Psalm 63 1
✓ O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.
To seek God mean to orient themselves to God and to pursue God rather than other goals. … Love for God means not only obedience but desire for God—a yearning to know God, a longing to see God.Aug 31, 2011
I yearn for you faithfully in a desolate land I have trusted you.
Because your love is better than life, my lips will praise you fervently.
Psalm 63 – Love Better than Life
The title of this psalm is, A Psalm of David when he was in the wilderness of Judah. Most commentators believe it to belong either to David’s wilderness years before he came to the throne of Israel, or to his brief exile from the throne in the rebellion of Absalom. The wilderness years when hunted by King Saul are preferred, but not held with absolute certainty.
Charles Spurgeon added a note of interest: “Chrysostom tells us that among the primitive Christians it was decreed and ordained that no day should pass without the public singing of this psalm.”
A. Praise from the wilderness.
1. (1-2) David’s thirst for God.
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.
So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.
a. O God, You are my God: This may seem like senseless repetition, a tautology. It is not; David declared to Elohim that He was David’s El, David’s God in the most fundamental sense. In a day when pagans thought there were many gods and each nation had their own gods, David sweeps such ideas aside and proclaimed his allegiance to Elohim.
i. “The simplicity and boldness of Thou art my God is the secret of all that follows, since this relationship is the heart of the covenant, from the patriarchs to the present day (Genesis 17:8c; Hebrews 8:10c).” (Kidner)
b. Early will I seek You: Appreciating God as God, it is entirely reasonable to seek Him, and to seek Him as a priority of the day. The thirst of David’s soul demanded to be satisfied early in the day.
i. “What first lays hold of the heart in the morning is likely to occupy the place all the day. First impressions are the most durable, because there is not a multitude of ideas to drive them out, or prevent them from being deeply fixed in the moral feeling.” (Clarke)
ii. “The word ‘early’ has not only the sense of early in the morning, but that of eagerness, immediateness. He who truly longs for God longs for him now.” (Spurgeon)
iii. My flesh longs for You: “Longeth; or, languisheth, or pineth away. The desire of my soul after thee is so vehement and insatiable, that my very body feels the effects of it, as it commonly doth of all great passions.” (Poole)
iv. “Most people do not even know that it is God their souls truly desire. They are seeking satisfaction in other things.” (Boice)
c. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary: David sought God at the tabernacle as earnestly as a thirsty man looks for water in a dry and thirsty land. The Wilderness of Judah is largely desert, so this was a picture of longing that came easily to David’s mind.
i. “There was no desert in his heart, though there was a desert around him.” (Spurgeon)
ii. In a dry and thirsty land: “Learn from this, and do not say, ‘I will get into communion with God when I feel better,’ but long for communion now. It is one of the temptations of the devil to tell you not to pray when you do not feel like praying. Pray twice as much then.” (Spurgeon)
d. To see Your power and Your glory: David sought God at the tabernacle to connect in some way with God’s power and glory. Significantly, David was not at the tabernacle when he sang this song; he was in the Wilderness of Judah. Yet he knew that’s God’s sanctuary was not only a place, but also a spiritual concept that could be entered by faith no matter where a person was.
i. “Our misery is that we thirst so little for these sublime things, and so much for the mocking trifles of time and sense.” (Spurgeon)
2. (3-6) The greatness of God’s love stirs praise.
Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
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.
a. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life: This is the reason why David was so motivated to pursue God. The lovingkindness (hesed) of God was better, more meaningful to David, than life itself. This means that David both knew and experienced something of God’s lovingkindness that many believers today do not know and experience.
· People regard life as natural; David regarded God’s great love as natural.
· People enjoy life; David enjoyed God’s great love.
· People value life; David valued God’s great love.
· People will sacrifice to live; David would sacrifice for God’s great love.
· People want to give life to others; David wanted to give God’s great love.
· People despair without the sense of life; David despaired without the sense of God’s great love.
i. Life and literature are filled with people who loved someone or something more than their own life, and it could be said of them that they held love better than life. Yet that is not what David sang of here. David meant that the love of God to him was more precious than his own life.
ii. “Now you know at what a high rate men value their lives; they will bleed, sweat, vomit, purge, part with an estate, yea, with a limb, yea, limbs, to preserve their lives…. Now, though life be so dear and precious to a man, yet a deserted soul prizes the returnings of divine favour upon him above life, yea, above many lives.” (Brooks, cited in Spurgeon)
iii. “To dwell with God is better than life at its best; life at ease, in a palace, in health, in honour, in wealth, in pleasure; yea, a thousand lives are not equal to the eternal life which abides in Jehovah’s smile.” (Spurgeon)
iv. “He knew a pearl of far greater price, namely, the ‘loving-kindness’ of Jehovah, on which is suspended not only the life which now is, but that which is to come.” (Horne)
v. Better than life: “Many men have been weary of their lives, as is evident in Scripture and history; but no man was ever yet found that was weary of the love and favour of God.” (Brooks, cited in Spurgeon)
b. My lips shall praise You: In light of David’s experience of God’s great love, he determined to vocally praise God. David thought that he would be ungrateful and rude to not praise and thank the God who loved him so greatly.
i. “If we have nothing to say about God’s goodness, the probable cause is our want of experience of it.” (Maclaren)
ii. “May I ask a question of every professed Christian? Have you spoken with God this morning? Do you allow a day to pass without converse with God? Can it be right for us to treat the Lord with mute indifference?” (Spurgeon)
iii. Psalm 63 speaks of praise and devotion given to God in gratitude, out of a rich sense of being blessed. Spurgeon noted that we should not limit our thanks and praise to such seasons: “Even when our heart is rather desiring than enjoying we should still continue to magnify the Most High, for his love is truly precious; even if we do not personally, for the time being, happen to be rejoicing in it. We ought not to make our praises of God to depend upon our own personal and present reception of benefits; this would be mere selfishness: even publicans and sinners have a good word for those whose hands are enriching them with gifts; it is the true believer only who will bless the Lord when he takes away his gifts or hides his face.” (Spurgeon)
c. Thus I will bless You: David did not mean this in the sense that a greater person bestows a blessing on a lesser. David meant this in the sense that it blessed and honored God when His creatures praised Him and thanked Him appropriately.
d. I will lift up my hands in Your name: The lifting of the hands was not only the common posture of prayer among the ancient Hebrews, it was especially appropriate for praise. It displayed the anticipation of gratefully receiving from God, and the sense of surrender to Him.
e. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness: David spoke of a satisfaction that too few people know, even among believers. He spoke of the deep satisfaction that comes in a surrendered seeking of God, of receiving His great love, of praising God without reservation.
i. “There is in the love of God a richness, a sumptuousness, a fulness of soul-filling joy, comparable to the richest food with which the body can be nourished.” (Spurgeon)
f. When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches: David thought that there were not enough hours in the day to think upon God’s greatness and goodness. Therefore he also used the night watches to meditate upon God.
i. Night watches: “An expression which stresses the slow progress of the hours.” (Kidner)
ii. “Solitude and stillness render the ‘night watches’ a fit season for meditation on the so often experienced mercies of God; which, when thus called to remembrance, become a delicious repast to the spirit, filling it with all joy, and peace, and consolation.” (Horne)
B. Thankful confidence in God.
1. (7-8) Thanks for help already given.
Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me.
a. Because You have been my help: Many of David’s psalms are simple cries for help. Since this psalm was composed from the Wilderness of Judah, there was certainly help David could ask for. Yet, Psalm 63 has no cry for help but gives thanks and praise for God’s faithfulness in many times when God had been my help for David.
b. Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice: The idea of the shelter of shadow of God’s wings is repeated many times in the psalms. Sometimes it has the idea of protection, as a mother bird shelters her young chicks. Other times it has the idea of presence, as in the wings of the cherubim that surround the throne of God. Here the idea of presence seems to best fit the context.
c. My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me: This speaks of the partnership and connection the believer experiences with God. David’s soul was close to God, following Him as one followed a Master or Teacher. God responded with care and strength for David, upholding him with His mighty right hand (the hand of skill and strength).
i. My soul follows close: “Press toward the mark. Let there be no needless space between the Master and thee.” (Meyer)
ii. The connection expressed by my soul follows close is truly close. The words translated follows close have the sense of joining or gluing together, as in Genesis 2:24.
iii. “The primary sense of [the Hebrew word is] to glue together; from thence it signifies figuratively to associate, to adhere to, to be united with; and particularly to be firmly united with strong affection.” (Chandler, cited in Spurgeon)
2. (9-10) Trust despite the trouble.
But those who seek my life, to destroy it,
Shall go into the lower parts of the earth.
They shall fall by the sword;
They shall be a portion for jackals.
a. But those who seek my life, to destroy it: David’s deep communion with God did not take away his problems. There were still those who wanted to kill him. According to its title, Psalm 63 was written from the Wilderness of Judah and David was in the wilderness hiding from a conspiracy to kill him.
b. They shall fall by the sword: David trusted God to deal with his enemies, especially with King Saul. In God’s time and in God’s way, David’s enemies did fall by the sword, which has the sense of being killed in battle.
i. “He knows that the ‘steadfast love’ of God which he praised in verse 3, is strong with justice (cf. 62:12).” (Kidner)
ii. A portion for jackals: “If the body of a human being were to be left on the ground, the jackals would certainly leave but little traces of it; and in the olden times of warfare, they must have held high revelry in the battle-fields after the armies had retired. It is to this propensity of the jackal that David refers – himself a man of war, who had fought on many a battle-field, and must have seen the carcasses of the slain mangled by these nocturnal prowlers.” (Wood, cited in Spurgeon)
iii. “Jackals make sense here, rather than the ‘foxes’ of some older translations (one Hebrew word serves for both). They are the final scavengers, consuming the remains of the kill rejected by the larger beasts.” (Kidner)
3. (11) The king’s confidence.
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.
a. But the king shall rejoice in God: David was not yet on Israel’s throne and that promise still waited many years for fulfillment. Yet it was a promise of God (first expressed in 1 Samuel 16), so by faith David could dare to think of himself as the king, and in that daring faith rejoice in God.
i. “The king; I, who am already anointed king, and who shall be actually king, when these mine enemies are fallen by the sword. He speaks of himself in the third person, either out of modesty or out of prudence.” (Poole)
b. Everyone who swears by Him shall glory; but the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped: The sense of swears by Him is to trust in God and place one’s confident love in Him; men normally take oaths upon what they hold dear. The contrast to trusting God is to speak lies; we resort to lies when we don’t trust God. One of these paths has a future of glory and the other path will be stopped.
i. “Two things are necessary for such triumph as this. These are indicated in the opening words of the psalm. First, there must be the consciousness of personal relationship, ‘O God, Thou art my God’; and, second, there must be earnest seeking after God: ‘Early will I seek Thee.’ Relationship must be established. Fellowship must be cultivated.” (Morgan)
(c) 2020 The Enduring Word Bible Commentary by David Guzik – email@example.com
If you had to pick a single word to describe our society, perhaps the most accurate word would be pressure. We live in a day marked by pressure in almost every area of life. At five years old we are thrust into school where there is pressure to perform and to compete for grades. We join athletic teams where there is more pressure to excel. We face the pressure of getting into college and once we’re there, of making it through. Then there is the pressure of getting a good job and, once we get it, of doing well enough to keep it and be promoted.
There are family pressures: finding the right mate and building a solid marriage in a culture where divorce is easy and accepted. There are the pressures of raising godly children in our pagan society. World problems, economic problems, personal problems, and the problems of friends and loved ones all press upon us.
In the midst of such pressures, there is one thing that will determine the course of your life: your priorities. Everyone has a set of priorities. If your priorities are not clearly defined, you will be swept downstream in life by various pressures, the seeming victim of your circumstances. But if your priorities are clear, then you can respond to your pressures by making choices in line with your priorities, and thereby give direction to your life.
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Thus it is crucial that you have the right priorities. Your priorities determine how you spend your time, with whom you spend your time, and how you make decisions. Your priorities keep you from being battered around by the waves of pressure and help you to steer a clear course toward the proper destination. Priorities—godly priorities—are crucial!
King David was a man who knew what it meant to live under pressure. As the king of Israel, he knew the pressures of leadership. The higher and more responsible the leadership position, the greater are the pressures. And David knew the pressure of problems. During his reign, his son, Absalom, led a rebellion against him. David and his loyal followers had to flee for their lives. During that time David spent a short while in the northeastern portion of the wilderness of Judah before he crossed over the Jordan River. In that barren land, fleeing for his life from his own son, feeling disgraced and rejected, with an uncertain future, David penned Psalm 63.
It is one of the most well-loved psalms. John Chrysostom (347-407) wrote “that it was decreed and ordained by the primitive [church] fathers, that no day should pass without the public singing of this Psalm.” He also observed that “the spirit and soul of the whole Book of Psalms is contracted into this Psalm” (cited by J. J. Stewart Perowne, The Book of Psalms, [Zondervan], p. 486). In fact, the ancient church had the practice of beginning the singing of the Psalms at each Sunday service with Psalm 63, called “the morning hymn” (Commentary on the Old Testament, C. F. Keil & Franz Delitzsch, [Eerdmans], p. 212).
Psalm 63 shows us the priority of this man of God under pressure. If you or I were under the kinds of pressure David faced at this point in his life, I doubt if we would be writing songs. If we did, the song would probably contain a lot of urgent requests: “Help, God! Get me out of here!” David did write a song like that (Psalm 3). But it is interesting that Psalm 63 contains no petition (Perowne, p. 487). David expresses longing for God’s presence, praise, joy, fellowship with God, confidence in God’s salvation. But there is not one word of asking for temporal or even spiritual blessings. Derek Kidner (Psalms 1-72 [IVP], pp. 224-226) nicely outlines it as “God my desire” (1-4); “God my delight” (5-8); and, “God my defense” (9-11). The psalm shows us that David’s priority was to seek the Lord.
Seeking after God should be our most important priority.
No matter what pressures come into your life, you will be able to handle them properly if you maintain this one priority above all else: Earnestly seek after God! I want to answer from Psalm 63 three questions about seeking after God:
1. What does it mean to seek after God?
2. What does the person look like who seeks after God?
3. How does a person seek after God?
1. What does it mean to seek after God?
Psalm 63 allows us to peer into the heart of this man after God’s own heart. It’s an emotional psalm, coming out of the depths of David’s life, and it would be an injustice to pick the psalm apart while missing the feeling that it conveys. But while keeping the depth of feeling in mind, it is helpful to separate out three strands of what it means to seek after God:
A. TO SEEK AFTER GOD MEANS TO HAVE AN INTIMATE PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD (63:1).
“O God, You are my God.” David knew God in an intimate, personal way. There is a vast difference between knowing about a person and actually knowing that person. You can learn a lot about President Obama. You can read news articles and books on his life. You can learn all about his personality, his personal habits, and his family life. But it is still not the same as knowing him personally.
To know the President personally would require an introduction or occasion to meet, and then spending hours with him over a long period of time in many situations. As the relationship developed you would begin to discover more and more about the man, not from an academic standpoint, but as a close friend.
That’s how it must be with God, if you want to seek Him. There must have been a time when you met Him personally through Jesus Christ. Jesus said (John 17:3), “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.” Your introduction to God comes when you turn from your sin to God and trust in Jesus Christ and His death on your behalf. He gives you eternal life as His free gift.
And then you must develop your relationship by spending time with your new Friend through the weeks and months and years in a variety of situations. “Seeking after God” means that you are seeking to develop an intimate relationship with the God whom you have met personally through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
B. TO SEEK AFTER GOD MEANS ALWAYS TO DESIRE MORE OF HIM (63:1).
David said, “I shall seek you earnestly; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh yearns for You….” Didn’t David have the Lord? Yes, because he calls Him “my God.” But he wanted more. He wanted to go deeper. He was satisfied (63:5), but he wasn’t satisfied. He knew that there was more and his whole being craved it as a thirsty man in the desert craves for water.
The word translated “seek earnestly” is related etymologically to the word for “dawn,” and thus some translations have “seek early.” But most commentators agree that the word means earnestly, ardently, or diligently. It was used of wild donkeys looking eagerly for food. The point is, to seek after God means to go after God with an intense desire.
A young man ran after Socrates, calling, “Socrates, Socrates, can I be your disciple?” Socrates ignored him and walked out into the water. The man followed him and repeated the question. Socrates turned and without a word grabbed the young man and dunked him under the water and held him down until he knew that he couldn’t take it any longer. The man came up gasping for air. Socrates replied, “When you desire the truth as much as you seek air, you can be my disciple.”
How much do you desire to know God? A. W. Tozer, in his devotional classic, The Pursuit of God ([Christian Publications], pp. 15, 17), wrote,
Come near to the holy men and women of the past and you will soon feel the heat of their desire after God. They mourned for Him, they prayed and wrestled and sought for Him day and night, in season and out, and when they had found Him, the finding was all the sweeter for the long seeking…. Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth.
To seek after God means that there is always more, because God is an infinite person. If you figure that you’ve reached a level of maturity in your Christian life where you can put it in neutral and coast, you’re in trouble! David had walked with God for years, but he thirsted for more.
C. TO SEEK AFTER GOD MEANS TO PURSUE GOD ALONE TO FILL THE VACUUM IN YOUR LIFE.
Many of us remember the day President Nixon resigned over the Watergate scandal. One day he was the leader of the most powerful nation on earth. The next day, he flew off into oblivion and disgrace. Even if we thought he deserved what happened to him, we could still identify with the emptiness, the shame, the wave of depression which must have enveloped Mr. Nixon.
David was there. He has fled from the throne. He left his possessions and his wives behind him. His own son whom he loved was attempting to kill him. And yet in all of this, David wasn’t seeking for any of those things to fill the vacuum in his life. He wasn’t praying, “O God, give me my wives back. Give me my palace back. Give me my kingdom back.” But rather, he prayed, “I shall seek You”; “my soul thirsts for You”; “my flesh yearns for You”; “Your love is better than life.” What amazing statements!
The fact is, it’s easy to fill your life with things other than God. They may be good things, but they are not God, and God alone can satisfy your soul. For example, many people fill their lives with family and friends. On Sunday, they usually give God an hour, but He isn’t the center of their lives; people are. People are good, and human relationships are a blessing from God. But we should not try to fill the vacuum in our lives with people, but with God.
Others try to fill their lives with possessions or with a successful and satisfying career. Again, those things have their place, but they are not meant to satisfy your soul. God alone can do that. To seek Him means to pursue Him alone to fill that God-shaped vacuum in your life.
Thus seeking after God means to have an intimate personal relationship with Him; always to desire more of Him; and, to pursue God alone to fill the vacuum in your life.
2. What does the person look like who seeks after God?
I only want to touch lightly on this question so that I can concentrate on the third question. But I want you to see that a person who seeks after God is not a religious mystic who is out of touch with reality. Putting God in the center of your life gives you balance and perspective in the crises of life. Notice, briefly four things which characterize the person who seeks the Lord:
A. THE PERSON WHO SEEKS AFTER GOD HAS INNER SATISFACTION (63:5).
“My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness….” He is never complacent, but satisfied. David’s soul was at rest. Even in the middle of a calamity such as this rebellion, which would push many to fall apart emotionally, David had inner peace and calm. Just as you feel physically after eating a delicious prime rib dinner, so David felt spiritually after feasting on the Lord. He was satisfied in God.
B. THE PERSON WHO SEEKS AFTER GOD HAS INNER JOY (63:5, 7, 11).
“My mouth offers praises with joyful lips” (63:5b). “In the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy” (63:7b). “But the king will rejoice in God… (63:11). David had a joy not based on circumstances. His whole world was falling apart, but he had the Lord and His loyal love, and so he could sing and rejoice in God. You can’t explain that apart from God!
C. THE PERSON WHO SEEKS AFTER GOD HAS INNER STABILITY AND STRENGTH IN CRISIS (63:7-8).
“For You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy. My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.” God was David’s help. David hid under God’s wing as a baby chick hides for protection under the mother hen’s wing. God’s powerful hand upheld and sustained David. He stayed steady in the storm because he had the inner resource of God’s strength.
D. THE PERSON WHO SEEKS AFTER GOD HAS INNER PERSPECTIVE AND BALANCE (63:9-11).
“But those who seek my life to destroy it, will go into the depths of the earth. They will be delivered over to the power of the sword; they will be a prey for jackals [lit.]. But the king will rejoice in God; everyone who swears by Him will glory, for the mouths of those who speak lies will be stopped.”
David wasn’t consumed with thoughts of getting even. As he considered his circumstances, he realized that God is just; God would judge fairly. The wicked would not prevail in the long run. Thus David could commit the situation to the Lord and act with the right perspective and balance: He would make it his business to rejoice in God, and let God deal with his enemies and vindicate him. He knew his calling (“king,” 63:11) and that God would not fail to accomplish all that concerned him (Ps. 57:2).
The point is, the person who seeks after God will be a person of strength and stability, a person with inner resources to meet every crisis in life. Now for the crucial question:
3. How does a person seek after God?
I’m assuming that you already know God personally through Christ. As I already mentioned, you begin a relationship with God when you realize that you have sinned against the holy God and when you flee for refuge to the provision God has made for your sin, the cross of Christ. No one seeks for God unless God first seeks after them (John 6:44; Rom. 3:11). Thus no one can boast; we have only received God’s undeserved gift. But once you’ve received it, how do you go on seeking after God? Three things:
A. YOU SEEK GOD BY PUTTING LOVE FOR GOD AT THE CENTER OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM.
God’s lovingkindness (63:3) was better to David than life itself. Therefore, David says, “My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me” (63:8). What a beautiful balance! David clings to God, but underneath it all, God’s powerful hand is under David.
The Hebrew word translated “clings” points to loyalty related to affection. It’s the same word used in Genesis 2:24, where it says that a man will “cleave” to his wife. It is used to describe Ruth clinging to her mother-in-law (Ruth 1:14). She didn’t want to part from her (see also, 1 Kings 11:2; Gen. 34:3; 2 Sam. 20:2). The idea is loyalty related to strong feelings of affection.
Your relationship with the Lord is comparable to a marriage relationship. Marriage is a relationship where intense feelings of passion and a lifelong commitment are intertwined. When a couple falls in love, there are strong feelings, and there is nothing wrong with that. But a marriage cannot be built on feelings alone, but on commitment. The commitment carries you through the hard times when the feelings may fade. Sometimes you have to work at the romance (which sounds contradictory, but it’s not). But if there are never any feelings of love, your marriage is in trouble.
Seeking after God means keeping your passion for God alive. Christianity is not just a matter of the head, but of the heart. As you think on what God has done for you in Christ, it ought to move you emotionally. As you reflect on His great love and faithfulness toward you over the years, in spite of your failures, you ought to feel love for Him.
In your marriage, keeping your passion alive means saying no to some things in order to say yes to your wife. Your job, outside interests, time with other friends, and even your church involvement—these are all good things in their place. But they shouldn’t come before your marriage. In the same way, nothing, not even your marriage and family life, should come before your love relationship with God. That leads to the second thing:
B. YOU SEEK GOD BY SPENDING CONSISTENT TIME ALONE WITH HIM.
David was under intense pressure as he fled from Absalom. He had to think about how all of his loyal followers who fled with him were going to get food and water in this barren wilderness. He had to be thinking constantly about their safety. And yet he did not neglect earnestly seeking God in this trying situation. There is a determination here: “I shall seek you earnestly” (63:1b). “My lips will praise You” (63:3b). “So I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name” (63:4). “My soul clings to You” (63:8a). David made it a priority to spend time alone with God.
We all make time to do what we really want to do. Exhibit A: A young man in college who is working and carrying a full load of classes. His schedule seems packed. Then he meets the woman of his dreams. Suddenly he finds time to spend with her! It’s not a duty; it’s a delight! He will cut corners elsewhere if he has to, but he will not miss his time with this beautiful creature.
If you love God, you’ll make time to spend with Him because you delight to do so. This includes time in His Word, renewing your mind so that you can please Him. It includes time in prayer, bringing your needs and others’ needs before Him. It includes time in praise and worship, expressing your love for Him.
C. YOU SEEK GOD BY INTEGRATING HIM INTO EVERY AREA OF YOUR LIFE.
God isn’t just a spoke in the wheel; He’s the hub. God isn’t just a slice of life, who rounds out your other pursuits. Rather, God permeates every area of your life. He’s at the center of every decision you make. He’s the Lord of every relationship you have. You manage your money by considering what His Word says about it. There is no area of your life, be it your business, your family, your education, or whatever, where God is not an integral part. There is no division between sacred and secular; all of life is related to God.
Here is David, his kingdom in disarray, running for his life, seeking to protect his men. It would be understandable if God were temporarily squeezed out of the picture. But David is “following hard after God,” as the old King James Version puts verse 8. God was at the center of David’s present and his future. No area was off limits to God.
How is it with you and God? Perhaps you say, “I’m actively involved in serving Him!” That’s fine, but that’s not what I’m asking. You can be in full time ministry and lose sight of seeking God Himself. I once heard the late godly pastor and author, Alan Redpath, speak. He told how he faced a time in his life when the opportunities for ministry were the greatest he had ever seen. God seemed to be blessing his preaching. It was the kind of thing every pastor prays and longs for.
And then, right in the middle of it, Redpath was laid up with a stroke. As he lay in his hospital bed, he asked, “Lord, why? Why now, when the opportunities to serve You are so great?” I’ll never forget what he said next. He said that the Lord quietly impressed upon him, “Alan, you’ve gotten your work ahead of your worship.” Ouch!
Review your past week or month and ask yourself, “Did my schedule reflect that seeking God was my number one priority?” You say, “Well, that’s my priority, but I’ve been under a lot of pressure!” Pressure is what reveals your true priorities. When the pressure is on, everything but the essential gets set aside. The Holy Spirit is telling us through David, “Seeking God is essential!” If it’s not essential for you, then you’ve got to join David, the man after God’s heart, in making it so.
1. How can we make time alone with God a priority and yet avoid a legalistic approach to it?
2. How can a Christian who has lost the passion for God regain it?
3. How does a person who lacks self-discipline go about getting it?
4. What is the difference between having God as a slice of life versus having God permeate every part of life? How does one go about making the change?
Copyright, Steven J. Cole, 2009, All Rights Reserved.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture Quotations are from the New American Standard Bible, Updated Edition © The Lockman Foundation