Better Than Life ~ Psalm 63

Hen and chicks - hunzikerh Pixabay

It is good to use the words of Scripture when we pray. As you read Psalm 63, do so with an attitude of prayer to God. Don’t read it as a work of literature, or as a chore to be checked off a to-do list. The Word of God is alive and powerful. Let it change you day by day, moment by moment. If you don’t already do this, start a new habit of praying through the Scriptures. And while we’re in Psalm 63, why don’t you start right here.

Psalm 63:1-7
A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.

O God, Thou art my God;
early will I seek Thee:
my soul thirsteth for Thee,
my flesh longeth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land,
where no water is;
To see Thy power and Thy glory,
so as I have seen Thee in the sanctuary.

Because Thy loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise Thee.
Thus will I bless Thee while I live:
I will lift up my hands in Thy name.
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness;
and my mouth shall praise Thee with joyful lips:
When I remember Thee upon my bed,
and meditate on Thee in the night watches.

Because Thou hast been my help,
therefore in the shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice.

❧          ❧          ❧

O God, Thou art my God…

The words rendered God in this verse are not the same. The first one is Elohiym, God in the plural—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is the general term for God. The second one is El, the Almighty God, which speaks of His strength. David does not appeal to Him merely as God, with no reference to a personal attribute, but He appeals to God’s strength and power to deliver and protect him.

This is personal, and it implies a relationship. God is not a distant deity unaffected by and uninterested in the affairs of men. He is a loving, caring, gracious God and Creator of all, and He desires a deep, intimate, personal relationship with each and every one of us. When we call upon Him, we can petition Him on the grounds of one or more of His attributes: power, mercy, love, truth, faithfulness, etc.

Early will I seek Thee…

Do you get up in the morning and run right into your day, without stopping to take time with the Lord first of all? I have borne and raised three children, and I realize that in different stages of life mornings can be hectic, and sometimes the day starts before you are ready for it. But the point is that each day you should commune with God, and the earlier in the day the better. You can be praying while nursing that hungry baby, or while packing lunches, or while driving down the road. I love to pray while driving, especially when I’m alone in the car and can talk out loud to my Father in heaven. This helps to keep my mind from wandering to anything except my driving.

My soul thirsteth for Thee, my flesh longeth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is…

Just how much do you crave fellowship with the Father? Can you take it or leave it? Do you have a mild hunger? Or are you famished and parched, yearning for just one drop of God’s grace upon your lips? A dry sponge soaks up more water than a wet one. The way to stay thirsty for God is to let Him wring you out regularly into the lives of others. Don’t remain saturated. Let your joy spill over into the lives of those around you, and you will continually come back to the Lord for more.

Matthew 5:6 says, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” This kind of hunger and thirst, though it be satisfied at the feet of Jesus, will stir you to keep coming back for more, just as Moses continually went up the mountain to see more of the glory of God.

To see Thy power and Thy glory, so as I have seen Thee in the sanctuary…

Have you ever witnessed a spiritual revival? Have you had the privilege of seeing a sinner repent and turn to Christ for salvation? Have you rejoiced over answered prayer? Have you been in a service where the Holy Spirit clearly moved in the hearts of men and women, boys and girls, perhaps even to tears, as they surrendered their hearts and lives to Him anew? David had seen such power in the sanctuary, and he longed to see it again. It’s one thing to behold the majestic mountains, the thousands of uniquely intricate flowers, the perfect symmetry of a snowflake, or the balance of the circle of life in nature and to think of the majesty and power of God Who created and sustains both us and everything around us. But all that is nothing compared to the miracle He performs in the heart of man, replacing a stony heart with a soft heart of flesh (Eze. 11:9).

Because Thy loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise Thee…

Life is our most valuable possession here on this earth, but to have the favor and friendship of God is more valuable than life. What good will your life do you in eternity if you do not know God? This life is temporary, but our souls will live forever somewhere. All who have experienced the loving-kindness of God by having been washed by the blood of the Lamb will spend eternity in heaven. Everyone else will spend eternity in hell. But God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9).

Thus will I bless Thee while I live…

We are all going to bless God in eternity. But what about now? David got a head start and began blessing God while he yet lived in his temporal body on this earth. May you and I do the same.

I will lift up my hands in Thy name…

To lift up the hands denotes supplication. In the classroom, a student who desires the teacher’s attention will raise his hand. So it is with God. Granted, we already have His attention at all times, for we are ever on His mind, but the fact remains that the lifting up of the hands is a symbol of an earnest desire to get a hold of God, to focus on Him, and to know that He is focused on me.

My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness…

About a year ago I began looking at food in a whole new light, eating according to the Trim Healthy Mama Plan. In this plan, we eat protein with every meal, but we alternate the two food fuels, fat and carbohydrates. Both are useful to the body, but when eaten together, they produce a fuel overload, forcing the body to store that which it cannot burn. When kept separate and eaten in moderation from healthy sources, the body is able to use the fuels to their greatest potential, thus enabling us to lose weight as our body then turns to stored fat for fuel. Let me get to the point. Meals high in carbs are called “E” meals in this plan, which stands for energizing; while meals high in fat are called “S” meals. You guessed it—that stands for satisfying. This is not a new concept, as David obviously understood that marrow (protein) and fat are highly satisfying. When I walk in unity and fellowship with God, my soul experiences great satisfaction, exceeding that which my body can obtain from a good “S” meal.

And my mouth shall praise Thee with joyful lips…

When God fills your heart with joy, you will not be able to keep it to yourself, but your lips will speak God’s praise, both to Him and to those around you. There’s enough complaining going around. Let’s spread some joy and gratitude instead!

When I remember Thee upon my bed, and meditate on Thee in the night watches.

In verse 1, David said, “Early will I seek Thee.” Now he is still remembering God in the night watches. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray without ceasing.” This hadn’t been written yet, but David already understood the concept. To pray without ceasing is to set God before you in your heart and mind all day long. You don’t have to be on your knees to pray; you don’t have to close your eyes to pray. Sometimes prayer is as brief as, “Lord, help,” or “Thank You, Lord.” And yes, sometimes we do get down on our knees, earnestly pleading to the Lord for some deep need. But the point is to always keep that line of communication open. It’s like texting a distant friend in an “open” conversation. You may let minutes, or hours, or even days go between messages, but the heart is in communion all the time. We don’t have to text God, or write Him a letter, or pick up the phone and call. We don’t even have to speak out loud to be heard. He is always available, and He knows our thoughts. Isn’t that wonderful!

Do you have trouble falling asleep at night? Try this. As you go to bed, meditate on the goodness and mercy of God. If the peace that settles over you does not put you into a restful sleep, I promise the devil himself will lull you to sleep if only to stop you from praising God. ☺

Because Thou hast been my help…

When my daughter helps me in the kitchen, I get more done in less time, thanks to the extra set of hands. Think not that God helps you in the way that my daughter helps me. When my daughter helps me, I still have to do my share of the work. But when God helps me, He does it all. Without Him I can do nothing (Jn. 15:5). All along, He has been my help, sustaining me, strengthening me, lifting me up. And He does the same for you, whether you know it or not.

Therefore in the shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice.

The allusion here is of a bird protecting her young. I have heard of a hen who got trapped in a fire. She covered her chicks under her wings as the blazes roared over them. The hen lost her life in the fire, but the chicks were all safe. The Lord Jesus Christ shelters us under His wings just like that. And like that hen, He gave His life to save us. Is there any better cause to rejoice than that?

As you pray to the Lord today, think on these things. Read the psalm in a spirit of prayer to the Lord, not just glossing over the words, but read them with comprehension, and own them. Make this your prayer today.

❧          ❧          ❧

Photo courtesy of hunzikerh on Pixabay

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