I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done. I spread out my hands to you; I thirst for you like a parched land. (Psalm 143:5-6)
Still Thirsty (after all these years)
I was just reading today that men over the age of 50 should be drinking about 2.5 liters of water per day. I’m certainly falling short of the mark! Women of the same age should be consuming about 2.0 liters per day. And actually, those are the same recommendations for younger adults. The problem for us old folks, however, is that as we age our body’s thirst sensation reduces, and it continues to diminish the older we get. Sometimes we just don’t feel that thirsty. But research shows that as our physical activity goes down with age, our physiological need for water keeps rising in an almost exact proportion.
In other words, even if you don’t feel very thirsty, you’ve got to keep drinking that life-giving water!
In Psalm 143, David is once again imploring God for help. (This guy is a prayer warrior!) “Lord, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief” (vs. 1). His enemies are pursuing him relentlessly (vs. 3) and David is growing weary of the ordeal (vs. 4). In his dismay, he begins to wonder if his “people problems” are actually “God problems.” Is God punishing him somehow in this? “Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you” (vs. 2). David knows he might be deserving of God’s wrath, but he still pleads for mercy to triumph over judgment.
David has pretty good reason to believe that the Lord will answer his cry for help. God has been faithful and merciful before. As Old Testament scholar Tremper Longman puts it, “The psalmist looks to the past to find confidence to live in a troubled present and to engender hope for the future.” David “remembers” God’s history with his people; he “meditates” on God’s actions on their behalf; he “spreads out” his hands in humble worship; and he acknowledges his deep thirst (vs. 5-6). His prayer is a prayer of faith—confident of what he hopes for and sure of what he does not see (Hebrews 11:1).
And so, in this confident hope David asks the Lord to answer him, to show him the way, to rescue him and teach him and protect him (vs. 7-12). David may be old and tired, but he still needs to keep drinking that life-giving water only God can give. “I thirst for you like a parched land” (vs. 6).
Sometimes we need to get to the end of our rope to realize that it leads to another refreshing bucket of Living Water; sometimes we need to “look to the past to find confidence to live in a troubled present and to engender hope for the future;” sometimes we need be reminded that if we spread out our hands and open our hearts we can receive God’s mercy and rest in God’s grace. We need to remember that if God’s got us, he isn’t out to get us!
Our people problems are real, and so are our God problems! As David realized, no one is righteous before our Holy God, and our need for mercy and grace and deliverance is something only He can deliver on. Fortunately for us, He DID deliver! Paul tell us that through faith in Jesus Christ we can be justified—made right with God (Romans 3:10, 22-24; Galatians 2:16). God is faithful and gracious enough to make things right with Him AND with the world we live in!
You may be young and energetic, or you may be old and tired; you might feel as thirsty as a desert or be completely unaware of how parched you really are right now. Regardless of how you feel at this moment, you continue to need huge amounts of the Living Water—his protection, provision and presence–and you probably need it more than you even know. So don’t despair. Keep drinking from that Well, and always stay thirsty my friends!
SONG: Holy Water
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