Have you ever read through the Psalms? They are the Bible’s songbook, and they are a collection of prayers, praises, and hymns that are offered up to God, generally falling into one of five categories – lament, praise, royal, thanksgiving, and wisdom.
Today we want to share some thoughts on Psalm 63. It is a song of David. It is lament, a cry to God while being stranded in the wilderness. We will be looking at verses 1-8, and we encourage you to read all of Psalm 63.
Here are verses 1-8, from the NIV:
(1) O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
(2) I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld (know) your power and your glory.
(3) Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.
(4) I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.
(5) My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth with praise you.
(6) On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night.
(7) Because you are my help, I sing in the shadows of your wings.
(8) My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.
First off, in verse 1 we see the word God used twice. The first one is the word “Elohim,” which is the plural of “El,” or strong one. Elohim implies the Trinity, and is the same word found in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, Elohim created the heavens and the earth.” The second use of God in verse 1 is singular (“El”), and as I said, it means the strong one. It is a title not a personal name. Addressing God as “the strong one” is comforting to me and to you, as we feel weak and exhausted.
Verse 1 goes on to say that my soul thirsts for you, and my body longs for you, referencing our entire being.
Verse 1 concludes with the words in a dry and weary land where there is no water. Here the psalmist draws upon the symbols of the wilderness, and is a metaphor for being in a place of need.
So, maybe verse 1 sounds like this …. O big God who created the heavens and the earth, you are my (meaning close to me, personal) strong one in this dry and weary desert.
Verses 2-8 go on to say that despite the psalmist being in a dry and weary desert he has seen and tasted God’s goodness, so he chooses to worship and praise God, with his whole being. Look at the words used – seen (v. 2), lips (v. 3), hands (v. 4), soul (v. 5), mouth (v. 5), and think of you (v. 6).
To sum it up, we think this passage shows us six things. First, we need a personal relationship with God (“my God” in verse 1). Second, we need to make seeking after God a priority (“earnestly I seek you” in verse 1.) Third, we need to seek after God with intensity, with all we have (“my soul thirsts, my body longs” in verse 1). Fourth, we need to desire to have God work in and through our lives (“I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory” in verse 2) Fifth, we need to offer genuine gratitude to God (see verses 3 and 4), And sixth, God does meet our real needs (“my soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods” in verse 5.)
Verses 7 and 8 read like this, BECAUSE (emphasis added) you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.
So, next time you find yourself in a dry and weary place, we encourage you to turn to Psalm 63 and sing it out to God.