Wednesday, April 11, 2012

God, Our Source

[A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah]

1 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;

2 To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.

3 Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.

4 Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.

5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:

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

7 Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.

8 My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.

9 But those that seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth.

10 They shall fall by the sword: they shall be a portion for foxes.

11 But the king shall rejoice in God; every one that sweareth by him shall glory: but the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.

—Psalm 63 KJV Bible

This is a psalm of David. In this song, David has fellowship with God, who is the desire of his being, the delight of his soul, and the defense of his life.

We do not know when David wrote the psalm. The psalm description says that David was "in the wilderness of Judah"—definitely far from the tabernacle in Jerusalem, the symbolic presence of God. Some have associated this song with Psalm 3, when David fled to Edom, east of Jerusalem, when David's son Absalom tried to kill him. If this is the case, then David might have been in the dry and baron wilderness between Jerusalem and Edom when he thought of this song. David might have used the lifeless surroundings as a metaphor for his lifelessness without the fellowship of God.

In verses 1 through 4, David desires God. In verse 1, David describes seeking God using the Hebrew "shachar," which means to seek early, seek diligently, seek earnestly, seek painstakingly, and other variations. Some translations emphasize the "early" aspect, leading readers to associate the reference with morning prayer. A better translation for our contemporary usage might be that God is so important to us that we will seek Him first, or early in the process. This might range from seeking God when a problem first appears, to seeking God at the beginning of our day. The emphasis is that we seek God. In verse 2, David remarks on having witnessed the glory of God in the "sanctuary." This must have been a temporary place for the Ark of the Covenant, since the first temple was not built until the reign of David's son Solomon. God's everlasting, covenant love (the Hebrew "hesed") is better than earthy living, so David will praise God all the days of his life.

In verses 5 through 8, David describes how God is the delight of his soul. God satisfies David's whole being. During the night, while others are sleeping or keeping watch, David will praise God and meditate on Him. God has been David's helper and protector in the past. David will stay close to God for strength and encouragement.

In verses 9 through 11, David describes how God is his defense. God will destroy those who seek to destroy David. God will send them to the underworld of the dead and they will die violently. In verse 10, David says that the bodies of his enemies will be prey for "foxes," also translated as "jackals. These are the scavengers that pick clean whatever they can find, leaving nothing but scattered bones. In verse 11, David states that the "king," meaning himself, will rejoice in God. David acknowledges that he is in authority only because of God and that David himself must submit to God's authority. David praises God because the wicked will ultimately be defeated.

Father, it is You I should desire above all else and before all else. You are the Source of all that I truly need. You are the One who protects and renews me. You are the Solution to any challenge. I thank You and I praise You. 


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