Longing for God

Psalm 42:1-2.

As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?

A heartfelt longing for God emanating from the depth of the soul! A longing for the Loved One! A thirsting to be in the presence of the living God. Is this your longing? Does your soul pant after God?

Why is the writer expressing such a longing? Think for a while. We long for water when we are thirsty; we long for food when we are hungry. We long for rest & sleep when we are tired and comfort when we are hurting. We also long to be with the ones we love. The writer knows and understands the One he is longing for. He knows that the One he is thirsting for so deeply as to long to be in His presence is the One Who loves him deeply.

Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD (Jeremiah 9:23,24).

The Sovereign Lord, the Creator of the universe, desires that we understand and know Him; that we know and understand that He, the Lord, acts out of lovingkindness, judgement (fairness) and righteousness (or faithfulness, fairness, and justice). He desires people to do these things (or be like He is).

What greater 'quest' in life could one have than the aim of finding God, of knowing Who He is and of meeting Him face to face and to hear the word of God from God Himself!

Here are some individuals who had a burning desire to know God and to stand accepted and approved before Him:

Paul-2 Corinthians 5:9 "Therefore we make it our aim ... to be well pleasing to Him."

Moses-Exodus 33:18; David-Psalm 42:2; Abraham-Hebrews 11:10 "he looked for the city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God."

Is your hope set on seeing God as God is? Of standing before the Creator and having the Creator express His approval concerning you? (1 John 3:1-3)

All our lives we rush after “self” satisfaction. We long for and chase after things that do not and cannot satisfy – material things (mammon). In our mad, headlong rush for material satisfaction, we leave behind “our aim…to be well-pleasing unto Him” (2 Cor.5:9). While Satan gleefully gloats over our failures, we grieve the Holy Spirit of God by such actions (Ephesians 4:30). Do we realize that we are hurting God by our deliberate indifference toward Him? The Bible says, “study to show thyself approved unto God” (2 Timothy 2:15) and we deliberately miss Bible study with the church and remain ignorant about “rightly handling/dividing the word of truth”!

I. What's Your Goal in Life?

What are your goals and ambitions in life? What keeps you going, what do you live for, what drives you on? What is it that you desire to accomplish, see, experience or feel more than anything else in life? What are you hotly pursuing? Of all the various goals and ambitions that people have like get rich, get married, climb Mt. Everest, go abroad, buy your dream house, buy a car, etc. Of all the ambitions that fill the human mind, WHAT WOULD BE THE ULTIMATE QUEST? THE ULTIMATE SEARCH? THE ULTIMATE AMBITION?

II. The Ultimate goal is to find and know God:

JEREMIAH 9:23-24 "..BUT LET HIM THAT GLORIETH GLORY IN THIS, THAT HE HATH UNDERSTANDING, AND KNOWETH ME...

ACTS 17:27 THAT THEY SHOULD SEEK GOD..THOUGH HE IS NOT FAR FROM EACH ONE OF US." Seek'-to seek in order to find, to 'search for God'

III. How Do I Find God?

For many the question is, 'How do I allow myself to believe in God'? 'I can't see God or feel Him or taste Him. I have never heard His actual voice from Heaven. I want to believe in God, but where do I start looking for Him?' I think many people desperately want to find God, but they are at their wits end as to where to start this grand search. We can find God by faith]

WHAT IS FAITH IN GOD?

Too many people view faith in God as an assumption. Others would say that you have to close your mind to believe in God. Having faith in God and exercising your intellect are not compatible. Some view belief in God as beyond your control. You either have it or you don't.

HEBREWS 11:1 "NOW FAITH IS ASSURANCE OF THINGS HOPED FOR, A CONVICTION OF THINGS NOT SEEN."

How can you be 'convinced' about something you can't see? How can you be assured of something that you don't have? Obviously, something has 'convicted' and convinced you, something has given you assurance, that even though you don't have it in your hands and you can't see it, it's there! That something is EVIDENCE.

Modern Application: Most people don't stop to realize how much 'faith' we exercise each and every day. Our knowledge of daily events is, for the most part, "faith" in the statements of journalists. Knowledge of history is, in the final analysis, nothing more than "faith" in the testimony of those claiming to have witnessed events in the past. Court decisions are based upon "faith" in the testimony of witnesses. We readily take medicine, which could even be dangerous, because we have "faith" in our doctor and in the information on the label of the medicine bottle. We are quick to "believe" friends, relatives, teachers and even strangers when they relate some incident to us. In fact it is impossible to live without "faith" in this world. FAITH IS SIMPLY BEING PERSUADED BY THE EVIDENCE. ENOUGH EVIDENCE HAS BEEN PRESENTED - that we are 'convinced, assured' that our doctor is really a doctor, our parents are really our parents, this person did commit this crime, or they are innocent, Mahatma Gandhi really did live, even though I never saw him, heard him, or even encountered personally another human being that did. The Bible says there are REASONS FOR THE HOPE A CHRISTIAN HAS (1 Peter 3:15); i.e., EVIDENCE THAT GOD IS.

IV. The Evidence Above Us:

'THE HEAVENS DECLARE THE GLORY OF GOD (PSALM 19:1)

..SHOWETH HIS HANDIWORK' (ROMANS 1:20).

Both these writers assert that the created universe bears the obvious marks that God made it. It is so clear that God Himself considers it inexcusable for man to be blind to the plain evidence of His existence and His mighty power.

The Existence of the Universe presents us with the following options:

a. The universe is or isn't eternal. The Bible says it isn't (Hebrews 1:10-12); and science agrees (Second Law of Thermodynamics).

b. Therefore the universe was created. It either created itself (something came from nothing); or God created it. All the evidence in our world tells us that every effect has a cause, every product has a maker, every living thing came from parent stock, and that zero remains zero unless something is added to it. (Hebrews 3:4)

c. How do we explain the 'design' and 'exacting conditions' for life upon this planet? Did it happen by accident? Or did it happen because of planning and purpose? (Isaiah 45:18)

A recent computer study simulated conditions that would exist on Earth if minor variations were to occur in our surroundings. Place the earth 5% closer to the Sun and the average surface temperature would be 482 degrees C. Move it 1% in the opposite direction and the earth would be a barren desert like Mars.

d. Design On A Huge Scale:

Our solar system, our galaxy, which is one of billions in the Universe, functioning in perfect harmony without colliding and crashing - TRY ORGANIZING THAT!

PSALM 139:14 '..I AM FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE'

A. THE HUMAN BODY:

The stomach is able to digest materials, which are compositionally much tougher than it is. We would have to boil our food in strong acids at 100°C to do with cookery what the stomach and intestines do at 37°C. One of the incredible things about the stomach is the fact that though is consists of flesh, it does not digest itself. One of the chemicals it contains is hydrochloric acid, an acid strong enough to dissolve a razor blade.

The liver weighs about 1.362 kg and performs over 500 different functions. It filters enough blood in a single year to fill 23 milk trucks. The memory storage capacity of the human brain is equivalent to the information content of 20 million books. A computer that would match the memory capacity of the human brain would consume electrical energy at the rate of one billion watts, take up a huge amount of space and would cost about Rs.98,000 Crore to build!

B. THE REAL YOU – THE SOUL: GENESIS 1:26-27

Physically we resemble the animals, we also have a body of flesh, we bleed, we have offspring, and so on, but there are parts of our being that have no counterpart in the rest of Creation.

(1) Where did we get our concept of 'right and wrong'? Where did we get our concern about fairness, obligation, and justice, what you 'should do' and what 'ought not to be done'? All humans do not have the same moral standards, we don't all draw the line in the same place, BUT WE DO ALL DRAW THE LINE SOMEWHERE!

(2) Where did we get our appreciation for beauty?

(3) Where did we get our ability to reason?

(4) Where did we get our 'religious nature'? The question is NOT, 'will man serve/worship something(one)?' The question is, 'WHAT/WHO WILL A MAN SERVE/WORSHIP?' (Matthew 6:24; Romans 6:16).

C. CONCLUSION

On the basis of our study of tangible evidences, the questions that arise are:

1) What is our goal in life?

2) Are we seeking God to serve & worship Him?

3) Are we hungering & thirsting for Him?

4) Do we revere Him because of Who He is?

5) Do we lovingly anticipate appearing before Him?

6) Do we return His love by obeying His commandments?

Jesus said, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” and “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:6, 8).

When we sincerely, from a pure heart, hunger and thirst (long) for God, we shall find Him. It will be like finding the “pearl of great price” or the “treasure” that would cause us to long for nothing else. The more we gaze at this Treasure the deeper our longing would grow because this Treasure is like no other.

The apostle Paul said it this way: “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing” (Philippians 3:7-15).

Can we disregard someone who says:

“Even when you are old, I will take care of you, even when you have gray hair, I will carry you. I made you and I will support you; I will carry you and rescue you” (Isaiah 46:4)?
“’Even if the mountains are removed and the hills displaced, my devotion will not be removed from you, nor will my covenant of friendship be displaced,’ says the one who has compassion on you, the LORD” (Isa.54:10).
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry." (Matthew 11:28-30).
"I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me--just as the Father knows me and I know the Father--and I lay down my life for the sheep” (read the passage in John 10:14-18).

SHOULD WE NOT LONG FOR SUCH A ONE WHO LOVES AND LONGS FOR US SO INTENSELY?