2015 Verse of the Week #43: Psalm 63:1-4

Our house was late in waking up this morning. It’s okay, because we really needed the sleep, but I’m going to have to hustle to make sure I get all my Monday stuff done. My computer also took some extra time to get itself together this morning, which derailed my usual writing time. I keep thinking I should prepare more posts ahead of time, but I ignore my own advice. After enough mornings like this maybe I will finally get the message. But it is not this day. 😉

This week’s passage starts a new Seeds Family Worship album: Seeds of Praise. It’s hard for me to believe, but this album is going to finish out my year of weekly verses! Because of Christmas I might mess with the track order a little, but we’ll see. Pretty much any verse can connect with Christmas if you try hard enough, right?

Anyway, my passage for the week is from Psalm 63. The Seeds song is track #1 on Seeds of Praise and is called “Better Than Life.” The songs on this album are all taken from the New International Version of the Bible, not the new NIV but the old 1984. So I will take it on a case by case basis in deciding which version to post.  Here are the verses in the ESV today:

Psalm 63:1-4

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.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
    beholding your power and glory.
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.

As always, I could say a lot about these verses. There is a lot to them. This is a psalm of David, written when he was in the wilderness and in need of protection. The life of David is full of rich lessons– both in what to do and what not to do– and the words of praise he wrote to the Lord are truly a gift to God’s people. I am praising God for preserving these words throughout history so that I can benefit from them today.

A couple of phrases stick out to me as I think about this passage: “My soul thirsts for you; my body longs for you” and “your love is better than life.”

What if I don’t feel like my soul and body long for God? Like, what if I don’t recognize that on a regular basis? And what if I don’t regularly feel that God’s love is better than life? The thing is, it is still the truth. Even if I don’t acknowledge my need of God, or the supremacy of his love, it is still there.

Would David have written these same words from the comfort of his palace and in the company of others, or is there something about being in the wilderness: alone, aware of mortal dangers, in urgent need of help, away from the distractions of the world? I can testify from my own experience that I am more apt to acknowledge these truths when times are hard and my own strength is depleted.

What I’m taking from this passage today is that, yes, I am always in need of God whether I recognize it or not. This world is a dry and weary land without water. The things of this world and the inventions of my sinful mind and heart will not satisfy me or bring me life. Whether I acknowledge it or not, God is what I need. I can see it better when I’m in the wilderness- when I’m desperate and searching, or when distractions have been removed– but it is always true.

Whether we’re in the wilderness or not, the lessons learned there can remain in our hearts. Today I’m praying that God will teach me to remember my need for him, to remember that his love is better than life. Those words truly say so much, because there is much about this life that is good! But just because this life is what’s in front of my eyes does not mean that it’s all there is. I pray that the Spirit will call me back to the eternity written upon my heart by my creator, reminding me that the love of God is better than anything my eyes have seen.

I’m struggling to sum this up and end this post without saying so much more than I have time to write! I’m going to have to end even though I don’t feel ready, and I don’t feel like I’ve said what I wanted to.

Hmm, maybe this is how it feels when my soul and body (right now specifically my mind) are thirsty and in need of God!

It’s a frustrating feeling, but it reminds me of my position before God and the beauty and power of Scripture. The Spirit is in these words, making them living and active– this is a gift from God to those who seek him. It’s my prayer right now that God would bless my heart and bring more understanding to my mind as I think about these verses, and that God would bless anyone who reads this, providing his gracious wisdom to us all as we seek to know his love. May we recognize our need of him, see that his love is better than life, and give him praise.

With that, I’m done. Please enjoy this beautiful illustration of Psalm 63:3 by Jenny of French Press Mornings. She makes some of the loveliest Scripture prints I’ve ever seen! She has an etsy shop, too.

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