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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Drinking deep

It is one thing to "know" God exists - it is another to "know" God because you have a deep and intimate relationship with him.  Lots and lots of lost people "know" God exists - they believe there is a God, but they don't have the benefit of relating to him in a personal manner each and every day.  It isn't because God isn't available to them, but that they haven't said "yes" to Jesus' gentle tugs on their hearts to allow him to get close to them.  For many, God is merely some ethereal being who they somehow have come to "fear" - he is off in the great "unknown" and they just know he is there and they don't want to "cross him".  For others, their "closeness" to God is experienced once a week, one hour of time carved out of a day when they "enter" into "God's house".  They go to church - a building - not a community of growing and closely inter-related believers challenging each other to grow in intimate relationship with Jesus.  I know for a fact the desire of God's heart toward each of us is this closeness - to not just "come", but to "drink in" his presence; to not just "receive communion", but to live in deep and lasting "communion" with God on a moment-by-moment basis.

God—you’re my God!  I can’t get enough of you!  I’ve worked up such hunger and thirst for God, traveling across dry and weary deserts. So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open, drinking in your strength and glory.  In your generous love I am really living at last!  My lips brim praises like fountains.  I bless you every time I take a breath; my arms wave like banners of praise to you. (Psalm 63:1-4 MSG)

David's heart is commended as one which dwelt close to the heart of God.  As such, we find David this morning, sharing his heart with us.  In these opening words of a prayer of praise to God his heavenly Father, we find a little insight into David's heart.  Let's unwrap these opening words a little:

- God, you're my God!  David didn't say God was the God of his fathers.  He could have, for he came from the line of Israelites, called and chosen by God to be his people and share in unique relationship with him.  He could have commented on how God had given his fore-fathers the Law of Moses and how much this meant to him as his "heritage".  David doesn't rely upon the relationships of his fore-fathers or his lineage - he claims God as his own. There is no greater place of worship and adoration than to claim God as our own - to enter into personal relationship with him.  To rely upon the relationship another has with him, receiving second-hand teaching and second-hand revelation is merely religious pursuit.  To gain these at the feet of Jesus yourself is communion!

- I can't get enough of you!  I have been "in love" only one time and I truthfully can say, you just have this intensity of feeling where you cannot get enough of each other (especially in that "new love" season).  If you don't work to keep that "love" active and alive, you soon grow a little "cold" toward each other and then you begin to experience a little "drift" in your relationship.  The same is true in our relationship with Jesus - it is a "love relationship" after all, so the principle of "maintaining" the closeness is pertinent to this relationship, as well.  To not develop "drift", one needs to experience newness in the relationship on a regular basis.  The good thing about our relationship with Jesus is that if we "put ourselves out there", he is always going to keep things "new and fresh" for us!

- I have worked up such hunger and thirst for God!  Hunger and thirst speak of an intensity of need - hunger drives us to find nourishment, thirst drives us to seek out refreshment.  Where does David indicate his hunger and thirst develops - in the dry and barren places of his life.  It is in these "dry places" we develop thirst - in the "barren" we develop hunger.  Some of us try to avoid those places like we'd avoid the plague, but look at it this way - these are "prepared places" designed to deepen our hunger and thirst for God.  If we work so hard at avoiding them, how much of God might we be missing out on just because we don't want the discomfort of "need"?

- So here I am...  These words speak volumes.  The little word "so" is kind of like the "cement" which holds these statements together.  David has developed a deep hunger and thirst for his God - he cannot get enough of him and he knows God's desire is to have David close enough to his heart that he feels the breath of God with every move he makes.  Now, as if to say why he is telling us this, he adds this word "so".  It is because he cannot get enough of God that he comes.  It is because he has this intensity of thirst and depth of hunger that he comes.  It is because he wants freshness and renewal that he comes.  In coming, he knows he will be filled, touched, transformed.

- In your generous love I am really living at last!  God's response to David's "coming" is to allow David to drink deeply of his presence - to be filled to overflowing with the grace and love of God.  In this "deep drink" of God's presence, David comes to the conclusion all living apart from this depth of experience with God is not really living at all!  Just sayin!