Rev. Dr. Ronald M. Braxton, Senior Pastor, Metropolitan AME Church
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Scripture Lesson: Psalm 63: 1-9. A psalm of David. When he was in the Desert of Judah. 1 O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. 2I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. 3Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. 4I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. 5My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. 6 On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. 7 Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.9 They who seek my life will be destroyed; they will go down to the depths of the earth.
The Commentary on the scripture provides the background in which David, a young lad before he was king, had become a great warrior in Saul’s court. King Saul was jealous about David being a better warrior than he was. His mind was playing tricks on him – stable one minute, in a rage the next; he kept trying to kill David – he even sent an army after him. He seemed to be suffering from bipolar disorder, or maybe he was dealing with the early onset of Alzheimer’s. In any event, David fled into the desert to escape King Saul’s wrath. There, he moved from place to place. He needed food, shelter, water; he was afraid for his life; he was dehydrated and hungry. In the scripture, David is recalling what this experience in the desert was like. He equates his hunger and thirst to a hunger and thirst for GOD.
Brothers and Sisters, we are living in a big world – big accomplishments, big portfolios, big master bedrooms, big screen TVs, big appetites, March Madness, the SUPERbowl, MEGAmillions – not just the lottery: POWERBALL. We live in a robust, big-craving society. We measure our churches by the size of the building, the choir, the membership, the usher board, the pastoral staff. We don’t talk about country churches anymore. The only thing that matters is the MEGA-church, not the size of our ministry. The scripture provides insight on how the presence of God in your life can more than satisfy your hunger and thirst.
1. Only the presence of God in your life can satisfy your hunger and thirst. I submit that our quest for the “big” things is actually a craving for a BIGGER GOD. We are vulnerable creatures, always searching. Ours is a “bipolar” world – sunshine one day, blizzard, earthquake, tsunami-type waves the next . Exercising every day – then your heart stops. At a point, in the midst of all this craving for BIG things, the only thing that will matter is a God who is accessible.
In verse 5, the Psalmist says his soul will only be satisfied with the richest food – such as a prime rib so tender you don’t need a knife. Only God can satisfy your craving for such things. What would your world be like if you just hungered and thirsted for the presence of God in your life? “Blessed are you when you hunger and thirst for God,” for only He can satisfy your craving.
2. God not only satisfies your big hunger and thirst, but when you seek Him, He provides more than you can ask for. The Psalmist found himself drinking the glory of the generosity of a living God. I thought I was living big, but I’m really living now. We don’t know joy until God shows up in our lives. We don’t know joy in our lives until we can declare “He walks with me and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own.”
If you take the first step outside your door, God walks with you the whole way. He has already gone ahead and will be where you are trying to get to. Psalm 23: “He prepares a table for me in the presence of my enemies…my cup overflows.” When God shows up in my life, my cup runs over. When God is present, I can reach up through this wilderness and praise Him.
When God is present in your life, it’s time to show praise, to bring forth refreshment, to CELEBRATE. Because He has always stood up for me, I’m not going to wait for the doctor’s report, for Congress to pass a healthcare bill, for the renovations to be complete; I’m going to show praises while the scaffolding is still up, while the floors are still being worked on! After all I’ve been through – after I’ve been “sometimes up, sometimes down, sometimes level to the ground” – when I look back over my life and see how good God has been to me, I know it’s time to shout!