A GOD WORTH SERVING
Great is your faithfulness, O God; there is none like you. I trust in you, and you alone.
Read PSALM 63
A psalm of David. When he was in the Desert of Judah.
1 You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.
2 I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld 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 I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will 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 shadow of your wings.
8 I cling to you;
your right hand upholds me.
9 Those who want to kill me will be destroyed;
they will go down to the depths of the earth.
10 They will be given over to the sword
and become food for jackals.
11 But the king will rejoice in God;
all who swear by God will glory in him,
while the mouths of liars will be silenced.
- Psalm 63:1 In Hebrew texts 63:1-11 is numbered 63:2-12.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘God of grace and God of glory, / on your people pour your power … Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, / for the facing of this hour.’1
This is one of the great psalms where David reflects on his own situation and on his knowledge of God, moving from present to past and on to the future. Unlike historical books, the main point of psalms for readers is not necessarily what they tell about the writer’s life. It is rather that they give words to express our own feelings in all kinds of circumstances. Here the circumstance is living away from society in a desert, hiding from dangerous enemies. It may not be where you are now, but many of us have felt isolation, deprivation, and fear like this, and we are all likely to know people still in that situation. It is wonderful to be able to point them to psalms like this.
The psalmist, in the desert, longs for water and longs to experience God. The implication is that just now he can’t find either. It is so helpful to know it is okay to tell God we feel like that! David looks back to times when he was ‘in the sanctuary’ (v 2), feeling close to God, and reminds himself both of what he knew about God then and of the reality of the commitment that he had made to trust God. His circumstances had changed, but God had not: he was still more fulfilling than rich food (v 5)! David lies awake at night, but thinking of God, and remembering past help given, help him move forward. There are psalms where the psalmist can only manage to ask ‘how long?’2 but here he is confident that, eventually, his enemies will get their comeuppance and he will be able to rejoice again.
When we feel alone and desperate, remember that God is ‘my God’ (v 1); when I ‘cling to you; your right hand upholds me’ (v 8).
Thank you, loving Father, that whether I am in a desert place or on a mountain top, you are with me. You never leave me or forsake me. Help me to remember and always to be mindful of your presence.
1 HE Fosdick, 1930 2 Eg Pss 13,35
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