My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips. (Psalm 63:5)
I confess that I have a weakness for fat and rich foods. Whether it’s a full English breakfast or a chocolate indulgence cake, I find such things hard to resist. But by far my favourite of all rich foods is the delicious range of Gü puds (and no, Gü are not sponsoring this Thought for the Week). They’re not cheap and are, therefore, only an occasional treat. But oh my, they are certainly very satisfying.
I find it intriguing that in Psalm 63, David draws on this metaphor of being satisfied by fat and rich foods. He’s using it to describe the outcome of his earnestly seeking after God, his soul thirsting for God and his flesh fainting for him in a dry and weary land where there is no water (verse 1). To me, it’s a risky comparison to make and if it were not in scripture, it could sound almost blasphemous. As if David is saying that when God shows up, I’ll feel like I’ve just eaten a Gü dessert!
Well, however unsettling the metaphor, it acts as a helpful reminder that we belong to the God who delights to satisfy. Sometimes I think Christians inadvertently give the impression that to desire is inherently sinful. But no, God made us with an inbuilt capacity to desire and appreciate. And, as David says elsewhere, our Creator “satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Psalm 103:5).
Our big problem, of course, is that since the fall we tend to look to anything or anyone rather than the one true and Living God to satisfy our desires. So we look to a spouse or to a close friend, perhaps, for our ultimate satisfaction. Or we seek satisfaction in having the perfect home, or the latest gadget, or that dream holiday, or the ultra high-definition surround sound home cinema package, or in the success of our football team, or in a whole host of other things or people. These things aren’t wrong in and of themselves. But if we expect them to satisfy us at that deep heart level, we will inevitably be disappointed.
Now it’s important to remember that we belong to the God who “… richly provides us with everything to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17). So we’re not to feel guilty or beat ourselves up whenever we do enjoy good things. But if you look at the context of that half verse in 1 Timothy, you’ll see that it’s actually part of a warning. Timothy is to “command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.”
The lesson, surely, is this. Only God himself – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – can truly satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts. So yes, let’s enjoy the good things that he richly provides for us. But let’s not put our trust and hope in them as a means of ultimate satisfaction. Rather let’s earnestly seek after, thirst after and long for the Lord himself, the Shepherd and Overseer and ultimate satisfier of our souls.