Thirst Signals: Psalm 63:1-8
Thirst is an indicator that our life could be in peril. We can’t go long without water, so our body sends “thirst signals” when we are running low on that essential element. Our spirit, our sense of who we are, our inner-most being is essential to life as well. We have no better way to describe our spirit’s need for God than thirst. The psalmist likens our need for God to the need for water in a hot desert.
But, we know where the well is, because the spiritual well is worship. That was easy. Go to church and all is well! Not exactly. There are many mirages in the desert-things that look like water from a distance, but are dry when you get there. In this passage of scripture, the psalmist rejoices in worship that is refreshing and life giving.
Worship in this psalm is worship in which God’s power and glory are seen. There are some Sunday mirages that are dry because other sources of power and glory are held up as equal to or synonymous with God’s. Military power and national glory are not equal to or greater than the power and glory of God. To seek them on Sunday morning is to chase a mirage, an illusion of salvation. Entertainment is a clever illusion, a sophisticated distraction. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it cannot quench the soul’s thirst. It has no place in the category of essential. Entertainment cannot be our God, and its illusion must not be mistaken for reality. Our soul thirsts. In the season of Lent, we confess our hunger and our thirst that only God can satisfy.
Celebrity does not make the worship leader (pastor or musician) a substitute for God. Attempts to convince us otherwise are conscious efforts to call upon the seduction of the mirage, and there is no water there. The point is made that the illusionist is not a synonym for priest or pastor.
We must not think of worship as a magic show, because that well is dry. We are refreshed and nourished when we bow before God, acknowledging God’s power and glory as the ultimate, and as the unique source of our salvation. We worship when we confess that God’s steadfast love is better than life itself, indeed, is life itself. Our thirst is quenched when our dry lips praise God and no one or nothing else. Our thirst is quenched when we cease to dig in the sand, and instead lift our hands to God in praise and petition. Our thirst is quenched when we call upon the name of the Lord for our next breath, for wisdom for our next decision, for our energy to relate to the world around us in humility.
When we have engaged in authentic worship, we do not thirst again. The water that God offers through Jesus the Son is an eternal drink. At night, when the cares of our heart and mind would grip us like thirst, our soul is satisfied (vv 5-6). We do not thirst in the heat of the day’s responsibilities, but are shaded by God’s “wings” (v 7). It is reason for songs of joy remembered and whistled throughout the day by a moist soul and mouth.
After worship, real worship, our soul clings to God (v 8), bonded by the condensation of praise and prayer into our daily living. As the dryness of the world would begin to evaporate our worship, God’s right hand upholds us. No mirage can do that. Sing the joy of living water. Let Lent name your thirst.
Lord, our thirst brings us to our knees.
We bow before you in praise and prayer, and joy ever flowing.
A word about the series
The Lenten season has always inspired many people to create everything from poems, art and music to a completely new direction in their lives. This Lenten season Tabernacle will be exploring many of those creations in the hope of inspiring you to compose in a medium that is natural for you. The paintings in the Sanctuary are of the Biblical Stations of the Cross. The artist, Grieg Leach, completed them in 2010. They will help us to visualize the events leading to the crucifixion of Jesus. In addition to the paintings there is a Lenten devotional booklet, Return to Me, which is available in print or online. The Stations of the Cross also inspired these devotions, written by Terry York of Baylor University. Living with these two bodies of artistic expression based on the Biblical Stations of the Cross throughout the season of Lent should help us as we seek to return our lives to God by walking with Jesus though his final days.
Pray, read, think and return to God.
All scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible.
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