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Thirsting for God—Profound, Practical, and Praise-Filled

 I’ve been writing about the importance of thirsting for God. Using David’s words in Psalm 63 we can feel his intensity and his great desire for God. He thirsts and craves for God’s presence in his life.

In earlier posts I pointed out that our thirsting for God is personal, a priority and passionate. In this post we’ll continue to see David’s longing and focus on how profound, practical and praise-filled it is.

David writes in Psalm 63:1-4:

O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.

Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.

Thirsting for God is Profound. I can’t help but be amazed by verse one. When David should naturally be searching for water in this desert place, he thirsted more for God. God was his oasis and David wanted him more than anything. That’s a weighty thought.  David is saying that thirsting for God is understanding our greatest need over our most obvious need. David’s greatest need was God; his most obvious need was water.

Remember the paralytic in Mark 2:1–5? His greatest need was forgiveness of sin; his most obvious need was the healing of his body.

When we thirst for God and make that greatest need our first priority, many of our obvious needs would be met.  David understood that principle. Jesus understood it as well (Matthew 6:33).

Thirsting for God is Practical. David looks for God, not in a searching way, but in a knowing, active way. He knew God would meet his need. He knew God would be there.  David remembers all the times God had come to his aid in the past. He remembers that when he was hanging on to life in so many circumstances that, in every case, God was hanging on to him.  He knew “the Lord is near to all who call on Him. (Psalm 145:18).

Thirsting for God is not merely philosophical, ethereal, or intellectual. Thirsting for God is active. We can’t just mentally agree that it’s right; we need to experience it and do it!

Thirsting for God is Praise-Worthy. Verse three tells us that the thirsty life is a praise-filled life. From the wilderness of Judah David lifts his whole body into praise of the Lord.  Dr. Philip Carlson wrote, “In worshipping God, the psalmist employs his physicality (eyes, lips, hands, posture, voice), his emotions (love, praise, desire), and his spirit (in praising and glorifying God and experiencing the satisfaction of his soul).”[1]

What is David praising? God’s lovingkindness—His gentle steadfast mercy. God’s mercy is not obnoxious, It’s gentle. It’s steadfast. It doesn’t go away; it stays there for us.

He also tells us that God’s lovingkindness is better than life. David is King with all the worldly benefits that accompany that position—power, wealth, palace, reputation, and respect, and more. None of that life, however, compares to the Presence of God in the life of someone, like David, who thirsts for God!

Verse four says, “I will bless you and lift up my hands.” David is blessing God. He is kneeling in adoration, and lifting up his hands, to acknowledge, honor and memorialize God for His goodness toward him.

David is in a bind in the middle of a desert, but he never stops thirsting for God. He knows that as he thirsts for God, that God will give him exactly what he needs, because He’s done exactly that many times before. So, instead of worrying, he pauses to praise.

[1] Philip Carlson, MD, Love Written in Stone: Finding God’s Grace in the Boundaries He Sets,  (Bloomington, MN, Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 2011), 107

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