Are you hungry or thirsty?

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Devotional Word for Monday, April 20, 2020

Ho! Ho! Ho! Nope, it’s not Christmas time. Those are the words in the middle of a Scripture chorus Pat and I sang in our devotions today. The song is from the opening verses of Isaiah 55. It goes like this: Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; he that hath no money, come ye buy and eat. Wherefore, do you spend your money, for that which is not bread; and your labor for that which satisfieth not? Ho, Ho, Ho. Ho, everyone that thirsteth . . . [Isaiah 55:1-2] So, you get the idea, I hope. That’s from the King James version, by the way.

Let’s consider the elements of that chorus, that piece of Scripture. It has some wonderful truths in it about the Christian life. We’ll look at three of them very briefly.

First, this message is for thirsty people! So, what does the text mean by thirsty? It means folk who have a longing for God. Not all people who have a longing for God know that is what they’re longing for. Others do know that God is that for which they seek. All of us have that deep longing Ecclesiastes 3:11 speaks of: He [God] has also set eternity in their [humanity’s] heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end. Oswald Chambers always said this was a longing that was like the longing for the sea, something you really couldn’t put your finger on, but which arises in the soul with deep persistence, an ache that is sweet and strong. It’s really a longing for fellowship with God. Christians have that ache! We thirst for fellowship with God.

Second, the text makes clear that we humans do not have the resources to satisfy that ache, that thirst, that hunger. The question is raised, Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread? Great question, isn’t it! The reason, of course, is that we think something other than bread – that is, the living Word of God – can satisfy our ache, our hunger. The text also points out how we will work hard at doing things that we think will satisfy us, but we end up disappointed because our labor satisfieth not. From this we know that an essential component of the Christian life is awareness that we’re needy and dependent people. We don’t possess – and cannot purchase – what is required to bring us satisfaction. We’re all Mick Jaggers in that sense! We can’t get no satisfaction, on our own.

Third, the text is a powerful and tender invitation to receive the Gospel. It excludes no one: Ho! Everyone! Anyone who is thirsty is invited to come and receive. It doesn’t matter how much money you have or that you have no money at all. Why? Because the currency needed for this transaction is not of human origin. It is the currency that’s only issued by the Holy Spirit. If you’re a Christian, it’s because of the wonderful and powerful work of the Holy Spirit. And so, we can give thanks with grateful hearts. We testify to the truth of Psalm 34:8 which says, O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. 

Isn’t this a great and simple truth, as true today as in the day of Isaiah: we’re hungry and thirsty, but God has all the food and drink we need. We’re talking about food and drink for our souls, that which is true food indeed, which builds up to everlasting life. Jesus gives a summary of this in one of the Beatitudes: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 

Today, let’s thank God for these three things: 1) That we’re thirsty; 2) That we don’t have the means to quench our thirst ourselves; and 3) That the Holy Spirit comes to us and brings true food and true drink that satisfies the longing of our souls.

Let us pray. Gracious God, thank You for Your work in our lives. Thank You for putting eternity in our hearts, a longing for You. We hear and receive Your invitation today. We come to taste and see of Your goodness. Feed us and give us strength to live for You today, and the joy of having fellowship with You. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.