Quench - What Do You Need More?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, May 16, 2013 0 comments

Sometimes in life, we face situations that seem to have no possible positive outcome for us. We call these situations “no-win”. Our choice in these situations is not between “good” and “bad”, but between “bad” and “worse”. These trials, like all that we face, are opportunities for us to grow in our faith. They are opportunities for us to “pass the test” that God has put before us. But even though we have the encouragement from Scripture to “consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2), it certainly doesn’t get any easier. If anything, it gets harder the more you feed on that passage because the enemy just tries harder as you continue to resist him. So, the question that we all must answer when we face the most difficult trials of our lives is whether we need the easy way out more, or need God more.

The word for this week is interesting because it can be used on either side of that choice. We have evidence of such in Scripture. The Greek word that is used throughout the New Testament for “quench” is the same word that can also be used for “extinguish, hinder, or thwart” (Mounce). Take the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25:1-13 for example. Jesus tells the story of these ten virgins, which were essentially what we would consider bridesmaids today, to illustrate the need for us to be prepared when Christ returns. In the story, five of the virgins were foolish and five were wise. All ten fell asleep because they had been waiting for the bridegroom for so long (which shows us that we need to be prepared no matter how much longer it is until Christ comes back). When the groom finally did show, the virgins all woke up to go meet him because it was customary for them to escort him with torch lamps to the wedding banquet where his bride was waiting. However, since the foolish ones weren’t prepared, they said to the wise virgins, “Give us some of your oil; our lamps our going out” (v. 8). The foolish virgins were worried about their lamps being “quenched” and tried to take the easy way out by just asking those who were better-prepared to share with them. Had they continued to long for the bridegroom before that and trusted that whenever he arrived he would quench their longing, they would have made better preparations.

Another place in the New Testament where the word is used in a negative sense is when Paul warns the Christians at Thessalonica not to “put out the Spirit’s fire” (1 Thess. 5:19). This happens more than we realize in the Church as believers criticize other believers for their methods of worship, past sins, or physical appearances. People allow their personal vendettas against others to interfere with the ministry that God is doing through His servants. When we take any of these attitudes, we risk “quenching” what the Holy Spirit is doing in the hearts of others.

On the other hand, trusting in God completely in the midst of our trials allows us to “quench” those things which threaten to stop us from living the life He has called us to live. In Hebrews 11:34, the writer mentions some of the heroes of the faith from the Old Testament who, through faith, were able to “quench the fury of the flames”. Though the writer of Hebrews does not mention these particular heroes by name, they could be none other than Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who were the friends of Daniel that were unwilling to bow down and worship the statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had built (Daniel 3). They knew the penalty was being thrown into the blazing furnace, yet they knew they needed God’s presence and approval way more than they needed to live even another second on this earth. So, in the greatest trial of their lives, they refused to quench the fire of the Holy Spirit and in turn were able to quench the very flames that had them surrounded in a furnace that was so hot it killed the guards who led them to it. The Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:16 that taking up the shield of faith gives us the power to “extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one”. Again, putting our faith ultimately in God and living as if we need Him more than we need to be free of trials and comfortable allows us to “quench” the enemy’s attacks.

Because we all have desperate longings that guide our hearts, we will always be quenching something. To have a longing is to have something that God created in us. He didn’t create us without needs, He just created us to live and know that He alone can meet every one of them. You may feel like you need a spouse or companion in life. You may feel like you need children, more money, or a new job. You may feel wrongly accused, misunderstood, or treated unfairly, and feel like you need justice. Ultimately, we as humans can find ways to quench most of those needs. But none of them will completely satisfy. At best, they’ll just reveal more needs that we didn’t know we had. The key is to recognize that we truly need God more than we need anything else, which then causes us to live with a yearning only He can quench.