An Insatiable Hunger for God’s Word | August 22nd, 2019
If you have ever been to see the doctor when you aren’t feeling well, there is one question you are sure to be asked: “How is your appetite?” A hungry person is a healthy person. Having no appetite for food is a good indicator something is not right.
I have had the unfortunate experience of coming down with the flu a couple times in my life. I distinctly remember one of those times was on Thanksgiving Day. My parents had invited several friends to share a meal with us and were in the kitchen preparing a huge feast.
As I smelled the wafting aromas of mashed potatoes and gravy, oven-baked rolls, and homemade pumpkin pie floating toward my bedroom door, I realized I had no desire for a single bite of that delicious food. Feeling completely miserable, I had no appetite whatsoever.
Taste Increases the Appetite
Sadly, many people lack an appetite when it comes to reading God’s Word. They simply don’t have a hunger for it. Hunger is a good measurement of your spiritual health. When you are receiving the nourishment it gives, your spiritual appetite increases.
Before you can have a hunger for His Word, however, you first need to taste it. Psalm 34:8a says, Taste and see that the Lord is good.
When you are tasting food, you experience the nature of it – the flavors, the texture, and the combination of all the ingredients used to create it. When you taste God’s Word, you are experiencing the nature of God – who He is and how He is specifically working to reveal His presence in your life.
Whenever you have a little taste of His goodness, you desire more. Your appetite increases. Your passion to pursue Him becomes stronger, and consequently your appetite weakens for what the world has to offer.
A Hunger for God’s Goodness
God promises to satisfy us with every taste, yet He never wants us to stop hungering for His Word. Sounds like a bit of a contradiction, doesn’t it? There is always more to know about God’s goodness. The more we learn about Him, the more we realize how much we don’t know about Him, increasing our desire to know Him.
If you have arrived at a place where you think you’ve read enough of His Word and don’t really need to learn anymore, your heart is full of pride. You can never have enough knowledge of the Word of God! It is higher, wider, and deeper than you can ever grasp in a lifetime. There is always so much more to learn about the character and goodness of God!
David the Psalmist wrote about some of that goodness we receive when we spend time in God’s Word:
The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.
They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. Psalm 19:7-10
A taste of His goodness gives us a craving for more. That craving should be as strong as the way a newborn baby craves its mother’s milk. This “milk” refreshes our soul, gives joy to the heart, and light to the eyes. It is pure and more precious than gold. It is sweeter than honey!
As I was experimenting with gemstone beads and a sparkly bee charm, I came up with a bracelet idea to remind me of God’s perfect laws, statutes, precepts, commands, and decrees that are graciously given to me so I can experience His goodness. His words are priceless treasure, more precious than gold and even sweeter than honey…
Desire Leads to Craving
Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. 1 Peter 2:2-3
The desire for milk leads to a craving God has naturally built into babies. Our desire for God and His Word ought to come just as naturally knowing how much we need His nourishment to be spiritually healthy. Once we have a strong desire, we will then have a craving.
Peter defines this milk as “pure” which also means “uncontaminated.” We live in a world full of contaminated, corrupted, polluted things – junk food competing with our appetite. Things like immoral entertainment, excessive amounts of time spent on social media, hours spent shopping to accumulate more stuff we don’t need, or constant busyness leaving us too exhausted to focus on anything deep and thought-provoking.
Sadly, those are the kinds of things we often find ourselves trying to grab a hold of to satisfy the insatiable hunger we are naturally born with, but they always leave us unsatisfied. You will not have an appetite for God’s Word if you are snacking on something else that temporarily fills you up. When you allow other things to take God’s place in your life, you have nothing driving you to pursue a relationship with Him.
The good news is God has prepared an incredible feast for you in His Word which will fully satisfy that deep longing in your soul.
For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things. Psalm 107:9
Babies benefit in so many ways from the nourishment that a mother’s own uncontaminated milk provides. It supplies nutrients so their child can become healthy and strong. It assists in helping them grow and mature. And it provides important antibodies that protect and shield them from infection and illness.
Did you know we experience the same benefits when we get our nourishment from the pure milk of God’s Word? It is pure, uncontaminated, unpolluted spiritual truth, reflecting all that God is. Here are a few of His promises to us:
We Become Healthy and Strong
My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words. Don’t lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart, for they bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body. Proverbs 4:20-22
Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. Proverbs 3:7-8
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10
We Grow and Mature
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I trust your commands. Psalm 119:66
Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him. See that you go on growing in the Lord, and become strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Colossians 2:7a,b
For the Lord grants wisdom! His every word is a treasure of knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5
We are Shielded and Protected
I will hide in God, who is my rock and my refuge. He is my shield and my salvation, my refuge and high tower. 2 Samuel 22:3 a,b
I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. John 10:28
He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Psalm 91:4
But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:3
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
A Hunger Like Petr Jasek
I receive a newsletter each month from a Christian, non-profit organization called Voice of the Martyrs. They share the courageous stories of persecuted Christians around the world.
I recently read about one of VOM’s staff members Petr Jasek who went to Sudan in 2015 for a meeting with Christians and to evaluate how VOM could help the church there. When he arrived at the airport to take his flight home, he never made it past the airport screening. He was taken to a prison that was run by the National Intelligence Service of Sudan and joined five Muslim prisoners in a small cell.
These prisoners did not like the fact that he was a Christian. They called him horrible names and repeatedly beat him. After Petr’s life was threatened, he was moved to another prison. He was finally given a Bible there and said, “After almost five months without God’s Word, I was hungry!”
He talked about how he could only read his Bible in the daytime when natural light came into his cell. He explained, “So I read it from 8 in the morning until about 4 in the afternoon every day. I had to read standing up, leaning against the prison bars so the light would fall across the pages. I was so hungry that I read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation in three weeks, just reading for hours each day.”
Oh, that we would all have a hunger like that for God’s Word! An unquenchable desire with an insatiable hunger, completely dependent upon the nourishment He gives us for our spiritual needs. Like a mother’s milk for her newborn, your Father has provided everything His children need within it for strength, growth, and protection.
Feed Your Appetite
If you do not have an appetite for God’s Word, ask Him to give you a hunger for it – a longing to know and experience His goodness.
Read a little each day. As you feed your appetite, it will slowly grow. And as you become more aware of your need for Him and begin to experience His goodness and the kind of satisfaction that only He can offer, you will discover a hunger inside of you to know more.
May your hunger grow to become an intense, passionate, cant-live-without-it, overwhelmingly insatiable craving for the incredible feast in God’s Word. Taste and see that the Lord is good!
Sparkler #1: Prayer
If you find yourself thinking you don’t need God’s Word or anything it has to offer, confess your pride and ask Him to give you a desire for it.
Sparkler #2: Action
Begin by reading a little from God’s Word each day so you are getting a taste to increase your spiritual hunger and appetite.
Sparkler #3: Challenge
Replace the junk food in your life with the pure, uncontaminated milk of God’s Word. Set aside time each day to spend with your Father who is offering you a feast of His goodness.
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