In the first four blogs of this series called “The Heart of a Worshipper” series, or HWS, we’ve looked at various definitions of worship. A predominate theme in each article is that worship transforms us – as we look into the face of an almighty God, we are changed. Yet there are attitudes of the heart that put us in the place of searching and submission that make us ready to see God and be transformed by Him. In the next several blogs of this series, we’re going to look at the qualities of the worshipping heart. May you be blessed and transformed as you grow in your own worship of the King of Kings.
A Hungry Heart – My Soul Yearns for You
Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts. My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you.
A worshipping heart is a heart that hungers and thirsts for God. It yearns for God. Regardless of how well we know God, the hungry heart longs to know Him more. You will find this attitude throughout Scripture.
Many of the hymns and worship songs we sing are based on the Psalms, and the Psalmists understood yearning for God. Come on, sing along with me…
“As the dear panteth for the water, so my soul longeth after You.”
That’s Psalm 42 written by the Sons of Korah. The Book of Psalms was essentially a hymnal, and the Sons of Korah were Levites who were temple singers. Let’s look at the passage:
1 As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
I love the end of verse 2: “When can I go and meet with God?” That’s the cry of the hungry heart. I’m reminded of the child who has been told that he’s going to a party on Saturday. Each day, he will ask his mother “Is it today, Mom? Can we go today? When can we go to the party?”
In the bustle of life, it’s easy for things to crowd God out. Pray that God would give you such a desire for Him that you cry out “When can I go and meet with God?”
Psalm 84 contains part of another song some of you may know:
My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
Then there’s Psalm 73. Your Bible probably describes it as “A Psalm of Asaph.” Asaph was another prominent group of temple singers. My Bible has been slightly altered to read “A Psalm of Sandy,” not because I wrote the Psalm, but because I adopted it as “my psalm.” The first time I read this psalm, many years ago, I jumped up and said “That’s me, that’s me.” It begins “Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” (v. 1-3) That describes my life before coming to Christ. But the psalm goes on and in verses 25 and 26 it describes how my desires have changed.
Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Verse 25 describes someone with a hungry heart, a heart longing for the Lord. The exciting thing is that when Psalm 73 became “Sandy’s Psalm” about thirty years ago only the first verses were true. It wasn’t until I went back and read it many years later that I realized that the entire psalm had become true in my life. God, in His goodness, has turned me into a worshipper of the Almighty.
God Makes us Hungry for Him
God works in us to transform our thought patterns and desires. Deuteronomy teaches us that God has wanted His people to hunger for Him since the very beginning. Moses is talking to the Israelites in this passage and says:
He [God] humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.
God desires that we be hungry for Him. This passage tells that God purposefully made the people of Israel physically hungry so that they would be reminded of their dependence on Him. God is using the physical condition of man to point to the spiritual condition. He longs for us to long for Him.
You might be reading this and thinking “That sounds great, but I’m just not there. The truth is that I don’t hunger for God. I go through my devotions from a sense of duty and sometimes I don’t even do that. I want to want more of God, but the truth is that I’m tired and my spiritual life is stale.”
Been there, done that! You are not alone. There can be many reasons for spiritual staleness, but let me encourage you in two things:
- Ask God to make you hungry for Him. Pray “Lord, make me hungry for You, today. Father, I give you permission to do whatever it takes to make me desire a closer relationship with You.” There can be no question that this prayer is in God’s will. He will answer it.
- Pursue God. Keep doing the things you should be doing. Make your devotions a priority. Don’t forget to pray. Trust God to restore you to your first love.
Next week we’ll look more at the concept of pursuing God. It’s the natural response of a hungry heart. In the meantime, ask God to increase your hunger for Him. You won’t be sorry you did!