There are those verses – those sections of Scripture – which are eternally significant to you. For some it’s the 23rd Psalm. For others, Proverbs 31. It might be Jesus sharing the greatest commandments to love God and neighbour. For me, Psalm 63 is one of those…
1 O God, you are my God,
and I long for you.
My whole being desires you;
like a dry, worn-out, and waterless land,
my soul is thirsty for you.
2 Let me see you in the sanctuary;
let me see how mighty and glorious you are.
3 Your constant love is better than life itself,
and so I will praise you.
4 I will give you thanks as long as I live;
I will raise my hands to you in prayer.
5 My soul will feast and be satisfied,
and I will sing glad songs of praise to you.
6 As I lie in bed, I remember you;
all night long I think of you,
7 because you have always been my help.
In the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.
8 I cling to you,
and your hand keeps me safe.
This psalm has a special meaning to me. As a younger man, probably 20-21, I found this psalm and dwelt on it enough that I put it to music and used to sing it with my friend Sheldon. He provided warm harmonies to my melody and we both played guitar.
I had a paperback version of the Good News Bible, which is the version shown above. If I can convince my sons to record it with me, I might put it up online for you to hear. The last time I played it was in church a few years ago. I was leading worship and the pastor preached from Psalm 63. I hadn’t planned to do it, yet as he preached I remembered the song, and after the message I played it spontaneously.
The line that resonates with me is, “my soul is thirsty for you.” It became the refrain, repeated from the heart, as my heart cried out with David’s that I was thirsty for God. I want to see you in the sanctuary – in our midst in church – as we worship you, God. I long – we long – to see your glory.
God’s love for us, when experienced directly from him, is better than life. It’s better than the joys and temporary fulfillment this world offers. God’s love is eternal. His faithfulness spans the generations.
The idea that we might contemplate God as we lie on our beds and through the night is powerful. I don’t do much thinking and contemplating in bed, as it happens, because I can fall asleep in just a minute or two. I remember doing that, though. I would listen to a pastor preach on the radio each night from 10-1030 before falling to sleep. I contemplated God and the things of God as the psalmist did.
One thing that has not changed for me since then:
I cling to God.
I can’t imagine life outside of his care.
I am in awe of his love for me.
It truly is better than life.
It is life to me.
There is no life outside of the love and mercy of God toward me.
My soul is thirsty for you, God.