We are on our way to a city where the Lord is all in all. He is the water, the food, the clothing, the heat, the light and shield.
A lady made a covenant with God not to have sex until she was married. But then she discovered after marriage at 30 that she was sexually incompatible with her husband. Sex with him was excruciatingly painful. How could God reward her righteousness like this? If she had slept with her husband before marriage, she would not have married him.
She found my defense of God unsatisfactory. I told her God was jealous for her. While she rightly defined her virtue by her sexual abstinence, God wanted it defined by her love for him. God does not guarantee the believer’s sexual fulfillment in marriage; God guarantees our fulfillment in his love. God’s love never disappoints. It is constant no matter our circumstances. It remains; whether our marriage is good or bad.
Therefore, when we rightly decide not to have sex until we get married; when we get married God is likely to make us wonder what all the big deal is about sex. It is all one big conspiracy to teach us that God and only God is the big deal. No matter what the world says; sex is not a big deal at all.
World of disappointment
Think back to five years ago: can you remember one thing you really desired? What was that one thing you were expecting God to do for you? What happened after it finally came to pass? Was it as earth-shattering as you were led to believe? Looking back now, was it worth the wait and the expectation? You longed to buy a car and after some time finally managed to get one. Then what? You feel elated on getting a car. But the feeling does not last. After a while, you realise that a car is not that big a deal.
Have you ever been to a wedding where they served everybody but you? Everybody was eating and drinking except you. You felt left out and became irritated. Finally, the waiters brought your meal. Then when you start eating, you ask yourself: “Was it worth the wait? What exactly was so special about this meal? Should I have been so het up because they took so long to serve me? What if they did not: would I have missed anything?”
The disciples came back late from the market; convinced Jesus must have been starving. However, they found him talking to a woman by Jacob’s well. Is he not famished already? “No!” says Jesus: “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” (John 4:34).
Why are things very valuable when we don’t have them, but once we acquire them, they start losing their value? Your car is five years old. Can you remember how excited you were when you bought it? Now all you want to do is replace it. Things lose their value because they can never satisfy. The soul is the seat of satisfaction. There is a longing in us and it is a longing of the soul. That longing cannot be satisfied by earthly things.
The wise man says: “A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul.” (Proverbs 13:19). Note that for the longing to be fulfilled, it must be sweet to the soul. However, the purchase of a car cannot be sweet to the soul. The soul is the eternal part of a man. However, the things of this world are not eternal.
John says: “Everything in the world- the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does- comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:16-17).
Nevertheless, there is a way whereby we can eat our meal and be satisfied with it. There is a way for marrying a spouse that leads to fulfillment. There is a way whereby we can accomplish something in this world and nevertheless be truly content. That way is for us to hunger and thirst after righteousness.
When we hunger and thirst after righteousness, God will ensure that we enjoy our plate of rice. He will ensure we enjoy our marriage. He will ensure we enjoy our children and are fulfilled in the house we build. The psalmist says: “Delight yourself also in the LORD, and he shall give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4-5).
Hunger for God
Righteousness is a person and not just a way of life. When we hunger and thirst after righteousness, it means we hunger and thirst after somebody. That person is Jesus because Jesus is our righteousness. Jeremiah tells us one of the names by which the Lord shall be called is: “The LORD our righteousness.” (Jeremiah 33:16). When we truly have the Lord, he satisfies the longing of the soul. Jesus says: “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).
The psalmist says: “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. When shall I come and appear before God?” (Psalm 42:1-2). “O God, you are my God; early will I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh longs for you in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.” (Psalm 63:1).
This feeling is not limited to the psalmist: it is in every human-being. There is a yearning of the soul for God. The deceitfulness of the world and of the flesh tends to re-channel this to vanity. A man desires a woman, or a job, or honour, expecting to be fulfilled when he gets it. A woman desires a child, a husband, a home, expecting to be fulfilled when she realises it. It is all a lie of the devil. It will never fulfil. It will never satisfy the yearning of the soul.
Only God can fill that void. Only God can fill that vacuum. If you hunger and thirst after God, you will be filled and fulfilled. The psalmist says: “Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! For he satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.” (Psalm 107:8-9).
We are on our way to a city where the Lord is all in all. He is the water, the food, the clothing, the heat, the light and shield. Therefore, prepare the way for the Lord. Make his paths straight.
What are those things hindering the move of God in your life? Get rid of them. What is that preoccupation which takes so much of your thought life? Relinquish it. What is that television program that short-circuits your devotion? Give it up.
“Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his face evermore!” (Psalm 105:4). Seek him for who he is. Seek him for righteousness sake. “The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.” (Psalm 34:10).