Oct. 11, 2017: I Long for You
Last week, my good friend (and our esteemed Worship & Arts Director) Dave Edwards generously shared with me a recording of his new arrangement of “I Long for You,” Rob Mathes’ extraordinary song of worship. One of the distinguishing marks of the Holy Spirit is His capacity to stir up in us and anoint the creative gifts. Here is evidence of God wonderfully at work. Not only is Dave the voice you will hear but he is an instrumentalist as well (piano, acoustic guitar, fretless bass solo). Dave has very kindly allowed me to share it with you (mastered at Abbey Road Studios in London where the Beatles recorded) for your blessing. To listen to the song, please see the note below.
Let me share a few thoughts for you to prayerfully ponder before you listen and then let this anointed song speak for itself.
To begin with, God does not need our worship but He does long for it. This is the longing of God that draws us into our longing for Him. David, in Psalm 42, described it this way: “As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God.” (Psalm 42:1, New Living Translation). Our longing for God comes only as a response to His longing for us. So when we read “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, we are being exhorted to love God like this because this is exactly how He loves us.
Second, David also prayed, “By day the Lord commands His steadfast love, and at night His song is with me…” (Psalm 42:8, ESV). At the time this Psalm was written, David was in a place of great distress and living in fear for his life. His song at night was not a song of ecstatic joy and thanksgiving for the hardships and difficulties he was enduring. David’s song was the Lord’s song rising up in him – a song the Lord had implanted that caused David to seek and recover His hope in God.
As David joined with the longing of the Lord’s heart, the Holy Spirit then stirred David to preach to his own heart. At verse 5 and repeated at verse 11 we read, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God.” The Holy Spirit calls to remembrance past experiences: “These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.” (verse 4). The Holy Spirit took David back to living encounters with God in worship. This is not about some trip down memory lane or something pleasant to distract David from his present pain. This is about the Holy Spirit’s desire and capacity to restore David’s faith in God, right in the midst of great hardship and challenge.
Finally, this whole longing for reconnection with God is initiated by God and then led by God. It is as if the Lord has taken hold of David’s hand and gently leads Him, step by step, out of the pit. In this way, David could pray, “Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground!” (Psalm 143:10b). I would encourage you to listen to the closing of the song and hear for yourself this gentle but purposeful, upward climb, “…Your hand [Lord] shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.” (Psalm 139:10).
George MacDonald, the 19th-century Scottish minister, author and poet, wrote, “We can walk without fear, full of hope and courage and strength to do His will, waiting for the endless good which He is always giving as fast as He can get us able to take it in.”
I pray that this breathtaking and anointed song will be the means by which you would know God to be holding out His hand to you today. May you take His hand and may Jesus use this song to open your heart so that you might receive every good thing He desires to pour into you.
(*) NOTE: "I Long for You" is included at the end of this week's audio version of the blog. Use the "Click Here to Listen" button above and go to the 4:33 minute mark.
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