The book of Psalms is a beautiful collection of hymns, prayers, confessions, praises, laments, prophecies, and more. It is a book in which the writers willingly expose the nature and depth of their hearts, making it particularly relatable to our personal experiences. When we read these pages, we see that nearly every human emotion is felt, touched, and expressed to Yahweh. And yet, we also see that regardless of what underlying emotions are present, there seems to be a common desire throughout this entire collection: a desire to be in the presence of the Lord.
Psalm 16:11 “...In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
Psalm 51:11 “Cast me not away from your presence...”
Psalm 84:1 “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord...”
In the midst of joy, pain, sorrow, or fear, there was a consistent longing. The deepest desire of each writer was to simply be in the presence of the Lord - regardless of their circumstance or present emotion. The presence of the Lord was something to be cherished and their inmost being craved that intimacy.
Seeing this kind of passion led me to ask myself: How much do I really long to be in the presence of the Lord? What is the deepest desire of my heart? What does my soul yearn for?
If we were to honestly expose our deepest heart’s desire, I believe we would find that our longings mostly surround the things of this world, whether it be affirmation, material possessions, financial security, time, a normal routine, etc. Our passion and yearning to be in the presence of the Lord may not seem to match that of the Psalmists. So how do we get there?
Perhaps these writers so longed to be in the presence of the Lord because they truly believed His presence was a place of freedom and fulfillment. In His presence we can revel in an abundance of joy, hope, and peace. They knew God and trusted His character and His promises.
J.D. Walt once shared what I believe to be the key: “The more of God we know, the more of God we long for.” If our hearts aren’t crying out for the Lord, perhaps we don’t know God in the way He desires for us to know Him. Once we truly taste the goodness of God, the world will lose its flavor and the Lord’s presence is what we will begin to crave.
Church, let us be a people who seek to know God intimately. May our prayer resemble that of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 1:17, “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.” Let us not fall away into a dull faith being satisfied with anything less than Jesus. May our deepest heart’s desire always be to encounter the living God.