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.
Psalm 63:1 NKJV
King David wrote these eternal words to open Psalm 63 that have provoked believers for generations. St. Bernard of Clairvaux responded by writing this hymn during his lifetime.
We taste Thee, O Thou living Bread,
And long to feast upon Thee still;
We drink of Thee, the Fountain-head,
And thirst our souls from Thee to fill!
It appears that for thousands of years there has been a deep understanding that a pang of very real hunger and thirst for God leads to the satisfaction that no other effort leads to. The Bible is full of passages that describe tasting, thirsting and hungering after God, in a pursuit that seemingly never ends. How is it then that today that we see such a starving and dehydrated Church, full of empty people?
A.W. Tozer wrote, “How tragic that we in this dark day have had our seeking done for us by our teachers. Everything is made to center upon the initial act of “accepting” Christ (a term, incidentally, which is not found in the Bible) and we are not expected thereafter to crave any further revelation of God to our souls.” The Pursuit of God was published in 1948. If believers like King David and St. Bernard had a deep understanding of this then what changed in the years leading up to Tozer’s decision to write a book to address the problem? I want to propose that our culture has not shifted much since these words were written over 73 years ago. I look out across the Body today and see so many starving and dehydrated Christians that were saved by a prayer but left without a craving to satisfy themselves in the depth of their Savior and Creator. After our salvation experience we have become stagnate and do not engage in a lifestyle where we taste and see that the Lord is good, but simply take our pastor’s word for it. Our relationship with God becomes one of vicarious experience in the sermons of our favorite preacher or Bible teacher. This may be hard to read and you may feel the need to rebuke me for such a scolding view of the American church today. Trust me it was harder for me to write than for you to read, but if this was not the case, would we see the emptiness, loneliness, depression, anxiety, addictions, failed marriages, family problems, and sexual depravity in the church that we are currently plagued with?
I am not asserting to fully grasp each situation in its complexities and pray for your grace in my overall generalizations. I make this statement clear though. I believe that if we each became hungry and thirsty for a soul-filling craving of God, we would be satisfied and fulfilled, even in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.
Are you empty, lonely, anxious, depressed, overwhelmed, addicted, afflicted, or scared? Get hungry and thirsty and satisfy yourself in your loving God. He will fill your soul.
Praying for an insatiable Body,
Pastor Joshua Ogle