Sunday, March 30, 2014

Are You Thirsty? (Part 1)

SERMON            GMT14-010
SETTING:          North Kelso Baptist Church
SERVICE:          Sunday AM
SERIES:              Topical:  General (Old Testament)
SUBTITLE:        Are You Thirsty (Part 1)
SCRIPTURE:     Psalm 63
SUBJ:                  Confident expectation

SUMMARY:       The love of God compels genuine believers to develop confidence in God through a passionate thirst for God.

SCHEME:           That genuine believers resolve to quench their thirst in God
1A     God is David’s Desire   (Vss. 1-4)

          1B     The Object of David’s Desire           (Vs. 1a-c)

                    1C     It is an itemized thirst
                    2C     It is an intense thirst
                    3C     It is an inclusive thirst

          2B     The Occasion of David’s Desire        (Vs. 1d)

                    1C     Historically
                    2C     Literally
                    3C     Figuratively

          3B     The Origin of David’s Desire            (Vss. 2-3)

                    1C     David’s exceptional relationship to God
                    2C     David’s exalted review of God

          4B     The Outcome of David’s Desire      (Vss. 3b-4)

                    1C     In His Sorrowful Exile – David praised God
                    2C     In His Sensational Expectation – David promised God
                    3C     In his Sweeping Experience – David promoted God

Are you Thirsty?
Psalm 63:1-4
(Part 1)


A.    C. S. Lewis wrote in  "The Chronicles of Narnia

"Are you not thirsty?" said the lion.

 "I’m dying of thirst," said Jill.

"Then drink," said the lion.

 "May I- could I- would you mind going away while I do?" said Jill.

The lion answered this only by a look and very low growl.

As Jill gazed at its motionless bulk, she realized that she might as well have asked the whole mountain to move aside for her convenience. The delicious rippling noise of the stream was driving her nearly frantic.

"Will you promise not to- do anything to me, if I do come?" said Jill.

 "I make no such promise," said the lion.

 Jill was so thirsty now that, without noticing it, she had come a step nearer the lion.

"Do you eat girls?" she said.

"I have swallowed up, consumed girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms," said the lion.

 It didn’t say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it.  [1]

 "I daren’t come and drink," said Jill.

 "Then you will die of thirst," said the Lion.

"Oh dear!" said Jill, coming another step nearer.

 "I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.

"The lion said, "There is no other stream."[2]

B.   Thirst is one of the most powerful spiritual symbols in all of scripture. As dehydration draws the whole of our physical being to a longing for water, so a spiritual void will draw our spirits into a search for deeper meaning for our lives.

C.   This world is full of those who are thirsty. And yes, if we go to the stream we will be devoured, or consumed by God. I would rather be consumed now by a thirst that can be satisfied by God than to come to the end of my life and be eternally consumed by a thirst that will never be satisfied. We must capture that type of spiritual thirst!  We must thirst and long for God and for spiritual living!

THEME:  Genuine believers find satisfaction in God

This is a good reminder for us all that we as believers are to develop absolute confidence in God during times of trouble by longing, or thirsting for His presence in worship.

Proposition:  Therefore I propose to you this morning that the love of God compels genuine believers to develop confidence in God through a passionate thirst for God.

Interrogative SentenceSo, we have to ask ourselves, how does David depict his passionate thirst for God?

Transitional SentenceThis passage supplies us with three elements of David’s thirst for God.

·         God Is David’s Desire   (vss. 1-4)
·         God Is David’s Delight  (vss. 5-8)
·         God Is David’s Defense (vss. 9-11)

[So, let’s dig into the first element of David’s thirst for God. Let’s begin by looking at…]

1A     God is David’s Intense Desire (Vss. 1-4)

[As we look at this intense desire of David we are confronted with at least four (4) considerations.]

[The first thing to consider is…;

1B     The Object of David’s Intense Desire (1a-c)

          [The first thing to note about this object…]

          1C     It is an itemized thirst for God

In other words, David is very specific, he itemized or listed God. Listen to David…

                   “O, God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you…”

David has not lost his hold on God. David seeks God in his most desperate time of need. David is not look for some symbol, his is not looking for some system, and David is not looking for some type of substitute. David is looking for his God.

David is looking for an “old friend.” He is searching for the one whom he holds very dear to him. David has had a relationship with God and he is seeking to continue in that relationship.

The opening word of our Psalm, “O God” is the same Hebrew word that Jesus cried when he was on the cross when He said, “O God, O God why have you forsaken me?”
The verb means “to seek zealously. David is seeking or searching for His God very zealously.

What do you think of when you hear the word zealous? It means “enthusiastic, eager, fervid, fervent, intense, or passionate”

David is not messing around or looking around for God haphazardly or with little effort. No! He is intense and passionate.

[So, we are confronted with the first consideration of the object of David’s Desire. His desire is itemized, in other words, David lists the specific object he is earnestly or passionately searching for.]

[Secondly, we see that…]

                   2C     It is an intense thirst for God (vs. 1b)

                             [Notice two (2) things about this intense thirst…]

                             First – David says….

                             “…my soul thirsts for you…”

The land of Israel is a very dry land. It is a desert. It has large amounts of desert land and they are very hot and dry, especially in the summer.

Anyone who travels in these areas, especially in the wilderness are experience a parching thirst. You know the kind? The kind where your mouth is so dry you can’t even salivate. The kind where you can’t swallow and your throat feels as if it is going to close up.

This is the kind of thirst that drives men mad. It makes men crazy.

David’s desire for God is like this type of intense thirst. The very same way that a thirsty man craves water describes the way David craves or desires God.

[Second, David says…]

                             “…my flesh faints for you…”

This is a picture of intense longing for something or someone.

Picture in your mind – a man is in the desert. It is hot and he is walking in the searing heat. The sun beats down on him without mercy: 

·        His throat is dry and parched
·        His lips are parched and cracking
·        The sand and dirt grind into skin w/the dried sweat
·        He needs water  badly
·        He is about to pass out

This is the type of longing and desiring that David has for the fellowship with his God.

He is sick for God – David is literally love – sick in his soul.

Let me ask you – does this describe your desire for your God? Do you have such an intense thirst for God that can be described as a man in the desert who is parched and dry and ready to faint unless he gets some water?

So, we see that David’s thirst is an itemized thirst and it is an intense thirst. Now we will see that…
                   3C     It is an inclusive thirst for God        (1c)

What I mean by this is that David’s desire included both his body and his soul. Look at what he says…

“…my soul thirsts for you, my flesh faints for you…”

Why do you think he said that? What do you suppose he meant?

Soul and flesh are used to denote the whole person of David. By using these two principle parts of ma David is saying that his whole being went out after God in an intense desire.

The object of David’s thirst was God – very specifically “His God.” The measurement of his desire for his God was very intense. The sincerity of his desire was shown by the fact that it was simply an intellectual desire or even an emotional desire, his was a desire that involved the entire being of David, both his body and souls.

[So, the first thing we have considered is the object of David’s thirst; now let’s look at the second consideration and that is…]
          2B     The Occasion of David’s Desire      (1d)

                   “…as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”

I want to take a minute and look at the occasion of David’s desire under three (3) different headings. I think it helps to give us great perspective and understanding of what David felt and meant.

[So, let’s look at the first heading…]

                   1C     Historically

First of all let’s talk about where David is when he experienced this intense thirst for God.

The heading of the Psalm reads – “A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.”

The first thing we have to ask ourselves as we study this Psalm is when was David in the wilderness of Judah? Secondly, we have to ask ourselves “what was he doing there? Or really why was David in the wilderness of Judah?

We actually have two choices to consider.

The first choice is that David is running from King Saul (1 Sam 23:14-15; 24:1)

If you remember Saul has become increasingly jealous of David and that jealousy had turned into a murderous rage. Saul is pursing David through the wilderness in order to kill him and eliminate him as a threat to his throne.

This places David in the hill country of Ziph. More specifically from verse 15 David is near a place called Horesh.

In 24 of 1 Samuel is near a place called Engedi.

The second choice is that David is fleeing from his son Absalom. (2 Samuel 15:13, 28)

This is a tragic story as well. David had a son named Absalom. Absalom had a sister from the same mother who was a beautiful girl named Tamar.

Another son of David from a wife named Amon “loved” or rather “lusted” for Tamar. You know the story, Amon raped Tamar and then rejected her.

This caused Absalom to become furious with murderous rage. Finally after two years of seething and waiting Absalom devised a plan to kill his step-brother.

This resulted in two or more year separation between David and Absalom. Finally, David wanted to see his son.

Absalom refused to see David. Absalom actually developed a conspiracy to take away the kingdom from David. This conspiracy eventually led to him being thought of as King.

Eventually David was warned that “the hearts of Israel have gone after Absalom.” David didn’t want to fight his own son and kill him or see him killed, chose to flee into the wilderness.

Do we have any clues that can help us decide when and where David is? Not really. Verse 11 tells us “the king shall rejoice in God…”

Some have said that this must be the time David ran from Absalom because David would have been the sitting King. However, it still doesn’t preclude it from being the time that he had to run from Saul, because even then David had been anointed King by Samuel. David could have been considered the King then and still not contradict our verse 11.

What makes it additionally difficult is that the area David ran through when he ran from Absalom is not typically considered the wilderness of Judah.

Ultimately it doesn’t really matter it doesn’t change the subject matter at all. The older scholarship regard it more likely as when David fled from his son Absalom. So I leave it to you to decide. Since it doesn’t affect the message it doesn’t matter much to me.

There is a second thing to consider when we look at this Psalm historically and that is a translation issue in verse 1.

·        The NASB, the NIV, the NLT, and the ESV in verse one reads – “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you…”

·        The RSV reads – “O God thou art my God I seek thee…

·        The KJV and the NKJV reads: - “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee…”

As a result of the KJV this Psalm has been called “a morning Psalm.” People have been encouraged to read this Psalm in the morning, even early before daylight.

Careful study and investigation has shown that the second root of the verb in our text does not apply in this context and the verb means merely “to seek” or “to seek diligently” or earnestly.”

With more material at hand more scholars examining the text and with more manuscripts discovered since the translation of the KJV in 1611, I am going with the reading as “earnestly” rather than early.

So, the territory and occasion is probably when David fled from Absalom and the translation in verse one is probably “earnestly I seek you.”

Let’s move to our second heading and look briefly at this section…

                   2C     Literally

These words that David wrote are also literally true. The wilderness where David was at this time is desert country. (2 Samuel 16:2, 14)

While he wandered about for his life in this desert David would have gotten very thirsty. He would have to have been constantly looking for signs of water and for water in order to physically survive.

Walking in the desert, sitting in the desert David would have gotten very thirsty. It would have been very naturally to describe his “thirst” for God like his real thirst for water.

Let’s move to the third heading. Let’s look at it…

                   3C     Figuratively

The words David uses are also figuratively, aren’t they? The desert was a picture of David’s spiritual condition.

David is in exile. He has been forced from his home, his place, his throne, his sanctuary, and all that is familiar to him.

His own son, a trusted counselor and a number subjects are coming after him in an armed rebellion.

These circumstances caused him to seek the Lord all the more earnestly.

Sorrow, grief, trials, and tribulations are designed by God to lead the Christian home. God designs them to drive the believer to seek God more intimately and earnestly.

Henry Ward Beecher said…

“When my blood flows like wine, when all is ease and prosperity, when the sky is blue, and birds, and flowers blossom, and my life is an anthem moving in time and tune, then this world’s joy and affection suffice.

But when a change comes, when I am weary and disappointed, when the skies lower into a somber night, when there is no song of bird, and the perfume of flowers is but their dying breath, when all is sun-setting and autumn, then I yearn for Him who sits with the summer of love in His soul, ad fell that all earthly affection is but a glow-worm light, compared to that which blazes with such effulgence in the heart of God.”

Well, the object of David’s desire or thirst was God. He thirsted after God; he thirsted intensely with both his body and soul.

 The occasion of David’s desire was both literal and figurative – he was in a literal desert and his soul was outside of the normal place of his previous fellowship with God.

Let’s move to… 

          3B     The Origin of David’s desire (2-3)

When we look at the origin of David’s desire we have to ask ourselves why did David desire or thirst for God? Where did it come from? Where did this desire originate?

Vss. 2-3 gives us the answer. David desired God…

1C     Because of his exceptional relationship to God

          “So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary…”

David has had a relationship with God in the place where God would meet with the congregation of Israel, namely the sanctuary in the Temple.

Our phrase tells us that David looked lovingly on God.

The word looked upon gives us the idea that David looked to God in such a way to see the realm of pure spiritual understanding.

What was it that David saw when he looked upon God during worship in the sanctuary? What did David want to see? [Verse 2 gives us the answer]

“…beholding your power and glory.”

Look at this carefully and think hard on it. Almost all people, whether they are believers or not, and who have looked for “God” or a God of their imagination have not wanted to see the two aspects of God’s character that David longed to see and to behold:

·        God’s power
·        God’s glory

What most people want to see is the pomp and ceremony and he miraculous.

David wanted to see he strength of God. This word is used primarily of God. Think of it as the mighty power of brave and strong warriors.

The Hebrew language doesn’t give it to abstract thinking or examples. So many times, especially in the OT, words are expressed in pictures.

 Strength is an attribute of God. David is longing, desiring, or craving for God to exercise his strength, that power that belongs only God on David’s behalf.

David wants to see the same strength that his mind’s eye had observed and the glorious nature or character of God that David had observed in worship here in the wilderness.

David is looking for the communication and expression of Gods’ grace sent out by God to the soul of a man, and in this case the grace that God had already manifested in the soul of David. David longs for the same experience here in the wilderness that he experienced in the sanctuary.

David knew God. David worshipped God in the sanctuary in the Temple. David desired God because of his relationship with God.

[Secondly, David desired God…]

                    2C     Because of his exalted view of God (vs. 3a)

                              “Because your steadfast love is better than life…”

David desires God in all is fullness simply because David has experienced God and concluded that God’s love is better than life to David.

David is not talking about plain old everyday life, he isn’t referring to a mere existence. David has reviewed, studied, observed, and experienced the nature and character of God and came to the conclusion that God’s faithful and everlasting love is better than prosperity or pleasure.

What is David saying? In essence he is saying that he would consider himself more blessed in the wilderness of Judah, the hot, dry desert on the run for his life that if he had a life time of pleasure and prosperity in his palace in Jerusalem without God’s love.

Wow! Can you say that? Can you mean it?

Being alive is usually considered a great treasure. Even the treasure of life is surpassed when we come to realize and when we experience just how great God’s love is toward us who are his children.

So far, we have looked at the object of David’s desire or thirst and that was God. We looked at the occasion of David’s desire historically, literally and figuratively – he was in a literal desert and his soul was away from the normal place of fellowship with God. We looked at the origin of David’s desire – his relationship and experience with God in worship and fellowship where he has previously seen God’s power and glory.

[We come to the fourth and final consideration as we look at David’s intense desire and that is…]

          4B     The Outcome of David’s Desire      (VSS. 3-4)

David’s intense desire produced a reaction. We see David’s reaction…

1C     In His Sorrowful Exile – David praised God (vs. 3c)

          “…my lips will praise you.”

The lips represent the mouth. The mouth produces speech. David says that his speech will praise, or speak well, of God even in his sorrowful exile in the hot dry desert wilderness.

The acknowledgment that God is a greater treasure than all of life demands a reaction. David must praise God!

David will use his lips, his mouth, his speech in adoration and praise towards the power, glory, and majesty of God.

[There is a second reaction produced by David’s intense desire and we see that reaction…]

2C     In his sensational expectation – he anticipates continual praise of God for the rest of his life

          “…so I will bless you as long as I live…”

          This experience of desiring God in the wilderness has made a lasting impression on David. So, for the rest of his life he will bless or praise God.

[There is a third and final reaction produced by David’s intense desire, we see that reaction…]

3C     In his sweeping experience – he directs his praise and power upward toward God

          “…in your name, I will lift up my hands.”

          The raising of hands – as far as I have studied it since 1978 is related to prayer and petition. I have yet seen it related to singing. It might be, but I haven’t seen it yet.

          Richard Mant wrote:

          The practice of lifting up the hands in prayer towards heaven, the supposed residence of the object to which prayer is addressed, was anciently used by believers, as appears from various passages in the Old Testament.

          “Park Hurst considered the ‘hand’ to be the chief organ or instrument of man’s power and operations and properly supposing the word to be thence used very extensively by the Hebrews for power, agency, dominion, assistance, and the like, regards the lifting up of men’s hand in prayer, as an emblematical acknowledging of the power, and imploring the assistance of their respective Gods.

So, David is saying that in the name and authority and in the presence of God, he will acknowledge his need of emptiness, humility and ask God for assistance in gratitude as he gives God glory by blessing or praising God.

Well, we have looked closely at God as the Intense Desire of David. We have considered four aspects of David’s intense desire, the object, the occasion, the origin, and the outcome of this intense desire.

[What do you say we wrap this up?] 

I heard a story one time of a foreigner here in America who saw a water fountain for the first time in his life. But he could not see how to make it work.  It had no tap, no buttons to press.  He became very angry and frustrated.

He was about to turn away when somebody pointed out to him a little sign on the bottom of the fountain that simply said, "Stoop, and drink."  Well when he stooped over he discovered that an electric eye detected his presence and the water automatically came flowing out.

My goal or my aim this morning has been to share with you the deep and intimate communion that David had with God. Quite frankly David’s communion and experience with God might have become deeper than ever before because of his trying circumstances. – Somehow David has found the worship and knowledge of the character of God in his wilderness experience to be more joyful and precious than even the pleasures and possessions of life. He will never forget this nor let this experience die.

How are you endeavoring to quench the deep thirst of your soul? Or do I dare ask, is your soul even thirsty?

 Exhortation:  Reject the deceptive promises of the satisfaction offered by this world. There is no stream or water supply that can satisfy like Jesus.

The Apostle John wrote in John 7:37;

"On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink."

[1] C. S. Lewis, The Silver Chair, (New York: Harper Trophy, 2000), pp.22-23.

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