4. Longing

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 6
"He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness."—Psa. 107:99For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. (Psalm 107:9)
"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled" (Matt. 5:66Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. (Matthew 5:6)). Though thou hast not so much righteousness as thou wouldst, yet thou art blessed, because thou hungerest after it; desire is the best discovery of a Christian, actions may be counterfeit; a man may do a good action for a bad end. So did Jehu. Actions may be compulsory: a man may be forced to do that which is good, but not to will that which is good. These hungerings after righteousness proceed from love; a man doth not desire that which he doth not love; if thou didst not love Christ, thou couldst not hunger after Him.
The hypocrite doth not so much desire the way of righteousness as the crown of righteousness: his desire is not to be made like Christ, but to reign with Christ. This was Balsam's desire, "Let me die the death of the righteous" (Num. 23:1010Who can count the dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his! (Numbers 23:10)). This is the hypocrite's hunger; a child of God desires Christ for Himself. To a believer, not only heaven is precious, but Christ is precious (1 Peter 2:77Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, (1 Peter 2:7)).
Hypocrites' desires are but desires, they are lazy and sluggish. "The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labor" (Prov. 21:2525The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labor. (Proverbs 21:25)). But true desire is quickened into endeavor, "With my soul have I desired Thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek Thee early" (Isa. 26:99With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. (Isaiah 26:9)).
If we do not thirst here we shall thirst when it is too late; if we do not thirst as David did, "My soul thirsteth for God" (Psa. 42:22My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? (Psalm 42:2)), we shall thirst as Dives did for a drop of water.
"They shall be filled." God never bids us seek Him in vain. "He hath filled the hungry with good things" (Luke 1:5353He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. (Luke 1:53)). "He satisfieth the longing soul" (Psa. 107:99For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. (Psalm 107:9)). God will not let us lose our longing.
A man may hunger after the world and not be filled; the world is fading, not filling. A man may be filled and not satisfied. A sinner may take his fill of sin, but it is far from satisfaction, "The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways" (Prov. 14:1414The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself. (Proverbs 14:14)). This is such a filling as the damned in hell have, they shall be full of the fury of the Lord; but he that hungers after righteousness shall be satisfyingly filled. "My people shall be satisfied with My goodness" (Jer. 31:1414And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the Lord. (Jeremiah 31:14)).
God can fill the hungry soul. "With Thee is the fountain of life" (Psa. 36:99For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light. (Psalm 36:9)). The cistern may be empty and cannot fill us. But the fountain is filling. The fullness of God is an infinite fullness, it knows neither bounds nor bottom. It is a constant fullness, "Thou art the same" (Psa. 102:2727But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end. (Psalm 102:27)). God can never be exhausted, His fullness is overflowing and ever-flowing.
God fills the hungry soul out of His tender compassion. When the multitude had nothing to eat, Christ was moved with compassion. Let the hungry soul think this, though I am full of wants, yet my God is full of bowels.
God will fill the hungry that He may fulfill His word. "Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled" (Luke 6:2121Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. (Luke 6:21)). Hath the Lord spoken and shall it not come to pass? As "His compassions fail not" (Lam. 3:2222It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. (Lamentations 3:22)), so He will not suffer His "faithfulness to fail" (Psa. 89:3333Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. (Psalm 89:33)). If the hungry soul should not be filled, the promise should not be fulfilled.
God will fill the hungry because He Himself hath stirred up the hunger. As in case of prayer, when God prepares the heart to pray, He prepares His ear to hear (Psa. 10:1717Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear: (Psalm 10:17)). So in the case of spiritual hunger, when God prepares the heart to hunger, He will prepare His hand to fill.
There is no such thing as blind fate, but there is a Providence that guides and governs the world. "The lot is cast into the lap, but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD" (Prov. 16:3333The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord. (Proverbs 16:33)).... Providence is God's ordering all issues and events of things, after the counsel of His will, to His own glory.... The wheels in a clock seem to move contrary one to the other, but they help forward the motion of the clock, and make the alarum strike; so the providences of God seem to be cross wheels; but for all that they shall carry on the good of the elect.... God is not like an artificer that builds a house, and then leaves it, but like a pilot He steers the ship of the whole creation.
"The eye of the LORD is upon them that fear Him, upon them that hope in His mercy; to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine" (Psa. 33:18-1918Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; 19To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. (Psalm 33:18‑19)). God by His providential care shields off dangers from His people, and sets a lifeguard of angels about them (Psa. 34:77The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. (Psalm 34:7)). God's providence keeps the very bones of the saints (Psa. 34:2020He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken. (Psalm 34:20)). It bottles their tears (Psa. 56:88Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book? (Psalm 56:8)). It strengthens the saints in their weakness (Heb. 11:3434Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. (Hebrews 11:34)). It supplies all their wants out of its alms-basket (Psa. 23:55Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. (Psalm 23:5)). "Verily thou shalt be fed" (Psa. 37:33Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. (Psalm 37:3)). If God will give His people a kingdom when they die, He will not deny them daily bread while they live.
God, who bounds everything else, is Himself without bounds. He sets bounds to the sea; Huc usque'; "Hitherto shalt thou come, and no further"; He sets bounds to the angels; they, like the cherubims, move and stand at His appointment (Ezek. 10:1616And when the cherubims went, the wheels went by them: and when the cherubims lifted up their wings to mount up from the earth, the same wheels also turned not from beside them. (Ezekiel 10:16)), but He is infinite without bounds. He who can span the heavens, and weigh the earth in scales, must needs be infinite (Isa. 40:2222It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in: (Isaiah 40:22)). "Do not I fill heaven and earth?" (Jer. 23:2424Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord. (Jeremiah 23:24)). The humble heart is His throne, in regard to His gracious presence (Isa. 57:1515For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. (Isaiah 57:15)); and heaven is His throne, in regard to His glorious presence (Isa. 66:11Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? (Isaiah 66:1)); and yet neither of these thrones will hold Him, for the heaven of heavens cannot contain Him.