O God, You are my God; with deepest longing I will seek You;My soul [my life, my very self] thirsts for You, my flesh longs and sighs for You,In a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have gazed upon You in the sanctuary,To see Your power and Your glory. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,My lips shall praise You. So will I bless You as long as I live;I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul [my life, my very self] is satisfied as with marrow and fatness,And my mouth offers praises [to You] with joyful lips. When I remember You on my bed,I meditate and thoughtfully focus on You in the night watches, For You have been my help,And in the shadow of Your wings [where I am always protected] I sing for joy. My soul [my life, my very self] clings to You;Your right hand upholds me. But those who seek my life to destroy itWill [be destroyed and] go into the depths of the earth [into the underworld]. They will be given over to the power of the sword;They will be a prey for foxes. But the king will rejoice in God;Everyone who swears by Him [honoring the true God, acknowledging His authority and majesty] will glory,For the mouths of those who speak lies will be stopped.
I stood at the base of a great Egyptian pyramid and watched pensively as a friend and a guide ascended the giant stones on a moonlight night. I worried for their safety- with good reason. Other tourists had fallen to their death making the same attempt.
Jerry made it to the top. Afterward he recounted that at one point in the steep and rigorous ascent, he froze with fear. His guide jolted him into action by this command: “Do not look down! Look up!”
Psalm 63 reflects the spirit of one who has learned to look up. David faced the danger of actual physical extinction from his enemy. The circumstances of this psalm fit best during the time he fled into the Desert of Judah from Absalom.
You will best understand this psalm when you have an adversity mighty enough to disturb your sense of well-being, even your sanity.
At the front end of danger, we often react with panic and little confidence in God. The Lord gets blamed for allowing the hurt to happen, and our initial goal focuses on getting Him to change our circumstances so we will be more comfortable rather than asking Him to conform our life to His character so He will be more comfortable with us.ip
Psalm 63 tells of a time when David’s emotional and physical pain had exiled him from living in comfort. 2 Samuel 16:14 tells us that, in the flight from Absalom, “The king and all the people with him arrived at their destination exhausted.”
It appears that God did not show up at David’s first whistle. And often neither does He at ours. If the Lord immediately intervenes we would have no need to seek Him earnestly. Our soul would not thirst “in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”
When we are in a trial, it is a terribly desolate journey. In the early stages of a crisis, the seeking of solutions rather than the presence of God is usually the norm. At those moments we only want God to rearrange our circumstances. But what a blessed moment it is when we turn toward God and began to “earnestly” seek Him.
Those who choose to fill their years with things, relationships, or positions find they never satisfy the inner emptiness. When we are stripped of all external comforts in the desert of our need, our soul then cries out for God.
After a season of exhaustion David “refreshes himself.” Psalm 63 tells us how he did.
First of all, he looks backward, remembering the times he has been in God’s presence: “I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and glory.”(verse 2).
A large part of spiritual recovery hangs upon building upon the past experiences we have already had in God, those precious moments when we’ve experienced the realness of God in our own “sanctuary.” When we experience loss our minds too easily focuses on memories of hurt. But it’s important for us to project on the screen of our hearts those scenes of the precious moments in life when God has drawn near.
These memories move David to praise in the present moment.
Consider the body parts involved: lips that sing and glorify, uplifted hands, and mouths that praise. Personal worship should go beyond meditation. When we physically lift our hands in adoration and verbally praise the Lord, we move from passive mental assent or meditation to active expressive worship that engages our whole being. Engaging our whole being intensifies the power of worship to affect our lives.
It seems that nighttime when we’re in trouble intensifies our restlessness rather than restful sleep. We run the gamut of endless solutions, hurtful incidents and possible options. We might even think of enticing remedies for those who have wronged us.(verses 9&10)
Psalm 63 tells us that David’s daytime praise spills over into the quiet times of the evening. In verses 7&8 David describes his night thoughts: “Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.”
With David we must learn to no longer focus on outer circumstances, deep betrayals, and haunting memories, but upon God Himself.
We cling to God, but our clinging isn’t one-sided. While we hold to Him, He holds us with His “right hand.” When the God of peace visits our night, our sleep is no longer dominated by fears nor consumed by troubles.
Once David focused on God, the resulting confidence in God caused him to know that he would emerge successfully from his hour of trial. His enemies would go down, but he would be all right.
In the flight from Absalom, David no doubt had moments when he looked down and became fearful. But he chose to look up. When we choose to look to the Lord rather than our difficulties, we find our hearts filled with peace and confidence.