O 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. (Psalm 63:1)
Dry seasons cause anguish for the Christian soul. A cloud hovers over our hearts, and we wonder where our God has gone. Before, he seemed to be in the room with us, but now we pray and feel like the Omnipresent is absent. We cry out for help but do not feel his nearness. We knock and knock, but it seems that no one is there.
David knew this angst. Although he was on the run, his kingdom in jeopardy, and his life in danger, he writes a poem from the desert, which starts...
O 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.
He starves and thirsts as he wanders the desert away from his throne. But he does not ache for water or for his royal banquets — he yearns for his God. As his circumstances crumble around him, the one thing he cannot bear to lose is nearness to his God. The palace is empty without his God, and the desert is home if he is there. The things of earth stand next to God like a candle to the sun.
Behold Your God’s Love
David longs to have his soul filled with delight. And in faith he declares that his soul will be satisfied — not when all the problems in his life disappear — but when he beholds his God:
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night. (Psalm 63:5–6)
When the psalmist considers his God, when he remembers the one whom his soul trusts, he begins to feed the deepest part of him. He recounts Yahweh’s faithfulness in his past, how he had been his constant help (Psalm 63:7). He remembers God had anointed him King of Israel, brought the giant to the ground, and visited him with covenantal love. He remembers the faithfulness of his King to embolden him in the valley of the shadow of death.
And he beholds his power and glory (Psalm 63:2) in the corporate gathering of God’s people. He misses times of worship with the people of God in the sanctuary. He recalls singing to God with the people of God and contrasts it to the silence of his present desert.
But above all, David beholds the steadfast love of his God. Not a fickle love. Not a transient love. Not a love that bends in the breeze. This is an anchored love. An unfailing love. A love that comes with an eternal promise. This is a love that is better than life — whether that life is lived in riches and security or poverty and fear:
Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. (Psalm 63:3–4)
Satisfied Souls Sing
All throughout Psalm 63, seeing and savoring leads to song. One beholds his God, then sings his soul. David remembers God’s love, and it leads to praise and blessing (Psalm 63:3–4). When he meditates on his God, God satisfies his soul and then David sings with joyful lips (Psalm 63:5–6). From the safety of the wings of his God, David sings for joy (Psalm 63:7).
God desires to give you dancing lips that move to the music of a satisfied heart. He is most glorified in us when we are satisfied in him. And as the psalmist teaches us, we can sing and be glad amidst the most difficult situations. Fleeing his enemies, exiled from his home, separated from his people, David knew that beholding his God, and meditating on his love, might not restore him to his palace but would restore joy his soul.
So, behold him. Behold the Father’s great love in sending his only Son to die for you. Behold his Son, the Lion and the Lamb, very God of very God who became man, was forsaken by his Father, rose from the dead to become your Savior. By the Spirit, behold him on the cross, behold the empty tomb, then sing from your soul, “How great your love is!” And trust that, despite your present circumstance, he will lead you home.