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Thirsting and Praising

(Psalm 42:1-10)

Lesson 2 -- third quarter 2002
June 9, 2002

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2002, Christian Light Publications

What do you need desperately?

Right now I need a replacement printer, but not urgently. I also need a new window for the tailgate in one of our vehicles, but not desperately. Sometimes I think I need a real vacation, but that isn't an intense need either. One thing I do need urgently is encouragement. Another is vision. And there are others, some of which I am not aware or prefer to ignore.

Without question, our needs and our wants frequently get all mixed up. We can't tell the one from the other. Sometimes they're even the same. But that's not what this lesson is about. The object of our thoughts here is clear-cut, unmistakable need. But not just any need. This is about desperate need. Do you have anything that falls in that category? I don't doubt you do. Just as I am certain you have desperate needs which you don't know about or ignore.

In today's lesson, the Psalmist speaks of some of his needs. Let's consider them, for they just might be needs we have purposefully ignored or unintentionally overlooked.

"My soul thirsteth for God." I have a friend who once ventured into the blazing Sonoran desert that straddles Mexico and the United States. Before long he found himself in a strange, oppressive land . . . low on water. He and his companions walked and walked, headed north, aware that they might not reach civilization again before dehydration defeated and killed them. They took plenty of risks in that effort to enter the U.S. illegally because they felt in desperate, urgent need of jobs and money. But after a couple of days in the desert, that need faded into something far less as their increasing thirst brought home a new overarching need -- water. They learned about the panting of the hart of which Psalm 42:1 speaks. Eventually they made it to water and lived to tell their tale.

But what about their souls? What about my soul and yours? As much as our bodies need water, our souls need God far more. I know that to be true both from study and from experience. Even so, most of the time I ignore or overlook that huge need. I do not pant after God as my friend panted after water. I do not push myself to satisfy my soul's thirsting for God. It seems I want God to meet my needs without my having to "work" at it. Do you know what I mean?

When shall I come before God? Maybe tomorrow. Who knows, maybe even later on today. You know, when I have more time or at least less distractions. My friends, those are not the answers of one who is paying attention to his desperate need! I do want God to draw me to Himself. I do want to draw close to Him. I need His help in being and doing as I ought. Will I surrender to His love and will? How about you?

"Hope thou in God." My friend who was waterless in the desert was finally down to his determination to live and his rediscovered hope in God. His hope clung fiercely to God and he clung fiercely to his hope. We all have that need. And our hope in God is always an urgent need. This needful hope enables us to surmount the obstacles we face in life. This essential hope keeps us going when many things and other people go wrong. And this blessed hope gives us a song in the night of our life. Not only that, our steadfast hope gives us purpose and direction when life is bright, cheery, and positive.

Did you know you can nourish your hope in God? Yes! This is a hope we need never give up or lose. Sadly, many people do, and they just wouldn't have to. Hope in God is developed and then nourished and strengthened by . . . focusing on God. Keep your eyes on Him, and you'll always have hope.

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