Thirst For God's Word-1

     Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Matt. 5:6 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. Ps. 42:1-2.

    
Our doctors are always reminding us to keep our bodies adequately hydrated. I noted that there is some controversy these days about how much water is the right amount for a person to drink daily. The old standby was “eight 8 ounce glasses of water each day.” Some recommend less and some recommend more. One doctor told me to be sure I got “plenty.” I know from personal experience in equatorial countries that one needs to drink plenty and then a good bit more! We know we will not last very long without water and most of us rely on our thirst mechanism to tell us when we need to drink. But we also know that sometimes that mechanism can be deceptive and we do not drink as much as we need. When that happens a person may develop serious illness quite rapidly.

    
There is a spiritual parallel to physical thirst. As dangerous as physical thirst can be, spiritual thirst is much worse. As Jesus stated in the Beatitudes the person who hungers and thirsts after righteousness is blessed. To be blessed is to be happy in the deepest, spiritual sense. The psalmist said that his soul thirsted for God. The child of God today certainly shares these attitudes of faith. In our time we quench that thirst through our relationship with the Word of God.

    

God’s Word is the revelation of His mind for and to us (1 Cor. 2:9-13). As such it is not normal literature. It is living and active (Heb. 4:12). It is the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17). It is a magnificent compilation of the truth we need to know and practice in order to be free from sin (John 8:32, Rom. 10:17).

    
With this in mind, consider again the parallel we are thinking about. The medical people tell us that if we do not drink enough water, after a while our desire for water will abate. I mentioned equatorial countries. It is not uncommon for people who are unaccustomed to drinking substantial quantities of water to say that they “just are not thirsty.” They may continue to hold that view up to the time that we find someone to administer intravenous fluids to relieve their dehydration.

    
The point is plain. God’s Word, properly studied and understood (2 Tim. 2:15) is just as essential for spiritual survival as water is for physical survival. But if a person is unaccustomed to reading and studying the Word he will not thirst for it. The more one reads and studies the Bible the more one desires to do so. The practice of studying God’s Word becomes as normal and essential as drinking having a cool and refreshing glass of water. It becomes something that we look forward to as a great joy of life.

     For my first seven years of work with the West Hobbs Street congregation I was blessed to work alongside Winfred Clark. Brother Clark was very well known as a talented and careful student of the Bible. He was a master of alliterative outlining. One day he rushed from his office to mine with his Testament in his hand open to a passage and saying with great expression, “I have studied this Book for fifty years and I just saw this today!” This has always stood out in my mind as a great example of the joy and intellectual excitement we can have from studying the Word of God. I have tried to thirst for God’s Word as did my friend Winfred Clark.

    
As we think about developing our own thirst for the Word of God, let us consider some spiritual and yet practical points. First, we will increase our thirst for God’s Word by paying close attention to the context of the passage we are reading. I am familiar with the programs and schedules people use to read through the Bible in a year or some other time period. As good as that may be I think we will develop a more refined thirst by concentrating our efforts in a Book or series thereof without artificial time restraints.

(This article concludes next week)