The men who encountered God in the Old Testament all had this in common: they had a longing for God's Presence. From Noah to Abraham to Jacob and then to Moses, these men yearned to commune with God and depend on Him for everything. Noah was the object of ridicule and mockery when he was building the Ark, not minding the words of men but trusting the Word of God.
Abraham was a man whose faith and trust in God was tested in Genesis 22. After Abraham had seen Isaac in his old age, the little boy undeniably became the delight of his father's heart.
It must have been a dagger into Abraham's heart to hear God say to him that he was to sacrifice his beloved son on the Mountain of Moriah.
He must have struggled in his mind that after all the years of waiting, God would take Isaac away. But Abraham believed and trusted God for the best. There were no reasons given, just the command, yet he obeyed.
When Abraham was about to kill Isaac God indeed intervened and the boy was spared. God saw Abraham's heart and it was not Isaac enthroned there, but God.
Thereafter the blessing came following Abraham's obedience.
"I swear by Myself, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son,I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore.
Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed Me." (Genesis 22:15-17)
Like Abraham, Moses was tested in the desert, his heart drawn to the Consuming Fire Who is God. Such yearning and thirst reached peak intensity so that Moses cried to God, "Show Me Your Glory." (Exodus 33:13-18)
But before these men truly experienced God, their hearts were emptied of the "things" that would rival God's Presence in their hearts.
"You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart, I will be found by you." (Deuteronomy 4:29 and Jeremiah 29:13)
There are many things in life that take us away from the focus of God's Presence. These may be earthly possessions, our family, our children, or even our ministry. We are passionate for ministry work but neglect seeking for the presence of God.
"We pursue God, because and only because, He has first put an urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit." (A.W. Tozer -"The Pursuit of God")
"No man can come to Me unless the Father Who sent Me draws him..." (John 6:44) Thus even our coming near to God originates from God and not from us. The response to pursue Him is ours and most often this is drowned out by the things that we possess. The yearning is overcome and eventually "silenced" by the mundane everyday things that take our attention from God, in the end these "things" possess us and replace God in the throne of our hearts.
We try to augment that hollowness with frantic activity at ministry or in generous giving, as though these will suffice for our lack of intimacy with the Source and the Reason, for what we do and give, in the first place.
"If any man would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever will lose his life for My sake, will find it." (Matthew 16:24-25)
That inner longing for the Presence of God is inherently in us.
We were spiritually born with it and thus the "craving" is as natural as a child crying out for milk. It will always surface and will continually move us to seek and thirst.
"As the deer pants for streams of water
so my soul pants for Thee, O God.
My soul yearns for God, for the living God."
Let this thirst be our heart-cry, not for a moment or instance, but for continual yearning for more and more of God. Let us not be complacent with our "sufficiency" but let us admit our utter dependence on God Who alone can satisfy. Let this be our prayer: "Yes LORD,I want You,I need You, and I long evermore for You."
"O God, You are my God,
earnestly I seek You;
my soul thirsts for You,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water."