By Daniel H. King Sr.
There are people all around us these days, searching for something in their lives. Many of them will readily and ambivalently admit that they feel empty inside. Something, they know not what, is missing. They are lonely and desperate, agitated and unhappy.
They have financial success, many of them, and with it all the “things” that money can buy. But it does not give them lasting pleasure. They are not satisfied. A deep emptiness haunts their very existence. They enjoy most of the earthly delights for which multiplied thousands seek, yet find no enduring gratification in any of these carnal diversions.
A man cannot live his life apart from a relationship with his Maker and be truly happy. God made us that way on purpose. As Augustine wrote in his Confessions (VII 5), “Thou madest us for Thyself, and our heart is restless, until it repose in Thee.” Or, as David said before him, “0 God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is” (Psa. 63:1).
Whereas much that this world offers to mankind leaves us feeling vacant and hollow, there is lasting spiritual satisfaction in our relation-ship with our heavenly Father. As
David went on to say in his psalm: “Because thy loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me” (63:3-8).
Remember, please, the following important points which relate to these devotions from David’s heart under the influence of the Holy Spirit:
1. A Man Needs God In His Life. As the psalm puts it, one’s relation-ship with God is as indispensable as water “in a dry and thirsty land.” Water is a requirement, essential to existence, not a luxury. Likewise, worshipping, praising, and loving God is not one of life’s distractions. It is not a sideline to what we do, nor is it a peripheral issue to who we are. Rather, it is the essence of who we are and what we do. A man does not just want God in his life, like to have him as his friend and Father, prefer to devote some time and energy to reverencing him, or desire an affiliation and association with him he needs God, he must have him in his heart and his life, or else he will continue always to be thirsty for the water of life which God gives (In. 4:10, 13). This is life eternal, a foretaste of the heavenly glory, as Jesus said: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (Jn. 17:3).
2. Having God In One’s Life Brings Satisfaction. “My soul shall be satisfied…” writes David. Just as food (“marrow and fatness”) leaves the stomach feeling full, so one who knows the Lord’s mercy and walks with him in his life experiences fulfillment. Those who do not know what is missing in their lives and who often wind up in dissipation, drug abuse or even suicide, will not admit that God is really what is lacking, the deficiency that plagues every aspect of their being. They cannot be happy because the one Person who can de-liver lasting contentment “God” is consciously and permanently shut out of their lives.
3. This Satisfaction Inspires Worship Of One’s Maker. Says the Psalmist, “My mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips.” The practice of one’s religion through worship is not viewed by this author, as with some of us, as a chore or an onerous duty, but as the joyful outpouring of a thankful heart. This is the way that each of us ought to view worship. We ought to extend such homage to God, and offer it out of a comparable inner motivation.
4. Private Devotion Is A By-product Of This Spiritual Satisfaction. “When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches,” in v. 6, shows that David was not merely practicing his religion publicly in the Temple. The passage describes private devotion, which according to the Savior is critical to true religion: “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly” (Matt. 6:6). If the only prayer or praise which we give to God is that which we offer in the assemblies with other Christians, then our religion is woefully lacking.
5. Diligence Will Not Permit This Satisfaction To Be Denied Us. The Authorized Version rendering of v. 8 is this: “My soul followeth hard after thee…” Other versions interpret the Hebrew phrase variously as, “My soul clings to Thee,” and “My soul cleaves after thee.” Such unrelenting pursuit of God and his truth has even been a quality of genuine religion (Deut. 10:20; Hos. 6:3). God is described in Scripture as a Father who ever waits longingly for us, watchful for our return to him (Lk. 15:20). But God did not leave home, we did. So we must make our way back to him, not he to us.
Those are his terms, and it is up to us to meet them. If we are diligent to do so, satisfaction and fulfillment are sure to follow in the wake. The emptiness and desperate groping of so many of this generation is proof positive that the world cannot give us lasting contentment. God alone has this within his power. And he metes it out solely to those who would seek his company. As the psalm says, “My soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee. . . My soul shall be satisfied…”
Guardian of Truth XXXIX: 7 p. 1
April 6, 1995