My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips. (Psalm 63:5)
“O God, fall afresh on me. Awaken me. I need you.” This is the cry of a soul hungry for God.
This was David’s prayer as he was in the wilderness of Judah. David is a refugee, either from Saul or from his own son Absalom, and as he languishes, he writes a poem capturing his true hunger and thirst:
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. (Psalm 63:1)
Even in a land without water, the lack he fears most is a lack of his God. The thirst that makes his poem is not his physical thirst, nor is physical hunger his deepest hunger. His deepest alienation outside the walls of Jerusalem was not from his friends and family, his bed, his comforts, but from the sanctuary where the presence of God resided. He imagines a future return to the worship:
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
in your name I will lift up my hands. (Psalm 63:2–4)
David hungered for God. He needed a personal revival. And he knew how to seek it.
A Crucial Step to Spiritual Renewal
One of the most fatal things to do when our souls long for God is to sit passively, waiting for God to pursue us. Do not mistake me: all of the grace to seek him on our part is ultimately his pursuit of us. But we must act upon the grace given us.
The starving and dehydrated king, hungering for the presence of the Lord in the temple, makes this startling assertion: “My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips” (Psalm 63:5). How?
. . . when I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me. (Psalm 63:6–8)
Those who want refreshment in the Lord, like David, should imitate the means he employed: remembrance and meditation. He put away the iPhone at night, turned off the television, muted his worries and troubles, and remembered his God while he lay in his bed and actively meditated upon him throughout the night. He proved well what the prophet would later write: “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3).
Meet Him in the Sanctuary
But of course, our remembering and meditation is insufficient if unassisted by God. We can draw near to him, but he must also draw near to us. And he promises to do so when we seek him (James 4:8), like David, in his temple.
The physical temple in Jerusalem is no more. God’s presence has found a new temple: the church. God’s people are where the Spirit dwells, and our drooping and dry souls must go and behold him in the congregation of the righteous. Joining God’s people to sing, pray, confess, take the Lord’s Supper, and hear preaching rejuvenates our souls. Beholding God with God’s people makes the faintest say with confidence: “My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food.” The local church has storehouses for hungry souls (provided it is a healthy church).
But unthinkably, we also stand individually as singular temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). God dwells in his people to a man and woman. And so we can pray for fresh renewing of the Spirit wherever we are, singing,
Spirit of the living God, come fall afresh on me.
Come wake me from my sleep;
Blow through the caverns of my soul;
Pour in me to overflow,