Thursday, March 20, 2014

Come to the Water

Why are there so many books out there about prayer?  Likely, because if they were honest with themselves, many people would say that their prayer lives aren't very satisfying.  As a result, they are always looking for the new thing--the latest technique in prayer that will quickly get them closer to God.  There seems to be a hunger and a thirst for God, yet a reluctance to drink from the fountain of living water that Jesus offers.

Isaiah 55.1-2 invites to the table all who are hungry and thirsty for more of God.

“Come, everyone who thirsts,
    come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
    and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
    and delight yourselves in rich food.

The Lord makes Himself available to everybody who will come to dine with Him.  In John 6.35, Jesus said, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst."  Jesus tells the Samaritan woman at the well, "Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life (John 4.14).”

Unfortunately, we spend too much of our time reading books about prayer, and not enough time actually praying.  We spend our money on prayer rugs, prayer shawls, prayer-blessed handkerchiefs, anointing oil, incense sticks, candles, and the like, but we don't invest ourselves in Jesus.  Isaiah 55.3a gives us a simple way to pray, that doesn't require any paraphernalia or books to explain it.

Incline your ear, and come to me;
    hear, that your soul may live;

Yes--praying is about listening to God.  When we pray, we often use far too many words, turning our prayers into a grocery list of things we want.  But God's Word adjures us to incline our ears to God, and listen to Him, so that our souls may live.  The result of our listening is that God will make covenants with us.  Verses 3b-5 say:

and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
    my steadfast, sure love for David.
Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples,
    a leader and commander for the peoples.
Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know,
    and a nation that did not know you shall run to you,
because of the Lord your God, and of the Holy One of Israel,
    for he has glorified you.

How do you suppose it was that God made covenants with people like Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David?  Was it because they talked to Him so much--or was it because they listened?  God promises that our spiritual hunger and thirst will be satisfied, not when we give Him our words as if He needed them, but when we receive His Word--because that's what we really need.  Jesus said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled (Matthew 5.6)."  It makes sense that filling doesn't come when we give God our thoughts and words, but it comes when we give God our listening ears--when we incline our hearts and our ears toward His Spirit.  

Are you hungry and thirsty for God?  He invites you to His table.  He wants you to eat, drink, and receive.  Will you take the time to listen to Him today?

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