A Psalm of David when he was in the wilderness of Judah.
1 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.
2 So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.
3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
4 Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.
6 When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches.
7 Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
8 My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me.
9 But those who seek my life, to destroy it,
Shall go into the lower parts of the earth.
10 They shall fall by the sword;
They shall be a portion for jackals.
11 But the king shall rejoice in God;
Everyone who swears by Him shall glory;
But the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped.
Today, after the sermon, we come to a table. A table with the fruit of vine, and food made from wheat from the ground. Simple common elements. Something to drink. Something to eat. To remember our Lord we have food and drink. Nothing fancy. Just a cup and a plate.
Many times as we have come to this table, we have come and remembered Christ's sacrifice for us. We remember that the bread represents his body, broken for us. We drink the cup and remember his blood that has been shed for us. We do well to do this. For there is no more pivotal event in history, no more important action of God in the world, no more loving act ever offered, than what Jesus did on the cross. Dying so that we might live. Loving us first so that we might learn to love. God is good. Nowhere do we see that more than when we remember Christ at the Lord's Table.
This morning, before we come to the table, I want us to examine our hearts. I want us to take inventory of what is going on in us, and where our heart is in relationship to Jesus. Scripture commands us to do this generally, and it encourages us in I Corinthians 11 to examine our hearts as we come to the Lord's Table (v.28).
How I want us to examine our hearts this morning is by looking at what the elements we have in front of us are as we partake in the Lord's Supper. What we have in front of us is food, and drink. Food and drink. When Jesus started to lay out how he wanted to bless his followers in the Sermon on the Mount he said "blessed are you who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for you shall be filled"(Matthew 5:6). When we look at the bread, we remember Jesus said "I am the bread of life" (John 6). When we look at the cup we remember Jesus said "I am the vine, and you are the branches" (John 15). Ever think about how we remember God with food and with drink? Interesting isn't it?
Then we come to the passage we just read earlier. This Psalm was written by King David. It was written as he was wandering around in the desert. Running for his life from King Saul. David had been anointed the future king, but Saul was still on the throne. He was moody, jealous of David, and out for blood. So David and his friends ran. And they hid in the caves and crags in the wilderness of Judah. I imagine he had gotten hungry and thirsty.
Have you ever been walking or riding out in the wilderness? Maybe you were out on a hunting trip, or maybe you were on a hike, or you were just working or playing a football game, and all of the sudden you became thirsty. And, if you were out hiking, all of the sudden you came to a place where you found some cool, safe water to drink. Or if you were playing volleyball or football, someone ran out a bunch of water during a timeout. You were hot. You were thirsty. You were drenched with sweat. All you could think of was having a bit of that nice, cool water on your tongue.
I think David must have felt like this when he was running from Saul. He was rushing through those dangerous, dry places. He was hot. He was climbing and running. And then he would get something to drink. And it was like he wanted that cool water more than anything in the world. At some point, after one of these experiences, he was left to think about how life was more than food and drink.
I think it must have been one of these times of reflection when God inspired David to write this Psalm, this prayer to Him.
You see our hunger for God should be as daily, and as central for our existence, as our hunger for food. Our thirst for God's presence and blessing, should be as daily, and as central to our existence and health as liquid we drink.
The Psalmist says of his thirst for God
"I seek you"
"I long for you"
"my flesh longs for you in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water"
He goes on to say
"my soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness"
Do you hungry for God? Are you thirsty for more of God's presence and more of his blessings? Do you have a sense of spiritual longing? Are you looking to God to satisfy your deepest needs? Is knowing Jesus more and doing his will growing as a desire of your heart, or is that something on the backburner? Examine yourself and see!
Central to your spiritual well-being, your ability to grow in Christ, and your ability to have peace in Christ is having a sense of spiritual longing in your life. Longing to know God more. Longing to see more of God's power at work in your life. Longing to see more of Jesus present in your moment by moment living.
As you come to the table….I want you to think about this hope and this truth. Do I have the kind of longing for Christ and his kingdom in my life that drives it and defines my goals and my actions? Do I have the kind of longing for God and his presence that pursuing that love and that grace that it orients and defines whatever direction my life is going in? I hope that you do.
There are so many things that get in the way.
We can become hungry for financial security. And so, when it becomes time to give we become afraid to give. And so we work and work to try and develop some sort of financial security that will make us feel happy and safe and satisfied at some point. And we learn that we can never have enough money in savings, never enough food in the pantry, and never enough security in our hearts.
We can become hungry after pleasure. And we chase after whatever feels good. We get drunk, only to have a headache and a bunch of regrets in the morning. We sleep around, only to find out that that kind of pleasure doesn't satisfy in the way that we were promised. We buy new televisions and toys, clothes and vacations, hot tubs and houses thinking that each of these things will help us to feel satisfied. And we still feel hungry for more.
We can become thirsty for the approval for others. So we do what people ask of us. We do things we don't want to do, just to make the crowd or that special someone happy. We work to do things that will get us admired and respected by others. And we find that no matter how many people like us, we have other that do not appreciate anything we do. And no matter how many things we do to gain others approval, those people's approval is as fleeting as what we have done for them lately.
You can chase after all sorts of pleasures. You can desire all sorts of things that this world has to offer. You can thirst after all sorts of temptations, hopes and dreams. And they will be alright for a season, but then you will wake up and discover that your achievements are just achievements, your things are just things, your pleasures were only for the moment, and your life will seem empty, hapless, and hopeless.
Or you can come to the Lord's Table this morning. You can remember that Christ came to earth and died for us to not just help us escape from hell, but to satisfy our deepest thirsts and our most powerful hungers in ways that we have yet to imagine. I hope, I pray for you as you come to this table this morning that you will begin to commit to making Christ your passion. That knowing him and serving him will become your greatest desire. I pray you will make his presence and power in your life the deepest longing of your life. I hope that you will remember that he can fill you up full of hope, truth, and meaning. I pray that your thirsts, so often misguided, will finally be directed toward him who offers living Water and your hunger toward the Bread of life. And you will find that he satisfies.