Psalm 63 is one of my personal favorites. I recently completed a devotional study involving Psalm 63 with a friend of mine. We were both blown away by the richness of this psalm written by David while he found himself in the desert wilderness of Judah.
When Sweet T and I were in Israel back in 2012, we learned that the wilderness of Judah isn’t what we typically envision in our mind’s eye when our ears hear the word “wilderness.” To be sure, it is certainly a vast area out in the wild. But instead of a treasure trove of trees, the Judean wilderness is a sea of sand sprinkled with ancient caves.
David found himself hiding here, on the run from his son, Absalom, who wanted to kill him. Absalom was the third son of David, the King of Israel, with his wife Maacah, daughter of Talmai, King of Geshur. The story of Absalom is primarily told in the six chapters found in 2 Samuel 13-19.
In a story of misguided good intentions gone bad, Absalom’s life goes from avenging the rape of his sister Tamar by their half-brother Ammon to leading a conspiracy to overthrow his own father, King David. David’s family life certainly demonstrates the gamut of emotions, relationships, and challenges involved in preserving the family bloodline. Families can be complicated.
David found himself hiding in the wilderness of Judah multiple times throughout his life. In a way, his time-out in the desert serve as a metaphor describing the spiritual deserts we find ourselves in from time to time.
When we first come to know God and receive salvation through His son Jesus Christ, are souls are on fire, overflowing with joy and spiritual fervency. As we continue along on our faith journey, we find ourselves meandering through spiritual dry places, akin to the deserts of Judah. While it may seem like a time to rely on our own wits and set aside our worship, the exact opposite is true. Our wilderness moments are times for us to rely on God more and to focus our hearts on worshipping Him.
Just as David did, we find relief as we praise God. Our spiritual thirst and hunger grow satisfied the more satisfied we become in Him. When we recall God’s supernatural ability to meet our every need, our spirits are lifted, and we are refreshed and invigorated, ready to return to civilization and turn our challenges into opportunities.
We experience this phenomenon when we take our minds off our trouble and express gratitude for our blessings. When we experience difficulties in our life, it can be easy to focus on the negative, rather than looking at the positive. It’s easy to pick out what’s wrong rather than recognize what’s right. Before we know it, we’re on our pity pot, wailing about our woes. This trap leads us nowhere.
In Psalm 63, David reminds us that through praise and worship we have the power to overcome whatever ails us. As spiritual beings, our souls long for God. It is a God-sized hole that is only satisfied when we meet the Lord through His son, Jesus. In Him, through Him, and by Him, we have everything our soul and heart desires.
Troubled? Praise God.
Peace go with you.
A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.
1 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.
2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
3 Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
4 So I will bless you as long as I live;
in your name I will lift up my hands.
5 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
6 when I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
7 for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
8 My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.
9 But those who seek to destroy my life
shall go down into the depths of the earth;
10 they shall be given over to the power of the sword;
they shall be a portion for jackals.
11 But the king shall rejoice in God;
all who swear by him shall exult,
for the mouths of liars will be stopped.