12. Chapter Twelve

A Passion for God

“The worth and excellency of a soul is to be measured by the object of its love.” Do you remember that quote from the chapter on “The Pleasure of God”? When Henry Scougal wrote this he meant that you could tell the quality of someone’s character by what gives that person pleasure and delight. We have learned that God’s soul must be very excellent because He delights in His people.

But what about the worth and excellency of our souls? What is the all consuming desire and passion of our hearts? Are we as passionately in love with God as He is with us? King David was.

The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked came against me To eat up my flesh, My enemies and foes, They stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me, My heart shall not fear; Though war may rise against me, In this I will be confident. One thing I have desired of the LORD, That I will seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD, And to inquire in His temple. (Psalm 27:1-4)

This song of David is a bold expression of faith in God. In the midst of troubles, David confidently trusts in God. In persecution, he praises God. In the midst of war, he worships God because God is his strength and salvation. But the power and beauty of this song is that David wants God Himself more than the deliverance that comes from God. He wants to “behold the beauty of the LORD.” He longs to be in the presence of God because there he finds joy. Many of the writers of the Psalms express this hunger and love for God. Once you understand how holy, good, righteous, powerful, just, kind and loving God is, you want Him more and more.

As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God When shall I come and appear before God? (Psalm 42:1, 2)

What magnificent imagery! Just like a hunted deer with its throat dry, its mouth sticky, its heart pounding, running from the hunter, and longing to drink by the peaceful brook, so the Psalmist desires God. The Psalmist knows that there is hope in God and joy in the presence of God. Do we long to be in God’s presence? Do we find fullness of joy and pleasure in worshipping God?

So very often we look for pleasure and joy in the things of the world. These believers found their soul’s satisfaction in God. They were passionate about Him. No other person or object was as satisfying. No matter how the world enticed them, they knew they had more than enough in God.

Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:25, 26)

Look at the depth of passion for God! Asaph, the Psalmist, says there is no one in heaven or earth that he desires more than God. The Hebrew word translated “desire” means to find great delight and pleasure in someone or something. The Psalmist found his delight and pleasure in God.

The goal of knowing our awesome God must not be to just get things from Him. The goal of understanding God must not be academic. We learn about God not to inflate our heads but to ignite our hearts. We want our hearts to be on fire with a passionate love for God.

O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips. When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches. Because You have been my help, Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me. (Psalm 63:1-8)

Hopefully there will come a time in our lives when we are as passionate as David was about God. My prayer is that we will realize that true joy and delight is found in loving God. David sought for God early in the morning. And he thought about Him late at night. Do we do this? Do we seek for time and make time to be with God through prayer and the reading of His Word?

At the time that this Psalm was written, David was living in the wilderness because King Saul was hunting him down to kill him. There were pressing demands upon David’s life. But David discovered that when he worshipped God, when he spent time with God, his heart was abundantly satisfied. If we are restless in life, perhaps we have not yet found our delight in God alone. God has made us for Himself and our hearts will be restless until we find our rest in Him.

Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)

We need to delight ourselves in God. We need to seek pleasure in Him. We must express our thanks and praise and love to Him, for our own good, as well as for His glory. All of us begin the Christian life with a passion for God. Our hearts are full of love and gratitude for all of His grace and mercy. But somewhere along the way our devotion cools. The reason for this is that we have, for some reason, transferred our affection from God to something else. Perhaps we have gone through a hard time of trouble where we could not see the hand of God.

Perhaps we have been hurt by someone but we took it out on God. Perhaps we have learned to love playing church, rather than being truly devoted to God. When these things occur, how do we rekindle our love and passion for God?

If I were counseling a married couple whose love for one another had cooled, I would suggest the following. First, repent of your lack of interest in your spouse and ask for forgiveness. Most of the time, we lose interest in another person because we have become self-absorbed. Secondly, seek time and make time to be with your spouse. Praise your spouse. Seek to please the other person. And then watch for the miracle to happen in your heart. If our love for God has cooled, we need to do these same things to restore our passion. We must repent of our lack of interest, and we must make time to be with God in prayer and worship.

Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works! Glory in His holy name; Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the LORD! Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face evermore! Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders, and judgments of His mouth . . .Praise the LORD! (Psalm 105:1-5, 45b)

Our God is an awesome God! When we seek Him, when we desire Him, when we give our all to Him without reservation, we receive back more that we could ever imagine. Our chief and highest calling is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever. May you be changed for the better, forever, in your knowledge of and relationship with the one true God.