Category Archives: Victorious Living

The Road to New Things

How long wilt thou go about, O thou backsliding daughter? for the

LORD hath created a new thing in the earth,

A woman shall compass a man. Jer. 31:22 (KJV)

A road is literally defined as a wide way leading from one place to another. We also think of roads as access to new opportunities of commerce or development.

A road can also describe a series of events or a course of action that will lead to a particular outcome. In the book, The Road Less Traveled, M. Scott Peck uses “road” figuratively to describe the sometimes hard and often painful process of change. Peck uses the “road less traveled” as a illustration of the journey this requires.

In Jeremiah 31, the prophet speaks to the people of God in Babylon to prepare them for a “road”—both literally and figuratively—that would return them to their own land after their 70-year exile.

Jeremiah’s message is clear. They are not to be afraid or lose heart. They are to be focused with a firm resolution to rebuild the nation of Israel. In today’s text specifically, Israel is called to reframe from falling back into their old rebellious habits as God creates a new road to their salvation—a “new thing” that had never been done before (or since).

Israel is warned against potential backsliding which is interpreted as “faithless”. In the past both Israel and Judah had consistently failed to “holdfast” to God and depend solely on Him for their every need. (Job 27:6) The results was always disastrous as proven by the conquest of both nations.

Where are you placing your faith? Is it in people—elected officials, family members, or friends? Is it in things—bank accounts, social status, or professional affiliations? Is it in self—your intellect, looks, or personality? When Jesus returns, will He find you faithful? (Luke 18:8)

Israel is encouraged to trust God, Who would create a “new thing”—interpreted as strange and surprising—in the earth. God would create a woman who would “compass” or protect man.

Many interpreters understand this “new thing” to be the incarnation of Jesus Christ.  A woman, the Virgin Mary, enclosed in her womb the Might One. This was to be their incentive.

They would know that with their return from exile came the promise of not only their physical restoration but the spiritual blessing of the Mighty God (Is. 9:6). God would not cast off His people but bless them. This was to be their assurance.

And what is the road for us today? How do we live in the knowledge of this “new thing”? Knowing the blessings of being in Christ (Ep. 1:3-14).

We live attentively in God’s presence. Assured that He is creating new opportunities for us if we would but listen for His voice and watch where He is working. (2 Chronicles 16:9)

We live expectantly in God’s provision. God has provided all that we need to live godly lives and to accomplish His purpose in our lives. (2 Pet. 1:3-8)

We live faithfully in God’s purpose. As the elect of God we live by faith. We do not backslide or “draw back unto perdition” but trust that He who began this “good work in us” is able to complete it. (Phil. 1:6)

Our journey to understanding “new things” has hopefully provided incentive and inspiration to walk in the divine purpose God has created for our lives. When we as believers trust God and understand God’s reason for “new things”, we can move forward joyfully in faith and confidence.

The Reason for New Things

But if the LORD make a new thing and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD.  Num. 16:30 (KJV) 

It is human nature to resist doing new things even if new things offer more than the status quo.  Our text takes us to the Book of Numbers where we observe the impact of a nation’s resistance to God and His divine purpose for their life.  What should have been an eleven-day journey resulted in a forty year “funeral procession” (Num. 14:28-29; 32-35).  Regardless of Israel’s opposition, God would show them a reason for His new thing.

From the time of their departure, Israel complained and was rebellious against not only the leadership of Moses and Aaron but also against God Himself.  Israel had seen the many miracles of God yet “Israel had Egypt in their hearts, regardless of what God did for them even as they marched into the wilderness.”[1]

Where is your heart?  When God attempts to move you to your divine purpose, do you complain and murmur?  Is your affection set on the things of this world when God’s plan offers much more? (Col. 3:2-4)

Motivated by jealousy and envy, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram attempted to seize the priesthood from Aaron and his sons. In so doing, they also challenged the sovereignty and authority of God. In the wilderness, God would teach Israel a painful lesson about the reason for “new things”—about sacrifice, authority, and responsibility.  [Read Numbers 15:1-20:13]  That “new thing” would come with a price—it would cost Korah, Dathan, and Abiram their life, their families’ lives plus the lives of 14,700 people within Israel’s camp.

One of the reasons for God’s severity in punishing Israel was to prepare the way for His new thing—a people who would accept the “new beginning” He had readied for them in the Promised Land.  It would be there that Israel would experience new victories, a new priest (Eleazar), a new leader (Joshua), and a new generation.

How does God use “new things” in our life?

  • God might need to reset or reboot our current efforts. Stalled plans, ungodly influences or fleshly lusts can often take us off the path God sovereignly chooses for us.  God’s intervention will guarantee success. (Phil. 1:6)
  • God may desire to take us out of our comfort zone. He may even allow “trials and tribulations” into our life to move us forward.  In trusting and waiting on the Lord, we find courage to persevere as we pursue God’s plan for our life.  (1 Pet. 1:6-7)
  • God could choose to introduce us to an opportunity that may not have been on our radar screen. It is in those moments we can depend wholly on God to bring prospects into our life that will result in our good and His glory.   (Matt. 7:11)

God always has a reason for introducing new things into our life.  They may not be easy but they are always worth it.  We may not understand “why” but we can trust “Who” (God).

In the past when faced with new things, I was like Israel, guilty of complaining and murmuring.  Out of fear and frustration, I would cry, “Lord, why me?” I now choose God’s path for my life and when faced with “new things” I sigh in faith and confidence, “Lord, it’s YOU and me!”

[1]   Wiersbe Bible Commentary

Invitation to a New Thing

Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

Is. 43:19 (KJV)

Do you need inspiration and purpose for your life?  You’ve finished 2018 and here’s another year—like the other “new year” and you’re asking this haunting question, “What can I do to make this year better than the last?”

You may have made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, gain more faith, or increase your personal time with family.  Perhaps you’re in the midst of your annual fast and prayer effort to discipline your body and renew your spirit.  Good for you!  But isn’t that the same thing you did last year?

Maybe it’s time to change your thinking as you create ways to make this year better.  Maybe it’s time to do a “new thing”!   In this mini-series, we will examine three (3) Old Testament scripture to develop new thought on how to walk in God’s divine purpose for your life.

It’s been said, “If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you got!”  So do a new thing!  God’s thing!  Walk in the divine purpose God created just for you—from the beginning of time (Eph. 2:10).

In the Old Testament, the use of “a new thing” is cited in only three (3) texts:  Isaiah 43:19, Numbers 16:30, and Jeremiah 31:22.  Here they describe situations where God’s greatness and sovereignty is on display as He “invites man” to move into His designated purpose.

In the New Testament this concept of “a new thing” is manifested in the fulfillment of Messiah who came to gift us with salvation and to restore man to God’s original purpose—to glorify Him and live with Him forever.  God was unable to fulfill His purpose through families, tribes or kings; through prophets, mediators or priests.  God brought salvation to earth through Jesus Christ—“God’s new thing”.

This “new thing” would result in:

  • The Kingdom of God coming to earth. (Matt. 4:17)
  • Mercy, grace, and truth. (Ps. 85:10)
  • Man becoming a “new creation”. (2 Cor. 5:17)
  • Freedom from the penalty and power of sin. (Rom. 8:1)

Now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it?” See what happens when God does a “new thing”.

In our text today, God is promising to retrieve and restore Israel from their 70-year exile.  Their deliverance out of captivity would be more famous than that from Egypt (Jer. 23:6-8).  Israel thought they knew God but He was about to show them something different—“a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert”.  To do this would be humanly impossible but God alone had the power and authority to do “a new thing” (Is. 45:7, 12).

Are you “lost in the wilderness”—trying to figure out which way to go?  Are you searching for “rivers in the desert”—relief from dealing with the struggles and setbacks in your life?  God wants to do a “new thing” in your life so you can walk in His divine purpose.  How will you know your divine purpose?

Here are a few thoughts to begin your journey:

  • Position yourself to hear God speak to you—pray, read and meditate on His Word.
  • Reflect on where God has been working in your life.
  • Humbly confess areas of sin in your life that are interfering with your hearing God.

Then, ask God how you can serve in His Kingdom (your purpose), wait patiently and listen attentively.  God invites you to join Him in doing a “new thing.”  When we trust God with our lives, we can look forward to an exciting future with purpose (Jer. 29:11).

In the Presence of God

“Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.” Psalm 139:7-8 (NRS)

Our life consists of more than “flesh and blood”.  It includes our assumptions, beliefs and behaviors that regulate our personal preferences and pursuits; they can be “of the world” or “of God.” These assumptions, beliefs and behaviors eventually influence the choices we make daily and are ultimately reflected in our life style.

It is important that God’s influence is evident in our lives.  This begins by our acknowledging His glorious presence.  In Psalm 139 David shares the effect such knowledge can have in the life of the believer.

In this psalm God’s presence is demonstrated through several of His key attributes. In verses 7-12, from which our text for today is found, David speaks specifically of God’s omnipresence.  God is everywhere all the time.  In Jeremiah 23:23-24 this characteristic is spoken of by God Himself.  “Am I a God near by, says the LORD, and not a God far off?   Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them? says the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? says the LORD.”

The impact of living in God’s presence offers extraordinary benefit for the believer.   First, knowing God is everywhere offers us great comfort.  The new norm for living in the 21st century requires us to be ever vigilant—watching for potential risks and dangers that may threaten us physically, financially, and/or socially. To know that we are never out of the presence of God should settle the faint-hearted.  God alone can make good on His promise that He will “never leave nor forsake us” (Gen. 28:15).

Secondarily, believers living in the presence of God possess great confidence knowing that God is ever-present. Even in the most routine of transactions, recognizing that the “only wise God” (Rom. 16:27) is there to guide and direct our steps, releases us from unnecessary stress and concern (Phil. 4:6-7).

Finally, living in God’s presence provides us great clarity as to how we are to live in this present age (Titus 2:11-13).  This acknowledgment requires that we live obediently according to His Word and under the direction of the Holy Spirit.  God’s Word, especially the Epistles, describes God’s expectation of the believer’s conduct in light of living in a fallen world. The believer’s reality is expected to be very different from the world’s view (Rom. 12:2; 1 Pet. 1:13-16; 1 John 2: 16-17)

As believers in Christ, our reality recognizes that God is the center of our universe and it is God who sustains us and keeps us (Ps. 3:5; Heb. 1:3).  We are to joyfully seek His will—the divine purpose of the ever-present God.  The believer’s life and reality is derived from knowing we live continuously in the presence of God.

Abundant Living

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.   John 10:10 (RSV)

In her book, The Wired Soul, Tricia McCary Rhodes describes what it feels like living in the hyperconnected age of the 21st century:

While I am not personally prone to panic attacks, but these days there are moments when I find myself out of sorts, almost as if I can’t quite catch my breath.  I don’t think I’m alone in this.  People of all ages seem terminally distracted, perpetually hurried, and often harried.  It is rare for an answer to the question “how are you?” not to include the word busy and elicit some degree of angst.  Collectively it feels as if we are losing something important in the name of progress, as if life itself is slipping through our fingers.    

I know I’m not the only one who identifies with Dr. Rhodes.  I listen to friends, associates, and even strangers share their frustrations as they attempt to be “all-and-everything-to-everybody-while-no-good-for-themselves”.   Is it time for you to reclaim your life?

Moses experienced this dilemma as Mediator for the Israelites until he received wise counsel from Jethro (Ex. 18:14-18).  Moses reclaimed his life!  Believers are sometimes like Moses.  Even when we work in ministry or in the church, our hectic schedules and conflicted priorities keep us from serving God well.  Many times we’re too tired and over committed to assist when needed.  We’re even unavailable to keep the “divine appointments” God sends our way.  The thief comes only to steal.

In our text today, Jesus, the Good Shepherd, contrasts his nurturing care for His believers with that of a thief.   In this analogy, the thief refers to the leaders of Israel who didn’t care for the spiritual good of the people but only for themselves.  Who is the thief for believers today?  It’s anything or anyone who robs believers of the promises and blessings of God (Ep. 1:3).   For those attempting to reclaim their life, the thief is noise, hurry, and crowds.   It’s our bad habits, our toxic relationships and yes, our over-committed calendars.  The thief is social media—that constant intruder who interferes with our ability to live in the present and in the presence of God.  Are you a slave to the notification bell that pings every time you receive a new text?  Do you jump when Periscope whistles to you when a new broadcast is about to begin?  The thief comes only to kill and destroy.

But Jesus said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” So what does “abundant life” look like?  Life (zoe) is defined as “real and genuine”.  It is a life vigorously devoted to and in personal relationship with God (John 15:4-5) and with others.   Life offers spiritual freedom and eternity with God to those who put their trust in Christ (John 3:16; Rom. 6:14).  Life lived abundantly (perissos) is possible through the leading (filling) of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).  Abundant living is everything we need to reclaim our lives—balance, energy, peace, simplicity, and happiness.

Discovery While Desperately Seeking

My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,

And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.

Psalm 63:5  (NKJ)

Our series, Desperately Seeking, has focused on what people frantically pursue yet never seem to acquire.  It is in pursuing worldly counterfeits that a vicious circle of dissatisfaction and discontentment is created.  While these imitations may promise well-being and contentment, they can never deliver on their promises.  So what did we discover while desperately seeking?

The first thing we discovered was that we were desperately seeking in the wrong place.   Identifying with society, men seek to satisfy their heart’s desires with “tangibles”.  Yet each day the tabloids are full of stories of people who by the world’s standard “have it all”, yet still are searching for contentment and peace of mind.  It is in the “intangibles” that true satisfaction can be found.  King Solomon explains the reason for this disconnect in Ecclesiastes 3:11.  It is a matter of the heart: “He (God) has planted eternity in the human heart.”  Created in His image, God has made us restless for that which transcends this world.  It can only be provided by our Transcendent Creator.

Secondly, we discovered that we were desperately seeking the wrong thing.  Matthew 6:33 reminds us of a foundational teaching from Jesus:  “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness”.  Jesus’ invitation to righteousness was an invitation to a new way of living—Kingdom Living.  Believers are to prioritize and focus on those things which further the Kingdom of God and not their personal agenda.

The Message paraphrase for this text reinforces this understanding:  “Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, and God-provision.  Don’t worry about missing out.  You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.”

Finally, we discovered that we were desperately seeking for the wrong reasons.  Unfortunately many of us believe our life belongs only to us and we can do whatever we want with it.  For some reason, we believe that our sole purpose in life is to be “happy.”  That is the worldview of purposeful living.

However, for believers, Jesus is the model we are to follow if we are to understand our purpose in life (Eph. 2:10) and our role as citizens of God’s kingdom (Phil. 3:20-21).  In John 6:38, Jesus clearly articulates His purpose and His role:  “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent me.”  We are to seek to do the will of God wherever it may lead us.

So what have we discovered in our desperate search?  As new creatures in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17), we are to no longer live the rest of our time in the flesh for the lust of men, but for the will of God (1 Pet. 4:2).  It is in Him that we live, and move, and have our meaning (Act 17:28).   We no longer need to “desperately seek” for we have found in God more than we can ever hope for.  Only God can satisfy those desperately seeking because God is the only True Source of Satisfaction.

Desperately Seeking Happiness

“Then He (Jesus) began to speak, and taught them.” Matthew 5:2 (NRS)

At the top of the list of things people desperately seek is happiness.  Kirk Franklin, gospel extraordinaire, several years ago shared this need in a song that expresses the frustration people feel in their attempt to find happiness.  Exasperated with their situation, they sadly cry out, “I just wanna be happy.”

Happiness is defined as a state of well-being and contentment.  Happiness is truly a function of one’s personal perception, circumstance, and desire.  For the person who is lonely, happiness may be experiencing true friendship and community.  For the individual who feels powerless, happiness may be wealth and influence.  Regardless of the need behind the pursuit of happiness, the quest to find it has been and continues to be man’s greatest quest.

During the mid-20th century, the pursuit of happiness was found in the discovery of self.  “Self” became the surrogate for happiness—self-gratification, self-satisfaction, self-actualization.  With the dawn of the 21st century, man has now “turned his ear” (2 Tim. 4:4) to the sciences to help him find happiness.   Positive psychology is the study of how ordinary people can become happier and more fulfilled.  In examining the different paths to happiness, there is one obvious way that is missing. That way is Jesus Christ—He is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6).

In Psalm 18:2, David describes his source of well-being during his deliverance from King Saul and his enemies:  “The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”  David looked to God to insure his well-being and in exchange received security, safety, and health.

The Apostle Paul exchanged his earthly power and position for the contentment that only Jesus Christ could provide.  He proudly boasted in Phil. 4:11-13 (NRS):  “I have learned to be content with whatever I have.  I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”  Paul’s secret to contentment was not tied to his circumstances but to his God.

Like these and other biblical witnesses set your sights on that which transcends the promises of happiness that is tethered to this world.  Seek the intangibles that provide true well-being and contentment.  The only one that can provide what “transcends” is our Transcendent God.  He alone knows our needs and how to satisfy them.  It is our responsibility to trust God for our happiness.

Desperately Seeking the Will of God

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

Colossians 3:1-2 (RSV)

In our initial teaching, Life Lived Desperately Seeking, we identified those things that people wanted out of life but couldn’t seem to obtain.

In examination of this list, it was observed that the top items were “intangible, internal, and subjective”.  It was obvious that the “things people wanted” in actuality were those things that are matters of the “heart” and not the “hand.”  That heart is missing a piece that only God can fill.  God has placed “eternity” in our heart and it cannot be satisfied with the things of this world (Ecclesiastes 3:11).  God alone satisfies.  Knowing this should calm restless hearts and direct those who are still desperately seeking what they want out of life.

We should also look at Jesus for our model as to what we are to seek in life.  If we were to look at the list of things Jesus sought while on earth, it could be summarized in four (4) words—the will of God.   Jesus often emphasized to both His inquisitive disciples and His devious opponents that the only thing that He sought in life was to accomplish the will of His Father.

Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work.”  (John 4:34)

“For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me.”  (John 6:38)

And what was the will of the Father?

“…that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”  (John 6:40)

Eternal life is not only a place with God in the future but it is also a state of being, right now, that makes available spiritual blessings for living victoriously in this present world (2 Pet. 1:2-4; Gal. 5:22-24).

When we seek the will of God, we no longer live for ourselves or for the things of the world (1 John 2:17).  A life that seeks the will of God is lived pursuing those things that are above (Col. 3:1).

“Now this I affirm and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds; they are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart; they have become callous and have given themselves up to licentiousness, greedy to practice every kind of uncleanness. (Ephesians 4:17-19)

Paul describes this “no longer living” for self as being “crucified with Christ.”

 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  (Gal. 2:20)

Peter advises those who “no longer live” to themselves to “be armed” with the same thought or motive as Christ.  To arm ourselves is both strategic and intentional.

Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same thought, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer by human passions but by the will of God.  Let the time that is past suffice for doing what the Gentiles like to do, living in licentiousness, passions, drunkenness, revels, carousing, and lawless idolatry.  (1 Peter 4:1-3)

The motivation for “seeking” is no longer self-gratification, self-serving, self-aggrandizements, or self-satisfaction.  Our motivation…our life style…our mindset should be directed at understanding and seeking the will of God.

The scriptures used today were chosen so that we as believers will fully grasp where and who our focus is to be on.  Our satisfaction is to be found in the will of God.  Living in a materialistic society, we may be tempted by the alluring promises of possessions, power, and privilege.  But as attested by those who are “still” desperately seeking, the world often falls short of delivering on its promises.

Only God can give what we truly need.  Within God’s will is the “missing piece” for our heart; therein lies God’s provision, peace and joy.  Stop seeking satisfaction from worldly counterfeits.  “Set your minds on things that are above.”

Desperately Seeking Righteousness

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.

Matt. 6:33 (NRS)

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled.

Matt. 5:6   (NRS)

In the movie the Pursuit of Happyness, Will Smith plays Chris Gardner, a desperate individual endeavoring to save his family from dire circumstances created by his lack of employment and subsequent homelessness.  Chris is given the opportunity for a job on Wall Street by a benevolent mentor who sees in him, not only hidden talent, but a “hunger and thirst” for a better life.  When Jesus spoke of hungering and thirsting for righteousness, He knew the impact “kingdom living” would have on individuals in search of a “better life”.  Jesus saw individuals who were spiritually hungry, starved by the empty promises of this world.  The result was emaciated spirits and dry souls.   The world was desperately seeking.

To be righteous (dikaios), in a broad sense, describes man as God had originally created him to be—one whose way of thinking, feeling, and acting is wholly conformed to the will of God. The believer’s righteousness is not their own but is the imputed (credited) righteousness of Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:1) and the desire to continue living righteously before God is made possible by Jesus Christ’s presence within believers through the Holy Spirit.  It is the Holy Spirit that gives the believer the ability to live right and to do right (Ez. 36:25-27; Phil. 2:13).

To “seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness” established the right priority and focus in the life of the believer.  With the many enticements and distractions offered by the world, it is easy to understand the lukewarm commitment to the things of God—even within the church.  But God demands our love and our loyalty as we seek to live for the furtherance of the kingdom of God.  The Apostle Peter reminded persecuted believers of their “new priority” as a result of Christ’s sacrificial death.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.  (1 Peter 2:24)

Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same thought, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,  so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer by human passions but by the will of God.  (1 Peter 4:1-2)

Jesus’ invitation to righteousness was an invitation to a new way of living—kingdom living; no longer marked by hypocrisy and corruption as seen in the lives of the ruling religious leaders. Jesus invited those who sought God’s righteousness to simply “Come” (Matt. 11:28-30).  This invitation would resonate with individuals in familiar terms they could easily understand—hunger and thirst.

To “hunger and thirst” for God’s righteousness indicates a strong craving that becomes the driving force in the life of the believer.  The Psalmist captured this fervent yearning in Psalms 42:1-3:

As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God?  My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me continually, “Where is your God?”

While hunger and thirst are terms typically used to express basic human needs, the hunger and thirst that Jesus describes in this beatitude depicts a “spiritual hunger and thirst” that finds no satisfaction in the physical realm.  And what is the effect of this yearning?  “It is filled!”

The world is at enmity with those seeking the righteousness of God.  But in spite of the persecution we may encounter or the rejection we may face, it is imperative that we stand firm and give the world the reason for our hope—a living hope that is realized both now and in eternity future (1 Pet. 3:15).     Our culture continues to seek answers to the moral and social problems of our day using man’s wisdom.   Such efforts are “senseless striving” without first desperately seeking God’s righteousness.

Desperately Seeking God

O 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.

Psalm 63:1 (KJV)

Recent news featured individuals who were lost in the wilderness. One story told of a young boy who became separated from his family when he left them in search of mushrooms.  In another story, a hiker who left her team experienced a dangerous fall resulting in a badly broken leg.  In both stories, their separation from others resulted in fear and despair until they were rescued from their dire situation.

The same is true of man when he is separated from His beloved Creator.  Without God, man is left to live desperately seeking what only God can provide. To try to do so, can only results in fear and despair.    Therefore the logical way to end this desperate dilemma is to seek God.  In Psalm 63 David shares his despair as he finds himself separated from God. It is here that we find David desperately seeking God.

The historical context for this psalm can be found in 2 Samuel 15. David’s despair is the result of his son Absalom’s conspiracy to steal the kingdom from his father. Fearful of the potential shift in power, David vacates his throne in Jerusalem and heads to the wilderness of Judah.  While David was in fact, in a physical wilderness, the wilderness he speaks of in this psalm describes metaphorically his desperate longing for God.  It provides a powerful outline of how to find God.

First, David spiritually reconnected with God.  David’s desire for God became the first thing he sought when he rose in the morning.   His soul—his mind, will and emotions—thirsted for God.  His flesh responded to this insatiable thirst in a strong longing to be with God.  Do you thirst for God?  How do you connect with God?  Are you intentional in your making “quality time” for Him or does He only get a quick bible verse reading when you have time?

Next, David recounted His previous experiences with God.  Though David had never seen God physically, he had personally experienced God’s power and glory through nature and His attributes. He knew God’s love and mercy as he tended to his father’s sheep as a young boy (Ps. 23).  David was witness to God’s protection as he faced the giant Goliath (1 Sam. 17:49-51). David knew the source of his success in battle against Israel’s enemies (1 Sam. 18:5, 7).  David knew the power of God’s presence.

Finally, David relinquished His will to God.  Though a mighty king, David humbled himself to God knowing that the only way to reverse his situation was to totally trust and depend on God for all his needs.  Christian pastor and author, A.W. Tozer, identified the root cause of man’s dissatisfaction resulting in his continual search for that which he “cannot have”.

“The reason why many are still troubled, still seeking, still making little forward progress is because they haven’t yet come to the end of themselves. We’re still trying to give orders, and interfering with God’s work within us. ”

In today’s society people are desperately seeking relief for their spiritual thirst. They are searching for life options they feel will satisfy their needs through hedonistic pursuits, spiritual experimentation, and material gain.  These efforts unfortunately never satisfy and often result in further despair and darkness.

Because David desperately sought God first, he was able to experience a confident assurance that would have been impossible through human seeking or striving.  God our Father and Creator knows and possesses what is needed for spiritual and emotional “dryness”.  Only God can truly satisfy.  It was in seeking God that David found spiritual relief for his thirst.

During the last day of the Feast of the Tabernacle, Jesus offered Himself as the source of relief for the thirsty soul:  “Jesus stood and cried, saying, ‘If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water’ ” (John 7:37-38).   Jesus still calls today—offering living water to the world—a “thirsty land where no water is.”