We’re a needy people, aren’t we? I know it sounds kinda awful to put it that way. But we have needs! We’re needy people. Not that it’s a bad thing... it’s actually the way God created us!
We need to love, and be loved. We need simple things. Everyday things like... air, and food, and clothes. We need shelter, and work (we need to be productive). We need to belong. We need fellowship as well as solitude on occasion. We need regular rest and restoration - we need the Sabbath. We could talk about the things we need all day long, and well into the night!
But our greatest need, by far, is God! It’s been said there’s a “God shaped void” in every person... and unless that void is filled by God... we’ll never find contentment. And I believe that!
We were created for God, by God! The Westminster Shorter Catechism (that many a child had to memorize before their confirmation) asks, in question one, “What is the chief end of man?” The answer? “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever!” We were created by God, for God... to glorify and enjoy Him forever!
And the God we’re called to “glorify and enjoy” knows our needs... he knows our deepest desires, our highest joys, and our sharpest pain. He knows we thirst.
Jesus even said in the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.”
The Psalmist (from our Lesson for today) put it like this: “As the deer pants (or longs) for water, so my soul pants (or longs) for God...” The longing, the thirsting, represents our need, right?
We need more than the simple things of life, more than food and clothing and whatever...
The fact of the matter is: We need God. All of God! The Father, Son and Spirit! Our Creator, our Savior, our Helper.
One of the defining marks of the Elect (of God’s Children) is the recognition of our need for God. We know our need for God, as much as we know our need of food or water. Like the Psalmist says, our souls “thirsts” for the living God. We long for our Redeemer... our Savior... our Comforter. And our Hope.
As God’s Children, we recognize, and acknowledge that our hope doesn’t come from material things. Our hope’s not found in the perfect career, the dream home, or the big bank account... or a thousand other things of this world, that can all be lost faster than they were ever found!
When we put our hope in the world and what it provides, we’re ultimately hoping in ourselves, and trusting in our ability. And whether we mean it that way, or not... by doing so, we’re essentially saying to God, “I don’t need you, I can do it on my own.”
The Elect know that our hope in God is different from any hope in ourselves, or in this world. It’s grounded in His truth and faithfulness to us.
This kind of hope is a concrete confidence in God’s ability to make His will for our life happen.
In other words, our hope in God is more than some wishful longing... it’s more than dropping $10 on lottery tickets and making a wish that we draw the lucky numbers - while all the while NOT actually believing we’ll win!
Our hope in God is an assurance... a guarantee that the promises of God are true... and that our lives, today, tomorrow, and for eternity... are secure in His provision.
Like the Psalmist – even through our tears and grief, we long for, and cling to our hopeful assurance. Despite the world and its condition... despite our personal life, and its condition... we innately know that God is our only and best hope.
That's why we cry out to our Savior. It’s why, even today, the best thing we can ever do is pray! We cry out to God in our downcast state, when our lives and souls are most disturbed... instead of running away from God... instead of claiming that faith is a crutch for the weak minded... instead of falling into the worldly trap of self-reliance and willful fortitude... we thirst for the living waters, for the only source that can quench our parched lives and revive our depressed spirits.
But we’re still human. And like the Psalmist... we sometime have to preach to ourselves – to remind ourselves of our hope. “Why my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?” Then we remember, “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.”
So, we, as the Children of God, do what comes naturally to us. We put our hope in God, for despite what we so often see and hear and feel... we’re assured His presence, His comfort, His healing. And the faithfulness of God fills our longings, He quenches our deepest thirst.
“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”
For that’s what a “needy people” truly need. Amen.