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Posts Tagged ‘Psalm 63’

We are in Psalm 63 this morning. I invite you to turn there in your Bibles. This is a very beautiful psalm that speaks to seeking after God in difficult times and finding faith to make it through.

Let’s look at this passage in three simple steps:

1. David is in the midst of a trial

Judean wilderness

The Judean wilderness

According to the inscription, this Psalm is connected to David “when he was in the wilderness of Judah.” It isn’t clear exactly what this refers to, but a good case can be made that this Psalm is about when David fled Jerusalem into the wilderness when his son Absalom rebelled against him. (At this time he and those loyal to him went into the wilderness – 2 Samuel 15:23; 28. Being faint and thirsty are mentioned in 2 Samuel 16:2 and 17:29. If v. 11 does mean swearing by King David, this is what Ittai does in 2 Samuel 15:21. v. 11 speaks of David as a king which doesn’t fit his fleeing from Saul. If we take swearing by David as an expression of loyalty to him (as it is with swearing by Yahweh) this fits the context of a rebellion against David. And “the mouths of liars” would then mean those who had sworn by David before, but now have rebelled against him, breaking their word.).

The last 3 verses say a bit about what David is going through. He has enemies – v. 10, 11. They are seeking to kill him – v. 9. These people are liars – v. 11. So David is suffering an intense trial.

Let me ask you this morning – What trials are you going through today? Physical needs, difficult circumstances, spiritual struggles? All of these can wear us down and bring discouragement. Keep your areas of struggle in mind as we work our way through this psalm. 

2. David chooses to seek after God

In the midst of his trial he prays, 1O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”

Notice the personal relationship with God – “you are my God.” This is not the first time David has prayed to God. This is the God that he knows, has walked with and served his life. 

Notice the intensity of his seeking, He says, “earnestly I seek you.” He is not just praying every once in a while.

He describes this seeking poetically as thirsting after water.Have you ever been really thirsty? It can become an overpowering, all consuming desire. Well, his desire for God is like someone who is thirsty. But not just a little thirst, someone who is dying of thirst.He is so thirsty that his “flesh faints”. He is like someone in desperate need of water “in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”

This is how much he is seeking after God. 

We too need to earnestly seek after God in our time of trial. When we are suffering and discouraged it is easy to push God away, to blame God, to become angry at God. But our trials are meant to lead us to God. Precisely because we can’t fix them we have to come to God and depend wholly on God.

David models this for us. Are you seeking after God like David speaks of here? Are you seeking after God like a person who is dying of thirst looks for water in a dry and weary land, where water is really hard to find?

3. David’s faith is renewed

The bulk of this psalm speaks to this. First, he is strengthened as he remembers who God is. This comes from his encounters with God in worship – 2So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary . . ..” This is the tabernacle in Jerusalem.

What did he see? I have looked upon you . . . “beholding your power and glory. 3Because your steadfast love is better than life . . .” He remembers God’s power, glory and steadfast love. He remembers that this is a God who can take care of him, even in his life-threatening situation. And this is a God who is faithful. The word steadfast love (hesed) refers to God’s faithfulness or covenant love.

And David even says, that “your steadfast love is better than life.” His life has been turned upside down. He has gone from luxury to the wilderness; from power to weakness; from respect to dishonor; from safety to danger. But knowing that God will faithfully and loving watch over him is better than all that he lost – his former life of good things. He is content to have and to experience God’s love for him without all this.

What’s the result? As he remembers who God is, this leads him to worship God, even in his time of trial. “My lips will praise you. 4So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.” His circumstances have not changed! But he is full of praise to God and worships with hands upraised.

Second, he is strengthened as he remembers how God has helped him in the past. And the context shifts from the sanctuary to his thinking about God in the night – 6when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night”

What does he remember? 7you have been my help.” God has helped David out of many difficulties, including life threatening situations.And to think back about this builds up his faith. God can do this again.

The result of this remembering is that he is satisfied and full of praise to God. 5My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips . . . 7and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.” The phrase, “the shadow of your wings” has to do with being under the care of a mother bird and being under her wings when there is trouble.

David summarizes his renewed faith – 8My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.” He is fully dependent upon God and God is upholding him in his trial. God’s right hand refers to God’s power (Exodus 15:6, 12)

And then finally, he speaks prophetically in faith of God’s deliverance. David was a prophet and speaks this way here (Acts 2:30). 9But those who seek to destroy my life shall go down into the depths of the earth; 10they shall be given over to the power of the sword; they shall be a portion for jackals. 11But the king shall rejoice in God; all who swear by him shall exult, for the mouths of liars will be stopped.”

His enemies will be judged and destroyed, not him. They will go to the depths, or Sheol, and their bodies will be left for scavengers.But he will rejoice, that is, he will come back to Jerusalem. And also all those who are loyal to him will exult. This comes out in the phrase, “all who swear by his name” which is an expression of loyalty to David as their king. And the mouths of liars will be stopped. That is, those who had sworn allegiance to him but rebelled against him, that is broke their oath and lied will be stopped.

And as we learn in 2 Samuel, David was in fact restored to power and his enemies were destroyed. [Notice the contrasts: David’s mouth is full of praise, their lies. He seeks God, they seek to kill him.]

As we seek God in our trial, let us be renewed in our faith. David remembered who God is from his times of worship. And he remembered how God had taken care of him in the past. We should do the same, because this builds up our faith to know that God will take care of us.

Whether we are delivered or not (David here has a prophetic insight that he will be delivered) we can confess with David that God’s “steadfast love is better than life.” That even if things don’t get better, we know God will take care of us. And that to know and experience God’s steadfast love is better than whatever life can give us. It is even better than continuing to live, because his steadfast love will continue on with us in the life to come.

In your struggles, may God make himself real to you and strengthen and sustain you to keep moving forward under God’s care.

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