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The Thirsty Deer

My Heart Longs for You O God

Devotional#8: 12 February 2017
"Quenched by the Living Water!"

Imagine a deer running wildly through an empty field… The deer is being chased by a pair of hungry wild dogs, and the ongoing chase is beginning to exhaust the frightened deer. 

Observing some rising wooded terrain ahead in the distance, the deer expends its last remaining bit of energy bounding aggressively in the direction of the elevated refuge. After several intense moments in an all-out, life-or-death flight, the deer successfully eludes the would-be killers in a densely secluded hilltop glade.

After a few hours of patient near-silence, trying not to make the slightest move, the deer’s heart leaps with joy when it sees the frustrated dogs leaving the woods together; having failed in their hungry search.

As the deer’s adrenaline levels begin to drop slowly, it
begins to notice how thirsty the heart pounding-race and heavy-breathing have left him.

With this picture in your mind, consider the following passage:

"As a deer pants for flowing streams, 
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?"



Most of us have been exhausted and thirsty from time to time, but in our modern culture of materialistic abundance, it might be difficult for most to understand the Psalmist’s full meaning. So few of us can imagine real bone-dried physical thirst. Thus the word picture…

Soul's Longing 

The Psalmist is trying to help us understand the excruciating longing of his soul’s intense passion and desire to be bathed in the warm eternal presence of our great God.

Psalm 27 is similar:

One thing have I asked of the LORD,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to inquire in his temple.


The Bible makes it clear that it is in the nature of a Christian to seek after a deeper closeness with God.

So… is Devine fellowship really worth a lifetime of intense longing, and will this yearning ever be satisfied?

When John was imprisoned on the isle of Patmos, he had a vision of that very fellowship. He describes his experience this way: 

"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”


Clearly, the Psalmist’s longing for fellowship with God is well warranted. An eternity in God's presence sounds pretty good. But is it obtainable? What do we have to do to actually get there?

Good and Faithful or Never Known? 

Even lukewarm Christians know that one day, we will stand in God's presence and he will either say: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master."


Or he will say: "I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness."


Gulp! 

What is the difference? How do I ensure that I am a good and faithful servant, admitted, and not an unknown stranger who must depart?
In short, YOU don't!

By Faith Alone 

Consider: "For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin."


And: "The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them..."


So how may we obtain eternal life with God?

Here's what John says:

"God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life... you who believe in the name of the Son of God... may know that you have eternal life."


So we can't earn earn eternal life by works, it must be by belief. Well then, if we can't understand or accept the things of the Spirit of God, then how do we have faith?

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."


Quenched by the Living Water 

Our faith... the Bible says, it is a gift of God. He gives us an unearned gift despite our repeated failure. That's his merciful grace. By it, and by it alone, our soul's thirst may be quenched. This gift is beyond our ability to comprehend.

The Bible says it this way:

"Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways."


Next time you see a deer, why don't you ask your family to think about its thirst for water. You can compare the deer's thirst to a Christian's longing for God. You might also use that as an opportunity to think about how God's love and grace are an incredible gift, uniquely able to satisfy our eternal thirst; a the living water by which we "will never be thirsty again." Christ is the sole Provider of the water which is "a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” ( John 4:14 ).

Blessings,

The Humble Ant

P.S. Special thanks to Hope for the Thirsty Deer illustration! She'll be allowed to designate a Christian charity that will receive a portion of the proceeds (if any) of any future book that may include her artwork. If you're interested in having your artwork featured in a future devotional and/or book email us , we'd love your partnership.
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