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Psalm 63: Spiritual Satisfaction

“O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.  2 So, I have looked for You in the sanctuary, to see Your Power and Your glory.  3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You. 4 Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift my hands in Your name. 5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.  When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches.  7 Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.  8 My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me. 9 But those who seek my life, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth. 10 They shall fall by the sword; They shall be a portion for jackals. 11 But the king shall rejoice in God; everyone who swears by Him shall glory; but the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped.”

The title of Psalm 63 identifies it as “a psalm of David” and indicates that it was written “when he was in the desert of Judah” and is like Psalm 61, 62, and 64.  This would indicate that the historical setting of those psalms might also be the period in which David fled from Absalom.  David is away from his house and the house of God, longing to be there but finding the very thought of God a great comfort.

When things are going well for us in life, we tend to get bogged down with everyday activities and can lay the important things of life aside.  We tend to forget how much we need God and His presence in our lives.  Then some tragedy strikes our lives, and we are forced to realize how desperately we need Him.  Mercifully for us, God is faithful every day.  The prophet wrote: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lam. 3:22-23). Our God is faithful all the time and always ready to hear and answer our prayers when we approach Him sincerely in faith.

This beautiful psalm serves as a great example for us.  David needed an experience with God, and he shows us how intimate our relationship with God can be.  Alexander Kirkpatrick (1849-1940) wrote, “Such a Psalm teaches, more effectually than any formal definition, what is meant by a Personal God—a God with Whom the soul can hold converse with the whole force and fervor of a loving devotion.” David was not an idol worshipper.  He unashamedly confesses that the true God is his God and speaks of Him as “My God.”

Notice:

• The diligence in the longing. "Early will I seek thee."

• The desire in the longing. "My soul thirsteth for thee."

• The devotion in the longing. "My flesh longeth for thee."

• The displacement for the longing. "In a dry and thirsty land, where no water is."

What caused David to have such a longing for God?  “Your lovingkindness is better than life” (v. 3).

It is evident that when the poet speaks of life, he refers to all that is implied in this earthly life, taken by itself; for in the deepest, or highest sense, the lovingkindness of God is life.  God's lovingkindness is His mercy; and God's mercy is that He is from everlasting to everlasting filled with the desire to make His people happy. It is the divine will to bless His people. It is the divine will to make them partakers of His own happiness, and that in the highest sense. That is God's mercy.  Peter expressed it when he wrote: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (I Pet. 1:3). 

That love, that will to bless, that desire of God to bring his people to the highest glory and perfection, is better than life, says the poet. Why?  In the first place, it is because in the deepest sense that lovingkindness of God is life.  Physical life cannot satisfy the soul. Prosperity cannot satisfy the soul; they are not life. Life is being the objects of God grace; it is the forgiveness of sins, the adoption to children, peace, and hope. That life which satisfies the soul is in the lovingkindness of God.

And, in the second place, life and the lovingkindness of God cannot be separated. Lovingkindness is better because it makes of this present life a blessing, while to be without the lovingkindness of God makes of this life a curse. "The curse of the LORD is in the house of the wicked: but he blessed the habitation of the just" (Prov. 3:33).

And finally, notice that the poet says, "Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee." When the poet says, "My lips shall praise thee," he means, his lips as the expression of the inmost heart. God desires truth within. And the poet says, "My lips shall praise thee -- because thy lovingkindness is better than life." If it is not, then we cannot praise. If our rejoicing is in the things which we have, there will be grumbling, and dissatisfaction. But because the lovingkindness of God is better than life, we have the supreme reason, and the everlasting reason, to praise Him. "Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee."

If we can develop the same spirit that characterized David, we can feel as he did: “That God’s lovingkindness is better than life.”  I believe this would solve many of our problems. Don’t you?