There are times in our lives when we feel distant from the presence of God, and/or when we desire a greater intimacy with Him than we have. These times cause us to thirst for God and His presence. Within our souls we feel a longing for living water. We earnestly desire more of God and we freely and openly express our affection to Him.
“As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.”
Psalm 42:1 NKJV
Just as the deer yearns and longs for streams of water to quench its physical thirst, so should we yearn and long for the presence of God. Only His manifest presence can quench our spiritual desires and thirst.
Pants: to long demonstratively; yearn
Demonstrative : expressing one’s affections freely and openly
Yearn : feel a longing or desire; desire earnestly
Deer are excellent swimmers, selective feeders, and have high nutrition requirements. The deer have very powerful legs that enable them to be excellent swimmers and to forage for the food they need. Their powerful legs also help them evade them enemies.
In our quest for the presence of God we must be like a deer. We must be excellent swimmers, selective feeders, and use what God gives us.
I. We Must Be Excellent Swimmers
If we are thirsty for God we must be excellent swimmers. Excellent swimmers are not afraid of the water. They feel at ease with the water – they do not fight it. Excellent swimmers do not just stand on the bank of the river and look at it. They embrace the water and can’t seem to get enough of it. Fear of the river of God will keep a person from diving in and receiving all that God has for them.
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you”
James 4:8 NKJV
We must draw close to God and dive into His presence. We must immerse and saturate ourselves in Him.
Immerse : dip or lower into a liquid until covered by it; involve deeply; absorb.
Saturate : soak thoroughly; fill full
If we have a spiritual thirst for God we must be absorbed with Him and not ourselves or the world. Like Mary, we must soak in His presence when we come in contact with Him, and allow Him to fill us full.
II. We Must Be Selective Feeders In Meeting Our Nutritional Requirements
Deer do not eat just anything that comes along. They are very selective in what they eat. As a child of God we must be selective in what we feed ourselves (spiritually).
Selective : having the power to select
Select : picked as best; chosen specially; choice; superior; careful in choosing; particular.
We must choose the good and reject the bad. It has been said many times before that ,”You are what you eat.” It is true in the spiritual as well as the physical.
“I will set nothing wicked before my eyes…”
Psalm 101:3 NKJV
We must be careful what we set before our eyes. A person who consumes and focuses on the Word of God is healthy (full of light), however a person who consumes and focuses on the things of the world will become unhealthy (full of darkness).
“The lamp of the body is the eye, if therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light”
Matthew 6:22 NKJV
Our food must be of God and not of the world. It cannot be hypocrisy (fake). It has to be real.
“Then Jesus said to them, ‘Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees’ ”
Matthew 16:6 NKJV
Leaven is often used as a symbol of evil or sin. The doctrine of the Pharisees and the Sadducees was hypocrisy, legalism, opportunism and spiritual hardness. Just as deer have a high nutritional requirement, so do we, spiritually. We must be sure to get our nutritional requirements each day. We must have daily bread.
“And Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.’ ”
John 6:35 NKJV
We can’t live off yesterday’s food and water. We have physical daily nutritional requirements which must be met in order for us to maintain our health. Spiritually, we have nutritional requirements which must be met each day. We need to partake of the Word of God each and every day.
“But He said to them, ‘I have food to eat of which you do not know.’
Therefore the disciples said to one another, ‘Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?’
Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.’ ”
John 4:32-34 NKJV
Our food is not just knowing the will of God, but doing it. We must practice what the Word of God says – we must practice what we preach. Way too often people stop with just reading God’s Word rather than doing what it says.
III. We Must Use The Strength That God Gives Us
Deer are swift (move very fast; quick, rapid, prompt), agile (move with speed, ease and elegance; lively; nimble; mentally alert; quick), and surefooted (not liable to stumble, slip, or fall). They are both, graceful and beautiful.
“He makes my feet like the feet of deer,
And sets me on my high places.”
Psalm 18:33 NKJV
God will always give strength to those who trust in Him and live by faith. He will give them the confidence of a sure-footed deer climbing a mountain.
“The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet; And He will make me walk on my high hills.”
Habakkuk 3:19 NKJV
A thirst for water will cause you to search for it. God has end endless supply of living water for us in His presence. The question is, “Are we thirsty for what He has to offer?” ” Do we yearn and long for the presence of God ?”
Search : try to find by looking; seek; go over carefully in trying to find something; examine, especially for something concealed.
Diligent: hard-working; careful and steady.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”
Matthew 7:7-11 NKJV
People that thirst for the real thing, the manifest presence of God, will actively seek Him. They will seek God not for His hand (what He can do for them), but for a glimpse of His face (intimacy with Him).
“I love those who love me,
And those who seek me diligently will find me.”
Proverbs 8:17 NKJV