Water for the Thirsty
Weekly Devotional

Water for the Thirsty

A Joyful End

Weekly Devotional

‘As the deer pants for streams of water so my soul pants for you, O God’. (Psalm 42:1)
‘…Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink”…’ (John 7:37)

Much of Psalm 84 basks in the sheer privilege and delight of abiding in the presence of God:

‘How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD…’ (Psalm 84:1-2)
To have a place “near your altar” is to have a home, in exactly the same way that a sparrow finds a home or builds a nest (V.3).

The Psalmist goes on to say,

‘Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you…’ (V.4).

Our permanent home with the Lord seems to contrasted with the temporary dwelling of the wicked in verse 10,

‘Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked’

But what about the last two verses of this psalm?

‘For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. O LORD Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you’. (V.11-12).

Don’t they go over the top, promising too much? The psalmist insists that God withholds “no good thing” from those whose walk is blameless. Well, since we all sin, I suppose there is an escape clause: who is blameless? Isn’t it obvious that God withholds lots of good things from lots of people whose walk is about as blameless as walks can get this side of the new heaven and the new earth?

Consider Eric Liddell, the famous Scottish Olympian celebrated in the film Chariots of Fire.

Liddell became a missionary in China. For ten years he taught in a school, and then went farther inland to do frontline evangelism. The work was not only challenging but dangerous, not the least because the Japanese were making increasing inroads.

Eventually he was interned with many other Westerners. In the squalid camp, Liddell was a shining light of service and good cheer, a guide for the many children there who had not seen their parents for years, a self-sacrificing leader. But a few months before they were released, Liddell died of a brain tumour. He was forty-three. In this life he never saw the youngest of his three daughters: his wife and children had returned to Canada before the Japanese sweep that rounded up the foreigners. Didn’t the Lord withhold from him a long life, years of fruitful service, the joy of rearing his own children?

Perhaps the best response lies in Liddell’s favourite hymn:

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to Thy God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be for ever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

(‘Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side’ by Katharina Amalia Dorothea von Schlegal)

We will dwell in God’s house forever, where He will withhold no good thing from His people – And that will certainly be a joyful end.

Have a good week being still and patiently waiting on our Lord.

Pastor Barry

6th September 2009

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