Mike McElroy

When was the last time you earnestly searched for something or someone? I lost a wallet once that I never did find, but it was not for lack of earnest seeking. You may know what it’s like to lose your keys or your money, or maybe a beloved pet. I hope you don’t know what it is like to have a child or other family member missing. Oh, how we would diligently search for a missing loved one!

David was in the wilderness and he was earnestly seeking God. It wasn’t that he thought God was lost in the wilderness. He remembered a previous close encounter with the Lord’s glory and power back in the sanctuary. David longed to find and experience that sense of closeness again. He employed the metaphor of thirst that he used back in Psalm 42 to illustrate the sharp need and desperation he felt to get to God.

David addressed God in deep reverence: “O God,” struck with awe by the person and might of Almighty God. He used another of God’s names to call on him as “my God,” on a personal, relational level. The intensity of his desire to clearly see God’s power and glory again is like an unquenched thirst.

I suspect many of our spiritual struggles and problems would be solved if we saw God’s power and glory with greater clarity. Wouldn’t our fascination and preoccupation with the world be diminished if we could see him more clearly every day? Wouldn’t looking on the power and glory of God recharge our energy and encourage us in times of trial? Temptation would be less appealing if we saw God’s glory and power with greater clarity. We would be humbled instead of prideful if we could get a glimpse of God’s power and glory, then compare ourselves and realize how weak and broken we are. A clear vision of that power and glory would make us bold to face hardships and death itself, confident that nothing can hurt us because God is for us.

David wanted to see the power and glory of God again in the sanctuary. The temple had not yet been built; it would come during Solomon’s reign. But he remembered worshiping at the tabernacle, assembled with fellow worshipers. Couldn’t he see God in nature? Hadn’t David himself written. “The heavens declare the glory of God”? Couldn’t he find God out there? Of course. God does show his glory and power in the created world, even if many ignore it. But God’s power and glory are more clearly revealed in the assembly of his covenant people. Changed lives and rescued souls magnify the Lord in our songs and prayers. Preaching ought to lift up the Lord’s power and glory, and the Lord’s Supper should as well. Even our offering is a testimony to his greatness and an expression of our trust and commitment to him.

I hope no one reading (or writing) these lines would say, “I just don’t get that from going to church at all.” If that is happening in our lives, perhaps we should evaluate our own hearts. Are we coming hungry and desperate for God, as David did? It might be good to take an honest look at what we do as a church when we meet together, to ensure his power and glory are clearly set forth. If the church is doing a good job in proclaiming the glory of God, it may be that we’re not coming there seeking and thirsty. When the ones who come hungry find filling and satisfaction, the praise will flow naturally.