My soul thirsts for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?
Taken in its original sense, the words of our text apply only to that strange phenomenon which we call religious depression. But I venture to take them in a wider sense than that. It is not only Christian men who are east down, whoso souls "thirst for God." It is not only men upon earth whose souls thirst for God. All men, everywhere, may take this text for theirs.
I. There is in every man AN UNCONSCIOUS AND UNSATISFIED LONGING AFTER GOD, AND THAT IS THE STATE OF NATURE. Experience is the test of that principle. And the most superficial examination of the facts of daily life, as well as the questioning of our own souls, will tell us that this is the leading feature of them — a state of unrest.
II. There is A CONSCIOUS LONGING, IMPERFECT, BUT ANSWERED; AND THAT IS THE STATE OF GRACE — the beginning of religion in a man's soul. If it be true that there are, as part of the universal human experience, however overlaid and stifled, these necessities, the very existence of the necessities affords a presumption, before all evidence, that, somehow and somewhere, they shall be supplied. If I, made by God who knew what He was doing when He made me, am formed with these deep necessities, with these passionate longings, — then it cannot but be that it is intended that they should be to me a means of leading me to Him, and that there they should be satisfied.
III. There is a PERFECT LONGING PERFECTLY SATISFIED; AND THAT IS HEAVEN. We shall not there be independent, of course, of constant supplies from the great central Fulness, any more than we are here. Thirst, as longing, is eternal; thirst, as aspiration after God, is the glory of heaven; thirst, as desire for more of Him, is the very condition of the celestial world, and the element of all its blessedness. Let me put two sayings of Scripture side by side, "My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God" — "Father Abraham, send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue." There be two thirsts, one, the longing for God, which, satisfied, is heaven; one, the longing for cessation of the self-lit fires, and for one drop of the lost delights of earth to cool the thirsty throat, which, unsatisfied, is hell.
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?