Holy Hunger

Title: Holy Hunger

Bible Book: Psalms 107 : 9

Author: Donnie L. Martin

Subject: Desire For God; Spiritual Hunger



Webster defines hunger as, “A strong desire; craving.”1 This strong desire and craving is usually thought of in the context of food. But actually, a person can experience a hunger for almost anything.

The world in which we live is literally full of hungry people. Some, unfortunately, hunger for food. They simply don’t have a sufficient amount to eat. Others hunger for less vital things, such as power, popularity, success, or material gain.

But whatever the object of a person’s hunger, it often leads them to make certain sacrifices to satisfy their craving and desire for it. A person who is truly physically hungry won’t be very picky about what they eat, as long as it’s food. A person who is hungry for success or material gain might be willing to sacrifice almost anything to get them. Sometimes they go so far as to sacrifice not only time and energy, but also friendships, and perhaps even their family.

One fact of life is that not everyone’s hunger is going to be satisfied. For instance, “one in twelve people worldwide [are] malnourished, including 160 million children under the age of 5;”2 “six million children under the age of 5 die every year as a result of hunger;”3 “it is estimated that some 800 million people in the world suffer from hunger and malnutrition, about 100 times as many as those who actually die from it each year.”4

In like manner, many people work all their lives to gain all that the world has to offer, perhaps accumulating great stores of worldly possessions, and yet die unfulfilled and miserable.

The truth of the matter is that earthly things never really satisfy. One may hunger for food, but even if their craving is satisfied once, it will only return. If one acquires great riches, they often only want more and more. There is however, a type of hunger that can be positively satisfied. What’s more, it is a hunger that every child of God should possess. That desire—that craving of which I speak is a holy hunger for God.

It’s amazing these days to observe the scores of people who claim to be saved, and yet demonstrate no hunger for God, or the things of God. They acknowledge God and His Church, but they’ll make no sacrifices for either. It’s sort of a “take it or leave it” proposition with them. I’ll tell you folks; there’s something wrong with that kind of so-called Christianity!

My prayer is that God will do such a work on us as a church, that we will never lose our appetite for Him. Notice with me today some things that will be true of a person who has a holy hunger for God.

I. The Hungry Soul Seeks The Lord

A. They Seek God’s Person

1. Moses Wanted To Know God Personally

Exodus 33:11a, “And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend…”

Exodus 33:13a, 21-23, :”Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, show me now thy way, that I may know thee…21 And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: 22 And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift (cleft) of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: 23 And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.”

Exodus 34:5-8, “And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6 And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. 8 And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped.”

You’ll notice in the verses just read from Exodus, that Moses wasn’t simply interested in getting to see the awesome power of God. He wanted to know the very person of God. He didn’t want a relationship with God that was plastic, but one that was personal.

A lot of Christian people these days are obsessed with the miracles of God. Don’t get me wrong; I am amazed anytime God performs a miracle for someone. But folks, those things should point one back to God Himself. The point is never God’s miracles, but the Master. The power of God is never the point, but the person of God. God has given His children the capacity to know Him personally, through daily fellowship with Him. Why focus your attention on the gifts of God when you can have God the Giver?

The late Manley Beasley once related the following story: When I used to call home after being gone for seven weeks, my two youngest children would say, “Daddy, what are you going to bring me?” My two older children would say, “Daddy, when are you coming home?” Then when I would get home, these two young ones would give me a peck on the cheek and then head for the suitcases. They would dig into those suitcases, and find their little gifts. The next thing I would hear would be the two little ones on the telephone telling some of their friends about their gifts, and saying, “Guess what I have that you don’t have. You need what I’ve got.” Then I would see them off in a corner playing with those gifts. While they were playing with their gifts, I would stroll out to the barn to look at the horses, and around the yard, and my two oldest children would be by my side. They were not as interested in the gifts I had brought them as they were in having some time with the giver.

When my oldest child, my daughter, began to drive, I gave her a credit card and said, “It is yours. Use it as you will.” She has never abused this privilege; and I find myself constantly trying to anticipate her needs so that I might meet them for her, even before she asks. Why do we have this relationship? It is because she is taken up with the giver. She has learned something—that is, when she is properly related to the giver, she gets all the gifts that he knows she needs. Psalm 34: 10 describes this for us: “They who seek the Lord shall not be in want for any good thing.”5

2. The Nation Of Israel Was Content Just To See God Perform

Psalm 103:7, “He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.”

Matthew 16:1, “The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him (Jesus) that he would shew them a sign from heaven.”

Corinthians 1:22a “For the Jews require a sign…”

B. They Seek God’s Presence

1. God’s Presence In Our Lives Should Be Our Greatest Desire

Psalm 27:8, “When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face Lord, will I seek.”

Psalm 63: 1 “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;”

Every true child of God has, somewhere within their heart, a holy hunger for the presence of God—for fellowship with Him. Dr. J. Mike Minnix expresses the idea in a way with which I can readily identify:

When I went to Vietnam I was still married to Jayne — I had the relationship — but I longed to have fellowship with her. When I came home and could hold her in my arms, I rejoiced not simply in the relationship we had as husband and wife, but in the fellowship we shared!6

2. God’s Presence In Our Life Should Be Our Greatest Delight

Psalm 16:11, “Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

C. They Seek God’s Plan

1. God Desires To Direct Our Path

Psalm 32:8, “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.”

2. The Soul Hungry For God Desires To Follow His Plan

Psalm 27:11, “Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.”

Acts 9:3-6, “And as he (Saul) journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.”

The child of God who is truly hungry for Him, and desires to walk in fellowship with Him, will seek to know and submit himself to the will of God. You may ask, “Well how can I know the will of God for my life?” First, obey what you already know to be the will of God, such as faithfulness in God’s house, tithing, and prayer. Secondly, study God’s Word, and ask God to guide you into His will (Psalm 32: 8). This should not be treated haphazardly.

When the preacher’s car broke down on a country road, he walked to a nearby roadhouse to use the phone. After calling for a tow truck, he spotted his old friend, Frank, drunk and shabbily dressed at  the bar. “What happened to you, Frank?” asked the good reverend. “You used to be rich.” Frank told a sad tale of bad investments that had led to his downfall. “Go home,” the preacher said. “Open your Bible at random, stick your finger on the page and there will be God’s answer.” Some time later, the preacher bumped into Frank, who was wearing a Gucci suit, sporting a Rolex watch and had just stepped out of a Mercedes. “Frank.” said the preacher, “I am glad to see things really turned around for you.” “Yes, preacher, and I owe it all to you,” said Frank. “I opened my Bible, put my finger down on the page and there was the answer — Chapter 11.”7

God wants us to know His will more than we want to know it. But He will not force us to do His will. We must willingly submit our life to Him.

Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

II. The Hungry Soul Serves The Lord

A.They Serve Him By Holiness Of Life

The Holiness Of God Is Our Pattern

Leviticus 11:44b, “…ye shall be holy; for I am holy…”

The Christian Who Hungers For God, Will Be Holy In Practice

Peter 3:11, “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of person ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,”

Titus 2:12, “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;”

What does it mean to live a holy life? It certainly doesn’t mean that one walks around with their nose in the air, spouting “thee’s” and “thou’s.” A lot of people are confused about holiness. But here it is in a nutshell:

When Christ came into the world, He said, “I have come to do Your will, O God” (Hebrews 10:7). This is the example we are to follow. In all of our thoughts, all of our actions, in every part of our character, the ruling principle that motivates and guides us should be the desire to follow Christ in doing the will of the Father. This is the high road we must follow in the pursuit of holiness.8

B. They Serve Him By Heralding The Gospel

Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

Romans 10:14, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

When Christians fail to use the opportunities God gives them to share Christ with the lost, they do the sinner a great disservice, as well as dishonor the One who has redeemed them from their sins with His own blood.

George Sweeting, in his book, The No-Guilt Guide for Witnessing, tells of a man by the name of John Currier who in 1949 was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Later he was transferred and paroled to work on a farm near Nashville, Tennessee. In 1968, Currier’s sentence was terminated, and a letter bearing the good news was sent to him. But John never saw the letter, nor was he told anything about it. Life on that farm was hard and without promise for the future. Yet John kept doing what he was told even after the farmer for whom he worked had died. Ten years went by. Then a state parole officer learned about Currier’s plight, found him, and told him that his sentence had been terminated. He was a free man. Sweeting concluded that story by asking, “Would it matter to you if someone sent you an important message—the most important in your life—and year after year the urgent message was never delivered?” We who have heard the good news and experienced freedom through Christ are responsible to proclaim it to others still enslaved by sin. Are we doing all we can to make sure that people get the message?9

C. They Serve Him By Helping His Work

1. Our Giving Provides For God’s House

Malachi 3:10, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

2. Our Giving Brings God Worship And Honor

Proverbs 3:9-10, “Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: 10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.”

3. Our Giving Benefits Others Who Need Our Help

2 Corinthians 8:1-5, “Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; 2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. 3 For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; 4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. 5 And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.”

You may wonder why you should even bother with giving your tithes and offerings through the church. First, God commands it.

Secondly, if you have a holy hunger for God, you want God’s work to continue, so that you’ll have a place to fellowship with the saints, as well as a place to grow in the grace and knowledge of God through the teaching and preaching of God’s Word.

Thirdly, giving is one of the most basic traits of God and His people, for “…God so loved the world that he gave…” (John 3: 16a). God gave in order to save sinners such as we.

Fourthly, God promises that obedience in the area of giving brings blessing.

Luke 6:38, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”

III. The Hungry Soul's Satisfaction Is The Lord

A. Real Satisfaction Isn’t Found In Pleasures

Ecclesiastes 2:1, “I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity.”

Hebrews 11:24-25, “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; 25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;”

There’s a great old song that says:

Ev’ry need His hand supplying, Ev’ry good in Him I see; On His strength divine relying, He is all in all to me. All that thrills my soul is Jesus; He is more than life to me; And the fairest of ten thousand in my blessed Lord I see. 10

Folks, the pleasures of this world will never satisfy the inner longing of your heart. Only Jesus can do that. But those who enjoy a holy hunger for God already know that.

Historians tell us that during the great famine of China, the people made “bread” from a kind of edible earth. But this ingredient was devoid of any nutrients, so those who ate the loaves starved. Those who feed on the things of this world are feeding on bread which contains nothing to sustain them in the day of death, the day of eternity, or the day of judgment. 11

B. Real Satisfaction Isn’t Found In Possessions

Proverbs 23:5, “Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.”

Ecclesiastes 5:11a, “When goods increase, they are increased that eat them…”

Luke 12:15b, “…a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.”

It’s fine to have nice things, as long as you realize that they cannot provide ultimate satisfaction in your life. Don’t set your heart on them.

Help me not to put too much stock in possessions, Lord. I want things, sure. But life seems to be a continual round of wanting things — from the first toys we fight over as children, to our thrilled unwrapping of wedding presents, to those we buy in our old age. Our concern is not primarily love and friends and pride in what we can do, but things.

Sometimes I’m ashamed of how much I want mere possessions —things for my husband, and the house, and the children. Yes, and things for myself, too. And this hunger is enhanced every time I turn on the television, or walk through a shopping mall. My senses are tormented by the dazzling world of things.

Lord, cool these fires of wanting. Help me to realize how futile is this passion for possessions. Because—and this is what strips my values to the bone—one of my best friends died today in the very midst of her possessions. She was in the beautiful home she and her husband worked so hard to achieve, the home that was finally furnished the way she wanted it, with the best of everything. She was surrounded by the Oriental rugs she was so proud of, the formal French sofas, the painting, the china and glass, the handsome silver service...She had been snatched away while silently, almost cruelly, They remain.

Lord, I grieve for my friend. My heart hurts that she had so little time to enjoy the things that she had earned and that meant so much to her. But let me learn something from this loss; that possessions are meant to enhance life, not to become the main focus of living. Help me remember that we come into the world with nothing, and we leave with nothing.

Don’t let me put too much stock in mere possessions.12

C. Real Satisfaction Isn’t Found In Popularity

Psalm 49:12,17,20, “Nevertheless man being in honor abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish. 17 For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him. 20 Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.”

D. Real Satisfaction Is Found In A Person

Psalm 107:9, “For he (God) satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.”

John 4:13-14, “Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”

John 6:35, “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”

2 Corinthians 9:8, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:”

A little girl was attempting to recite the 23rd Psalm, but she got some of it delightfully wrong. Instead of saying, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want,” she said, “The Lord is my shepherd, He’s all I want.”13 Oh folks, real satisfaction is found only in the Lord. He should be all we want, for He is enough.


  1. Webster’s New Dictionary and Roget’s Thesaurus, copyright 1984, published by Thomas Nelson Publishers; pg. 346.
  2. Thinkquest.org.
  3. Care.org.
  4. Thinkquest.org.
  1. Manley Beasley, Faith Workbook No.2, published by Murdock Printing Company, Second Printing, May 1981, Memphis, Tennessee; Copyright, 1979, Manley Beasley; pg. 52.
  2. Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor, PastorLife
  3. Reader's Digest, March 1993, pg. 71
  4. Jerry Bridges, The Pursuit Of Holiness, published by NAVPRESS, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80935; pg. 51
  5. Our Daily Bread, November 6, 1994
  6. Thoro Harris, “All That Thrills My Soul,” copyright 1931, by Thoro Harris in Revival Echoes. Assigned to Nazarene Publishing House
  7. Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor, PastorLife
  8. Marjorie Holmes
  9. Author unknown
Posted in


Scroll to Top