Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. (Psalm 63:3)
“O God, you are my God” — and that is really all we need to say, if it is true.
This is the prayer of all prayers, that God would be God to us, that he would be who he is in our lives.
This is the declaration of all declarations, that God is your God, not theoretically, not because you were raised in a Christian home, not because it is advantageous to you in society. But God is your God because you have come to know him. You have beheld his power and glory, and you have come to find that his steadfast love is better than life.
You’ve been in the desert. You been parched enough, thirsty enough, to know that the waters of this world can’t satisfy — not for the cracked and dry ground that is your soul. You’ve been weary enough, desperate enough. You’ve crawled far enough, and already fallen for too many mirages along the way.
In the Wild
That was the case for Israel at the time David penned these words so many years ago.
The superscript to Psalm 63 tells us: “A Psalm of David, when he was in the Wilderness of Judah.” It harkens back the time early in Israel’s history when she found herself in the wilderness. God had rescued his people from slavery in Egypt and promised to bring them into the Promised Land. He promised to take them in this new land, but the journey to that land was a tumultuous trek of testing and disobedience, judgment and provision. Israel sojourned, and Israel hoped. Israel got hungry, and God gave her food.
And what became true of Israel in those days was something not everyone had the eyes to see. God was not just God isolated and unconcerned with the affairs of this world. God was Israel’s God. He was the God of all who trusted in him, who looked to him, who said, “Yeah, it’s true, his love and faithfulness transcend everything else, even life itself.”
David knew that. He was among the number of those who has beheld God’s power and glory. He knew what he was like, and therefore, he could say, “O God, you are my God.”
There’s only one response that makes sense when you can something like that. It’s praise. “Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you” (Psalm 63:3). Because.
That is very different from saying “in order.” It doesn’t say, “I will praise you, God, in order for you to show me your steadfast love.”
It is because God has already shown us this love. It is because God has — when we least deserved it — demonstrated his love to us. It is because when we were still sinners, still crawling our way through the desert, parched, desperate, hungry, Jesus died in our place. He laid a feast before us.
He has satisfied our souls with the richest of food and the best of drink. And we have eaten. We have turned the cup of his grace bottoms up. And therefore, we praise him with joyful lips, and we will praise him as long as we live, and forevermore.