Summary: What determines our relationship with Him is whether we become bitter or crave for Him more than ever knowing our entire life dependence is on Christ our Lord and King. This craving is just the advent of revival of our lives.
Opening illustration: A shepherd, who had spent many years with flocks on the hills of Scotland, asked me if I had ever seen a sheep eat while lying down. When I confessed that I had not, he told me that no one had ever seen a sheep eat in that position. “If a sheep is lying down,” he continued, “there may be a lovely tuft of grass within an inch of her nose, but she will not eat it. She will scramble to her feet, lean over and eat the grass that was in easier reach before. "Thus when the Lord, our Shepherd, makes us lie down in green pastures (Psalm 23), that means we have had so much, we just can’t take any more. We are beside the still waters and He has already satisfied our thirst. (Donald Grey Barnhouse).
Introduction: Do you have a passion for God? In other words, is God your first love? Having passion for God means that every molecule of our being is drawn to God and given up to Him. As water and air are essential for sustaining life, so God and His presence are for having wholeness in life. Genuine believers will have an unprecedented hunger and thirst for God and His blessings, His graciousness and supernatural activities in their lives. When we stop having that hunger and thirst for God, there is a gradual spiritual debility. Therefore we must protect our lives, so that nothing would diminish our love and passion for God.
How to YEARN for God in the midst of distresses?
1. SOUL craves for GOD (vs. 1-2)
Psalm 42 begins with a verse that may be familiar to you, “As the deer pants for the water… so my soul pants for you.” (v. 1) For some reason, I always pictured that deer standing at the water. It has been thirsty, but now it’s about to drink. But that’s not the image at all. The Psalmist (and the deer) are still far from water. That’s why the spiritual throat is parched. The Psalmist cries out, “When shall I come and appear before God?” (v. 2) God seems far away and there seems no soon-coming satisfaction for a parched soul.
Scripture often describes our longing for God as a deep hunger or thirst. Hunger and thirst are basic drives in our bodies, and there is also a hunger and thirst of the soul. This fallen world, with its fallen people, can never satisfy our fallen selves. But we keep going back to it, as if it can. We set our sights on the objects of a thousand different desires, none of which give us the lasting pleasure we long for.
We long for God’s Word, that truth which is an extension of Himself that clarifies and explains, and shows us life as it really is, not as it is constantly misperceived. The world, with its sin and shallowness, leaves a sour taste in our mouths, but there is an eternal sweetness to God’s Word.
Like eating good food and exercising regularly, if we develop the holy habit of daily meditating on Scripture, we will deeply appreciate it, realize our need for it, and miss it acutely whenever we’re away from it too long. If you’re not craving God’s Word, you’ve forgotten what you’re missing—or perhaps you’ve never known.
That is why God may allow deficiency, disease, or depression to come into our lives; to drive us to crave a closer relationship to Him. For example, when satisfaction and purpose are missing from our lives and we are deficient in these qualities it is God’s way of helping us crave Him. God is what we really need! When something in our life is out of place, when our relationships are hurting, or when there is a sense of dis-ease in our heart, it is God showing us that He is what we need. And when we are discouraged or depressed, when life has let us down, it is God showing us that He is the only one who can truly satisfy. He wants us to crave Him more than anything else in life!
We sinners who would have been consumed by the burning holiness of God will be transformed into righteous people with the moral character of Christ, so that we can see God face to face, gazing upon Him with sheer delight. Never again will we withdraw from Him, nor He from us.
When we see Him with our resurrected eyes, we will realize that all our lives, as we went down every dead end street pursuing what we thought we wanted, it was really Him we were searching for, longing for. And Him alone that could ever satisfy us.
2. Things changed: Drink SORROW (v. 3)
My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” (v. 3) Rather than God’s presence being food and drink for the soul, the Psalmist is overwhelmed by sorrow from within and questions from without.