"As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God" (Psalm 42:1).
David's cry of desire for living relationship with God was the product of the Holy Spirit's working within him to direct his heart toward Heaven. The Psalmist did not, however, possess the permanently indwelling Holy Spirit, as do born again believers in the present age of the church. The Spirit worked upon and within David, but He could not abide with human spirits until atonement for sin had been made by the redeeming work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
"I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you" (John 14:16-17).
After the cross, the resurrection, and the giving of the Holy Spirit to the church on the day of Pentecost, a new epoch began in God's dealing with those who trust Him. A literal new birth became possible in the innermost being of believers, a spiritual renewal so profound that we become "new creatures" (II Corinthians 5:17). A "new man, created in righteousness and true holiness" is birthed by grace, and the ardor for God expressed by David is formed within us to such degree that the Apostle Paul exulted, "I delight in the law of God after the inward man" (Ephesians 4:24; Romans 7:22).
We must affirm the same about ourselves. We must believe that as a gift of the most wondrous grace, our Heavenly Father has infused us with the Spirit of His Son (Galatians 4:6). He has changed the essence of who and what we most deeply are, and more than desire for God now burns upon the candle of our spirit. Literal delight for God is the holy flame ignited by the presence of Christ in us, and by His righteousness and true holiness granted to the believing heart as a free gift (I Corinthians 1:30).
We must believe this most blessed truth about God, and about ourselves. We must "reckon ye also yourselves to be... alive unto God" (Romans 6:11). And we must affirm that the delight of Christ for His Father has become our delight as the Holy Spirit "worketh in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). Of course, we may not always feel the flame, and every honest believer will confess that too often we have wandered after vanity because of the lust of our flesh. Despite the delight for God that inhabits our spirits through Christ, we can still, as it were, long for the leeks and onions of Egypt (Galatians 5:17).
Notwithstanding such forays into futility, the truth remains true that God Himself has ignited the fires of delight for Himself in us. We must believe the Word of God, and reckon with Paul, "I delight in the law of God after the inward man... so then I myself serve the law of God" (Romans 7:22-25). Such change of our innermost being was provided for us at the highest cost possible on the cross of Calvary, and we unintentionally do despite to the Spirit of grace when we fail to believe in the gift of delight granted to our enlivened spirits. Realizing and consistently affirming this blessed truth will go far in practical expression and outworking of it, and we shall joyfully cry with David, and even more than David, "As the hart panteth..."
"And now come I to Thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have My joy fulfilled in themselves."
"I delight to do Thy will, O my God: yea, Thy law is within my heart."
"The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord."