Thirst for God

SERMON TOPIC: Thirst for God

Speaker: Ken Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 14 October 2018

Topic Groups: COMMITMENT

Sermon synopsis: The psalmist wrote about hungering and thirsting for God.

Psalm 107:9 He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things

We must be thirsty and hungry. This is the desire every one of us should have, it's not something unusual that is reserved for only a few.

Psalm 42:1-2 As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

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Thirsty for God.

The psalmist wrote about hungering and thirsting for God.

Psalm 107:9.

He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things

We must be thirsty and hungry.

This is the desire every one of us should have, it's not something unusual that is reserved for only a few.

Psalm 42:1-2.

As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

Thirst for God.

The Context of Psalm 42:

Exiled in Jordan in the far north of Palestine, the Psalmist remembers and longs for the past experiences in Jerusalem in the temple which was, for ancient Israel, the special place of God’s presence and thus, the special place of worship and fellowship with the Lord and with the people of God.

The Psalmist expresses his longing and need, using the analogy to the deer that, perhaps because it has been chased up into the hills by hunters, longs for and has to search long and hard for the water brooks on the arid hills of Palestine.

Like the deer, the Psalmist longs for fellowship with God and His people in the temple at Jerusalem because only this can quench the thirst of his soul.

Thirst for God.

Psalm 63:1-5.

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

Isaiah 55:1-11.

Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance. Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, According to the faithful mercies shown to David. Behold, I have made him a witness to the peoples, A leader and commander for the peoples. Behold, you will call a nation you do not know, And a nation which knows you not will run to you, Because of the Lord your God, even the Holy One of Israel; For He has glorified you. Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near.

Isaiah 55:1-11.

Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the Lord, And He will have compassion on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth, And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

Thirst for God.

Isaiah 55 begins with an invitation that accentuates man’s need and the futility of life without God. It declares the inability of the things men typically put their trust in to provide for meaning and satisfaction in life. things like money, professions, possessions, position, praise, and pleasure.

Note: Our typical ways of wickedness are really the product of seeking to quench our thirst by our own man-made cisterns

Jeremiah 2:13.

My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.

Thirst for God.

In the Bible, thirst is a translation of the Hebrew sama, and the Greek dipsos. We have an English word that is derived from dipsos, the word dipsomania used of extreme thirstiness, but especially of the insatiable craving for alcoholic beverages.

Thirst refers to the sensation of dryness in the mouth and throat caused by the lack of fluids which results in a desire to drink.

From this sensation it seems that people of almost any language use the word thirst as a synonym for a strong desire or craving for whatever the object, like a thirst for knowledge, or a thirst for wealth.

Thirst for God.

John 4:7-14.

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, Will you give me a drink?.....

The Samaritan woman said to him, You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?....

Jesus answered her, If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water. Sir, the woman said, you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep…..

Jesus answered, Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

Thirst for God.

Note the words of the wonderful song, ‘Fill My Cup Lord’ by Richard Blanchard:

Like the woman at the well I was seeking For things that could not satisfy; And then I heard my Saviour speaking: Draw from My well that never shall run dry.

Fill my cup Lord, I lift it up Lord, Come and quench this thirsting of my soul, Bread of heaven, feed me ‘til I want no more, Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole!

Thirst for God.

The good news is that the longing for God can be awakened if we are willing to change our priorities and pursuits. Although cultivating a desire for the Lord takes time, the joy we’ll experience is lasting—and the rewards are eternal. You’ll always get more out of a relationship with God than you put in. In fact, as your hunger for Him comes to life, He will open your heart and mind to understand and desire Him even more.

When we yearn for the Lord, He will satisfy us with contentment and a sense of completeness, while awakening an even deeper longing in our soul. Unlike physical hunger, a craving for Him is filled but paradoxically leaves us hungry. The more we are satisfied in Christ, the more we want of Him.

Thirst for God.

Do you have that hunger for Him? As John Piper puts it: "If we don't feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because we have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Our soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great."

Between the dangers of self-denial and self-indulgence is this path of pleasant pain called fasting. For when God is the supreme hunger of your heart, He will be supreme in everything. And when you are most satisfied in Him, He will be most glorified in you.

“The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world. It is not the X-rated video, but the prime-time dribble of triviality we drink in every night.”

Hunger for God.

“The greatest adversary of love to God is not his enemies but his gifts. And the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil, but for the simple pleasures of earth. For when these replace an appetite for God himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable, and almost incurable. . . .

Therefore, when I say that the root of Christian fasting is the hunger of homesickness for God, I mean that we will do anything and go without anything if, by any means, we might protect ourselves from the deadening effects of innocent delights and preserve the sweet longings of our homesickness for God.” ― work/ quotes/ 200711

Do you have a thirst for God’s Word?

1 Peter 2:2-3.

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

Colossians 3:16.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Luke 1:53.

He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.

Do you have a thirst for fellowship?

Luke 14:16-20. Then He said to him, A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, Come, for all things are now ready. But they all with one accord began to make excuses.

The first said to him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused. Still another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.” All three of these men made excuses instead of coming to the banquet. Possessions, work and family, good and necessary things can distract us from seeking God.


Are household chores keeping you busy?

Martha complained that Mary was sitting at Jesus feet.

Luke 10:38-42.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself?

Tell her to help me! Martha, Martha, the Lord answered, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.

The desperate were healed.

The woman with the issue of blood.

Mark 5:24-34.

A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.

When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed. Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

The desperate get deliverance.

Look at how desperate the Syrophonecian woman was for her daughter’s deliverance.

Mark 7:24-30. A woman whose little daughter was possessed by an impure spirit came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.

First let the children eat all they want, he told her, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs. Lord, she replied, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs. Then he told her, For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter. She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

Jesus never made it easy to follow him.

Today’s Gospel is cheap and costs nothing and requires no sacrifice

Luke 9:57-62.

Along the way someone said to Jesus, I’ll go anywhere with you!

Jesus said, Foxes have dens, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man doesn’t have a place to call his own.

Jesus told someone else to come with him. But the man said, Lord, let me wait until I bury my father.

Jesus answered, Let the dead take care of the dead, while you go and tell about God’s kingdom.”

Then someone said to Jesus, I want to go with you, Lord, but first let me go back and take care of things at home.

Jesus answered, Anyone who starts ploughing and keeps looking back isn’t worth a thing to God’s kingdom!

Hunger and thirst for God attracts His attention.

Matthew 10:6-14.

But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.

And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. And when ye come into an house, salute it.

Hunger and thirst for God attracts His attention.

Matthew 10:6-14 (continued)

And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.

And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.

Who is worthy?

Not someone who is deserving, but someone who is thirsty.

The woman at the well wasn’t worthy, God is not looking for worthy people, he is looking for thirsty people, hungry people.

Hunger and thirst for God attracts His attention.

How much time is wasted in ministry on people who are not hungry for God?

They looking for acceptance and recognition, but they have no appetite for the Lord or the holiness he requires of us.

John 6:25-29.

When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, Rabbi, when did you get here?

Jesus answered, Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.......

Hunger and thirst for God attracts His attention.

Jeremiah 29:11-14.

For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.

Then you will call upon Me, and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear and heed you.

Hunger and thirst for God attracts His attention.

Jeremiah 29:11-14 (continued)

Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me [as a vital necessity] and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will release you from captivity and gather you from all the nations and all the places to which I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I caused you to be carried away captive.

Thirst for God.

I Corinthians 10:3-13.

They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.

Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.

We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died.

Thirst for God.

I Corinthians 10:3-13 (continued)

We should not test Christ, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.

These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come.

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.

But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Charisma Magazine: (Thetus Tenny)

In our culture we are surrounded by distractions. And just as there will never be a time of "enough time," there will never be a time without distractions; that is the impossible dream. The reality is that the urgent can often crowd out the important. We have all had a good case of the "if onlys" at some point in our lives. Your spirit keenly feels that pursuing God is your greatest desire and delight, yet your life abounds with things that compete for your attention. You've probably said: I would love to pursue God more fervently, if only I had more time ... if only I had more help ... if only others were more thoughtful ... if only my family didn't take so much of my time.” The "if only" list is virtually endless. Almost always it includes "if onlys" related to jobs, spouses, children and the church.

Charisma Magazine: (Thetus Tenny)

Decision to Pursue God

I can still remember a rainy day in late autumn many years ago. Our son, Tommy, would soon be 3 years old, and now we had our new baby girl, Teri. They were exactly what my husband and I had hoped for.

The carefree days of "just the two of us" had been replaced with the responsibility of the four of us. I stared out a window, blinking away tears as I watched my husband, Tom, drive away to his ministry appointment.

I was happy with the children and had vowed to be the best mother I could possibly be. Yet I had the inward stirrings of spiritual giftings and a deep yearning to be used of God. I struggled with these two callings: chasing God and chasing kids; heavenly passion and earthly parenting.

Charisma Magazine: (Thetus Tenny)

Decision to Pursue God

Both of these required time and energy. Neither of them could ever really be completed in the space of time allowed. I made a decision on that day that has helped me balance spiritual pursuit and earthly responsibility. It helped keep me on track in my chase after God while chasing my lively children. Perhaps it was more of a desperate decision than a deliberate one.

I know my frustration came from a heart desperately hungry for God. With two babies at home and a husband in a travelling ministry, I could either seethe in frustration or find a way to feed my spiritual hunger. I couldn't do too much at the time. It was all I could do just to be what I was, but I could prepare myself for the time when I would be able to do more.

Charisma Magazine: (Thetus Tenny)

I made my decision: I would read, study, pray and meditate in the precious few moments of a young mother's "down time." At first, it was usually while the kids were down for their naps; then later, when they were at school.

For a special seven-year period, I carefully planned my time so that most evenings and every early morning would take me a little further in my pursuit of God. I am by nature an early riser, and this was a time that suited my God-chasing efforts.

My Bible and my books fed my hunger for learning about Him. My prayers brought Him intimately near so that in meditation, I learned from Him. The deliberate pursuit provided time to get to know Him.

Charisma Magazine: (Thetus Tenny)

The Chase

What seems like an unreachable, impossible dream—time to pursue God with all our hearts, free from distractions and hindrances, will become a possibility only with commitment. True commitment is the driving force of life. Commitment evolves into passion, and passion is contagious. Often, we sabotage our own good intentions of pursuing God because of a preconceived idea of how it should be done. Then if we fail to conform to this idea, we abandon our pursuit. Perfectionism produces procrastination. And procrastination robs us of commitment. Perfectionism also produces pharisaical self-condemnation, which takes the joy out of the relationship. Joyless duty undermines commitment. I wonder if there have ever been any God-chasers who did not have the opportunity to succumb to the "I would—if only" dilemma.

Thirst for God.

In a world hot in pursuit of quenching its thirst with everything but God, Tozer wrote:

In the midst of this great coldness toward God there are some, I rejoice to acknowledge, who will not be content with shallow logic. They will admit the force of the argument, and then turn away with tears to hunt some lonely place and pray, “O God, show me thy glory.” They want to taste, to touch with their hearts, to see with their inner eyes the wonder that is God.

I want deliberately to encourage this mighty longing after God. The lack of it has brought us to our present low estate. The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire. Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. He waits to be wanted.


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