Summary: What does the Believer do when he finds himself in a thirsty place?
I have been praying to God for a response to the terrible tragedy that has been in the news for the past couple of weeks. The Tsunami in the Asia and Africa has dominated the world consciousness since it struck without warning, the day after Christmas.
Colin Powell called the tragedy a ‘horror’ unlike anything he’d ever seen; stating that, "I have been in war and I have been through a number of hurricanes, tornadoes and other relief operations, but I have never seen anything like this!"
I was very much finished with the body to this sermon, when it hit me that the response was in the sermon!
Typically when some major disaster occurs there is a question of why God would allow something like this to happen … “Why do bad things happen to good people?” And while I’d like to answer that question – in general – I will save that for another time. Instead I will mimic the answer Pat Robertson gave on a recent news program: “Storms and earthquakes and other natural disasters happen!” They have happened since man was put out of the garden – and often when they do they leave great devastation in their wake. Even the Bible has records of storms occurring – one of which even threatened the ship in which Jesus was traveling. (Jonah 1:4; Mark 4:36-41; Luke 8:22-26)
Perhaps when we get to see God we will be able to ask Him for a concise answer as to how these natural events – events we fondly call “acts of God” – fit into the overall picture of the punishment for the sin of Eden.
A few years ago the Spirit drew my attention to a collection of conversations and letters entitled, The Practice of the Presence of God, written by a Carmelite monk named Brother Lawrence. I discovered it quite by accident when I was looking for a book to recommend to a friend, who had asked me if I thought that God is still speaking to men, today. The title evoked in me a sense of deep awareness of the importance of our finding our way – from time to time – to that “secret place” where we meet God, heart-to-heart; breast-to-breast; and mouth-to-mouth.
It occurred to me that the only way we ever really come to a point where we can talk about true worship is that we find our way to that place where we at once become aware That we are standing in the Presence of God. I felt that same sense of God’s Presence in reading the words of David in this Psalm – and I asked God for the right words to say to you to help me transport you, in this lesson, into this place of worship. You see, if I can get you into the posture of worship, then I will actually also have you in the posture of achieving your greatest power and potential. And more importantly, I will have gotten you to that place of confidence in God – and in His Presence – where you will truly be empowered to stand up against whatever the enemy throws in your way.
So we come this Sunday to the first part of a new Series concerning The Meaning and Method of Worship. I pray that this will be a blessing to you – as it already has been to me. I am in awe at whet God has already deposited into my spirit, and I am anxiously looking forward to imparting it to you.
Now I have to confess that God did not just ‘drop’ this sermon into my spirit, the way he often does. This time I was listening to my friend Bishop Neil C. Ellis, from Nassau, Bahamas; and he mentioned this scripture in a sermon that actually dealt with another passage from the New Testament. But when I opened my Bible to read a verse from this Psalm the Spirit of God grabbed my attention, and started pouring into my spirit.
1 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; 2 To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. 3 Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. 4 Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. 5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: 6 When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. 7 Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. 8 My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.