Psalm 63 FYI! This Psalm used to be sung in the early church every day and is still sung every day in many monasteries throughout the world.
(Background: This is a psalm written by King David as he and his army was running from Saul. Saul and his army had sworn to Kill David and wipe out all of his followers. Day after Day, David picked up camp and ran for their lives to the next hiding place. Saul’s army was camped out in the valley just on the other side of the hill. If Saul knew that David was so close he could have had his army overwhelm David’s camp in just a few short hours. Add to that God had commanded David to go to fight the Philistines that were laying siege of an Israeli city. David knew that Saul would be able ambush them and they would probably not live out the day. David was at the end of his rope. He needed God more than ever.)
— You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you;
( This is King David getting real with God… He’s pulling out all the stops. This is David rolling out the scroll, David is reminding God of their covenant; “YOU God, are MY God”. ( The Davidic Covenant refers to God’s unconditional promises to David through Nathan the prophet; That Jesus would come from the line of David. ) David’s opening words foreshadow the words of Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane; “Father! Father.” …Always remember that we too have a covenant with God. Not like David’s covenant; Our covenant is a blood covenant signed by the blood of the lamb of God. God is legally bound to us through the sacrifice of His own son on the cross. Regardless of our circumstances, regardless of what or how we feel or even believe, God is legally bound to never leave us or forsake us. God’s covenant with us is unconditional and unbreakable! )
— I thirst for you,
— my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.
(David is confessing to God his true position; his life is completely in God’s hands. He’s got nothing left to offer God. Nothing has brought him any relief; Not his money, his history, his strength, his intellect, his title, his army, not even his own faith has brought him any refreshment… “I need You and only You.”) God cannot be superseded by the things of the word. David the king may be desperate for God’s intervention in his situation,,, but David the soul-of-the-man is desperate for God’s presence. We cannot limit our perception of the outcome in our situation be the measure of God’s love for us.)
— I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.
(This is David reminding God of their history together,,, This is not a sanctuary with four walls, this is the sanctuary of LIFE, walking side by side, God and David; as a young boy with God’s strength in him as he jumps on the back of a lion, to a young man crossing the stream together and stooping to pick up 5 shiny stones with the whole army of Israel cowering in fear. David knew that God would bring him victory over Israel’s enemy. David’s God was the God of the impossible. GOD IS NOT OFFENDED by the TRUTH! This is David confirming his faith in God to do the impossible in his life AGAIN.)
— Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.
— I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.
— I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
(David is testifying to God of his total and everlasting love and loyalty. God demands that we have no other Gods before Him. It can’t superficial faith; it can’t be routine; it can’t be ritual… That won’t due; You know it and God knows it and we had better get it right with God every day of our life because we can’t just turn this on the day we need it. David needed God, NOT JUST FOR THIS ISSUE, but for every day. David worshiped God with his obedience and with his praise. We can’t expect God to honor a lifetime of living a show of empty praise because we like the world to call us Christian.)
— On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night.
(David has a history with God. It was real and it was relevant and God’s intervention in his life is his only hope. There is an old hymn that says: “Count your blessings, Name them one by one. Count your blessings, see what God has done.” David didn’t take God’s blessings for granted… He pondered them throughout the night; He was holding tight to their life-long relationship together. He had seen God continually working throughout his life. Now he was in the desert running for his life. David didn’t understand it then, but so many things in his life was a foreshadow of Jesus. None of us can say that we have the type of closeness to God that David did, but none of us ever expect to have a desert experience. )
— Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.
— I cling to you; your right hand upholds me.
(Again, David is confessing his dependence on God to be his strength. (You God are the reason I am the man that I am, and it is only by your strength that I have done the things that I have done.) Everything I do is under your shadow. Like a child, I cling to you for my life and like a loving parent, you hold me up.)
— Those who want to kill me will be destroyed; they will go down to the depths of the earth.
— They will be given over to the sword and become food for jackals.
— But the king will rejoice in God;
all who swear by God will glory in him,
while the mouths of liars will be silenced.
(David is finally telling God his need, his desire. Destroy my enemies and vindicate me before the nation of Israel. For those who conspire to kill me, scatter their bones across the desert in disgrace and humiliation. This is David’s confession of faith. Although David is still in the desert, he knows by faith that God will deliver him and restore him to his rightful place. WE are not David. The outcome of our trials are not up to us to define. The way God chooses to bring us through our trials, the way God chooses to restore us to Himself is totally in His hands. If God would not spare his own child from the cross to provide our salvation, what would God be willing to spare to hold us in his arms. Our ways are not His ways, Our thoughts are not His thoughts. So often a crisis of life becomes a crisis of Faith, because of our limitations to see God. The truth is, in this life, we can never completely see God.
“ It’s like this: when I was a child I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child does. But when I became a man my thoughts grew far beyond those of my childhood, and now I have put away the childish things. In the same way, we can see and understand only a little about God now, as if we were peering at his reflection in a poor mirror; but someday we are going to see him in his completeness, face-to-face. Now all that I know is hazy and blurred, but then I will see everything clearly, just as clearly as God sees into my heart right now. There are three things that remain—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. ”
Note: Everything written in my breakdown of Psalm 63 is based on feelings, thoughts and conversations with God in specific moments of my real life experiences. I have intentionally written these things with a layer of abstraction to express a universal application of the principles that apply here to everyone. I spent several days pondering how I was going to express these precepts without exposing the private moments and struggles of my life. For those of you that know me personally, I suspect that many of you can easily imagine the times and situations in my life that I was living through Psalm 63 moments. It is my hope that my unique interpretation of this Psalm might help someone find strength in this Psalm in those times when they too are going through a desert experience.