. When we focus on and long for the love of God, the pain and pressures of the moment can be drowned out in the peace that surpasses understanding. For there is no fear in perfect love. David remembered this and greatly sought and cherished the love of God.
It is interesting to note that David said he would praise God as long as he lived. David praised God whether he felt like it or not. It was a discipline in his life. Regardless of the circumstances that David found himself in, David’s heart was set on praising and glorifying God. David had good company in this endeavor, as Job, bereft of his children, his belongings, and his health, praised and worshiped God. He understood his place in all things, and God’s place in all things, and acted accordingly.
David discipline in his spiritual life didn’t stop at just praise. He worshiped God regardless of his circumstances, recognizing and glorifying God for who He is. This discipline is also shown in David’s life when he fasted and prayed for a week for his firstborn child with Bathsheba, whose life God took as a result of his sin. The Bible records what David did after learning of his child’s death:
19 David noticed that his attendants were whispering among themselves, and he realized the child was dead. “Is the child dead?” he asked.
“Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.”
20 Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate.
David reflects in this Psalm that being in the presence of God is as refreshing to his spirit as food and drink is to his flesh. He comments that with singing lips he will praise God. David’s life was an intentional, continual effort to praise, worship, and glorify God. And David, like all men, had his moments of weakness where he experienced epic fails in his life and lapses of judgement in his character. But in all things, David’s heart was continually turning towards God. May we be able to say the same about ours.
A Qualifying Question
Let’s ask a question: What is my first response to difficulty in my life?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, You have shown us Yourself through Your Son, Jesus Christ, for whoever has seen the Son has seen the Father. Help us to remember those who have gone before us, that we may remember Your goodness and grace, Your mercy and your holiness, everything being displayed in perfect unity and balance. Help me Father to have a heart that praises You, worships You, and seeks You especially when the most difficult of circumstances arise. Show me the way everlasting, and help me to walk alongside You as the world increasingly threatens to destroy me because of You. Strengthen my spirit as it is crushed by hatred and evil, and may the experiences that occur refine me that I may show love and kindness to even the cruelest of people. This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.