Psalm 42:1-2 NASB - "As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God?”
As mortal creatures God has given us certain appetites; desires and cravings that demand being fulfilled. The man who hasn’t had a meal for several days has all of his attention fixed upon finding food. In the wilderness temptation, Satan used the hunger of Jesus in his effort to derail His work as our Redeemer—”If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread” (Matt.4:3).
In Psalm 42 the picture is of a deer who has come to a familiar stream to drink only to find that it has dried up. As his thirst continues to increase he frantically searches for water. With his mouth dry and throat parched, the poor animal begins panting, longing to have his thirst satisfied.
The nature of our earthly appetites is when they are deprived of being satisfied they continue to increase. When you are hungry your appetite continues to increase until you partake of a meal.
As Christians, we have spiritual appetites; longings for the graces that draw us nearer to our Savior. We savor sweet times of prayer and hunger for the meat of God’s Word. Peter writes: “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that you may grow in respect to salvation” (1 Peter 2:1). We find our soul satisfied when we partake of a soul-nourishing meal.
Our spiritual appetites are quite opposite from our physical appetites, however. In the physical realm, when we are deprived of food we become more hungry. The longer we go without food the more our hunger increases. When we finally eat our appetite is assuaged. In the spiritual realm, when we deprive ourselves of the Word of God and prayer our desire for them will actually begin to decrease. We become spiritually dull and weakened in our spiritual life. We become easy prey to the attacks of the evil one. On the other hand, when we partake of a consistent diet of spiritual food and maintain a healthy devotional life our hunger for Christ increases.
Do you find your spiritual appetites continually increasing? Do you savor the time you spend reading, studying, and meditating upon the Word of God? Or has your neglect only caused your appetite to decrease? The good news is our gracious Savior is always ready to draw us back to Him. He is the true Bread of Life through whom our souls are richly satisfied. “He has satisfied the thirsty soul, And the hungry soul He has filled with what is good” (Psalm 107:9).