Satisfaction of Soul: An Invitation to Those Who Hunger & Thirst
Salty. Sweet. Savory. We know just what we want when we’re hungry. God gave our physical bodies an ingenious ability to discern exactly what they need. Yet many of us lack the ability to discern spiritual hunger with that same precision. As a result, we end up starving unnecessarily. And what is worse, when hunger is ignored, it will eventually abate if not met within a reasonable amount of time. This stagnant condition leads to something much worse – malnourishment.
Spiritual thirst and hunger are very real. And while we often acutely feel the symptoms, we don’t always accurately assess them. As a result we fail to receive the proper nourishment by attempting to fill those voids with things, people, activities, and fleeting pleasures that offer an illusion of satisfaction, yet leave us empty. They may pacify us momentarily, but they cannot satisfy. Spiritual malnourishment can only be remedied with the proper spiritual food. I believe that if many of us fed ourselves physically the same way we do spiritually – we would be utterly shocked at our condition. This kind of meager existence compared to the abundant life God prepared for us is not only unnecessary, but painfully sad. He has made abundant provision for the optimal health of your soul and spirit.
Often one of the first symptoms of spiritual malnourishment is a restless dissatisfaction with life. You may even say it’s just ‘dull’. Yet there is a greater symptom of spiritual malnourishment which is underscored with urgency – and that is habitual sin.
Sin is often the symptom of a legitimate unmet need which we attempt to fulfill ourselves.
As we go about our daily lives dissatisfied, we erroneously dabble in things that often lead to sinful behaviors, which may have been innocent and even benign in the beginning. Yet in due time, they took us down a path we never intended to travel. In fact, some habits or behaviors may not be sinful at all – they are simply unhealthy. If this resonates with you, the LORD has no intention of leaving you dissatisfied, and He has the cure for that sinful ailment or unhealthy habit. He knows exactly how to satisfy that area of your life that is ‘starving’.
God has made extravagant provision for your spiritual nourishment.
His will is that you be full. In truth, He wants to make you ‘fat’. If you are spiritually hungry or thirsty, or if your soul is starving, He offers Himself freely to any who would have Him. In the grind of daily life that continually bleeds us dry we can enjoy the satisfaction of His presence in a steady flow that nourishes our souls. If you are willing to seek Him, there is no excuse for spiritual malnourishment. The LORD is ever-present and ready to meet you where you are and provide the sustenance you both need and desire.
You were created to dwell in and be filled with the living presence of God.
The Word Made Flesh
Christ made it clear that He is our Source from which all spiritual nourishment flows.
Christ Jesus is the Word of God.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth, (John 1:1-2, 14, KJV).
Of this Christ testified:
It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life, (John 6:63, KJV).
It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God, (Matthew 4:4, KJV).
There is no substitution for Christ. Yet we do it all the time. This is precisely what the enemy wants to rob from us: the intimacy, sustenance, and power so richly afforded through His living Word and manifest presence. You cannot feed your soul and spirit by the carnal appetites of the flesh. Let the LORD whet your spiritual appetite again. When you begin to taste and see, you’re spiritual hunger will be unmasked.
An Invitation to Come & Believe
I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst… I am the bread which came down from heaven. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world, (John 6:35, 41, 47-51, KJV).
If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) (John 7:37, 38, KJV).
In Revelation we see the same invitation being given by the glorified Christ:
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely, (Revelation 22:17, KJV).
An Invitation to Buy & Eat
Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David, (Isaiah 55:1-3, KJV).
As you can see, there are numerous invitations, and more yet which I have not quoted. What is more, there is abundance here. This is no lean cuisine. This is not carry out. Nor is it a drive through meal. Our heavenly Father has lovingly and carefully prepared a feast supplying every manner of sustenance we could possibly need with an open invitation to any who would be willing to come and partake. So why do we suffer from leanness of soul and spiritual malnourishment? Why is it that we spend our money on that which is not bread? What is it in our spiritual human nature to feed on those things that cannot bring us ultimate spiritual satisfaction?
Feasting with God at His table requires a spiritual etiquette that is entirely contrary to our human nature.
We want an emotional thrill, but He calls us to be still. We want to talk, but He tells us to hearken diligently and incline our ear so that we may live. We want everything fast, but we must be patient and wait on Him to feed us. We want it served our way, but we must surrender our souls. And sadly, we want dessert when what we really need is the sustenance that requires some serious digestion.
Thus 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? For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word (Isaiah 66:1-2, KJV).
He invites us to a meal of leisure. This meal is one where He speaks intimately to us, in which we must diligently hearken and incline our ear, surrender our hearts, and be prepared to live out the words He’s spoken. Where He imparts life – we must dare to live it. Where He brings satisfaction – we must become nourishment for others who are starving. When God invests in us, He sees every soul we will encounter and touch.
He longs to make us ‘fat’. He wants us to know His riches. Fat speaks of abundance. There is more than enough for ourselves – He fills us for the sake of others. We live in a starving world.
Yet many of us who have free access to His banquet fail for the emotional and spiritual energy to live our daily lives. We exist in a perpetual state of exhaustion and stress that is largely unrelieved. This was never God’s plan.
An Invitation to Rest
Yet another invitation awaits you. The LORD has given us a covenant that brings eternal rest (see Hebrews 4). The only condition is that we cease from dead works.
You can enter God’s divine rest by ceasing from your labors and appropriating His finished work over every area of your life. His peace that surpasses all understanding will guard your heart and mind when you surrender your works in exchange for His. Whatever it is – He’s already there. It’s already done. We are told to labor, not in our own dead works through strife and toil, but that we might enter the rest of God. That happens when we surrender to His plan and walk in obedience.
The LORD understands life. He lived it. He knows what it is to be weary, tired, and dry. He was tempted just as you and I are. He fought battles. He endured trials. He grew up with bumps and bruises. He knows hardship and pain. He understands the life we live, the demands placed upon us by this world, and the subsequent exhaustion we suffer from it. And this is what He says:
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light, (Matthew 11:28-30, KJV).
If you’re spiritually malnourished in any measure, you need to enter God’s rest. I want to encourage you today to settle yourself before God and freely partake of all He has so lovingly prepared. He is the living bread from heaven. He promises that those who come to Him will never hunger, and those who believe in Him will never thirst.
His presence is able to more than satisfy your soul – He will actually make you fat.
Accept His invitation today. There is more than enough.
The Banquet of the LORD
The Lord makes references to natural food throughout His word that give revelation into the spiritual nourishment He provides. These are the ones most commonly found:
BREAD (SUSTENANCE) – the most fundamental staple food in every Jewish home. Bread is representative of Christ Jesus who is our living bread from Heaven, who is also the Word of God made flesh. (see Matthew 4:4 and 7:9-11, John 6:33).
OIL (HOLY SPIRIT’S PRESENCE & POWER) – the viscous and rich oil most commonly derived from pressed olives, also used to light the lamp or candlestick in God’s Temple. A virgin oil, representative of the Holy Spirit, the deep work of sanctification, and the illumination He performs in the life of each believer. Olive oil was also used for anointing, which again represented the Spirit of God, His seal, and His resident power upon a given individual. (see Exodus 27:20, 29:4-7, 40:9-16, 1 Samuel 16, Matthew 25:1-13).
WATER (LIFE /CLEANSING) – associated with life itself. Often drawn from deep wells. Fresh water in this desert region is coveted, and is irrigated for crops. Christ spoke of living water, representing His Spirit which was freely given to all who thirst, declaring it would be a living stream which does not cease to flow from our inner man. We as believers are washed with the water of His Word (representing the ceremonial cleansing prior to entering the holy place) and baptized with water unto repentance which represents the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord. (see John 7:37, 38, Romans 6:3-7, Ephesians 5:26, 27, Hebrews 10:22).
WINE (BLOOD COVENANT & DIVINE JOY) – a staple drink used with meals, feasts and celebrations; obtained by the pressing of grapes. Christ spoke of new wine which needed new wine skins, representing a new covenant and the in filling of His Spirit in believers, which required a new birth. In the instance of Christ’s last supper, wine could not have been ceremonially used in a Passover meal because of its fermentation. Before Passover could be celebrated all yeast had to be entirely exterminated from the home according to the Law. Therefore, what we often regard as wine would have actually been the unfermented juice from the crushed grape according to the Law of Moses, which Christ fulfilled perfectly. This juice from the crushed grape represented the blood of His covenant which He shed for all mankind, by which we are eternally redeemed. In the same way the grape was pressed, so was Christ violently pressed and crushed when He bled and died as the sacrifice for our sins. He was poured out as a drink offering. According to Jewish custom, wine was the ceremonial drink offered to the bride by the groom, representing the blood covenant they would share. Wine is also spoken of in Acts and the epistles to signify the baptism of the Holy Spirit among believers, which was often confused with drunkenness for the exuberant joy it manifested and the signs and wonders which accompanied it. For this reason Spirit-filled believers often refer to this baptism as ‘new wine’. Again, this infilling of the Holy Spirit is a covenant rite purchased for us by the blood of Christ (see Luke 5:37-39, Acts 2:11-21, Ephesians 5:18).
MILK (NOURISHMENT) – a staple food from goats and sheep, and used in producing cheese and butter. Milk is used in reference to the Word of God among infant believers who are not yet mature, indicating they have not yet been weaned from the spiritual breast of God, being unable to handle the deep meat of His word which is reserved for the mature. Milk is also spoken of in regard to the promised land, indicating the nourishment God would provide for the infant nation of Israel. (see Exodus 3:8, Leviticus 20:24, Deuteronomy 32:9-14, Ezekiel 16:1-14, 1 Peter 2:2, Hebrews 5:12).
HONEY (ABUNDANCE & HEALING) – a staple sweetener, rich with nutrients and enzymes; traditionally very expensive and therefore greatly valued among lay people. Often associated with the abundance of the promised land which is said to ‘flow’ with milk and honey. Here we see a golden and viscous fluid that is both nourishing and healing — produced solely from various flowers that blanketed an otherwise desert land. Honey, which has remarkable variations dependent upon its nativity, is both rich and sweet. Honey speaks to abundant provision, and in the context of Israel was a very, very expensive food commodity to obtain. Not only was honey used as a nourishing food source, but it also offered many healing medicinal properties. Raw honey is the most sterile food on earth. It contains unique antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties inherent from the bees who create it, as well as rich vitamins and minerals, and powerful enzymatic activity. In Ezekiel 16 God speaks to His young bride, Israel, as one whom He lovingly fed with honey and fine flour, representing His riches toward her in that He spared no expense in giving the finest that could possibly be offered in rearing her as a nation set apart for Himself. (Exodus 3:8, Ezekiel 16:1-14).
MEAT (DEPTH/MATURITY) – usually lamb and fish. Meat is spoken of in reference to the Word of God for the mature believer. Meat requires special preparation with the ability to both chew and digest mature spiritual food. Only those who have cut their teeth spiritually are able to fully digest the depths of God’s Word. Christ made reference to meat as doing the will of His Father. So then we understand where true spiritual maturity is evidenced – it’s found in those who do the will of God. The spiritually mature are not just hearers of the Word, but doers of it. (John 4:34, Romans 14:17, Hebrews 5:12-14).
All of these terms are used, often interchangeably, representing variable references to God’s Word and His Spirit with regard to the work He longs to perform in us as believers.
We have no need to go spiritually hungry when such a feast has been so lovingly prepared for us with open invitation. If we come to God as He prescribes, we will be of ready heart and mind to dine with Him.
Cheers & Shalom,