Psalm 63: Thirsting for God

When I am thirsty, nothing quenches my thirst like a glass of cold water. It is what my body needs and longs for. I may enjoy a good cup of coffee or glass of wine, but nothing is quite like water.

The author of Psalm 63 compares his desire for God to thirst. “O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirst for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” (1) Without water a person dies; without God the soul dies. Nothing will satisfy but the real thing, no substitute will do

The psalmist knows this God, has met him before in prayer, “So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.” (2) He has feasted on God’s presence, “My soul is feasted as with marrow and fat,” the gourmet’s dish. In Isaiah 25:6 fat and marrow are part of God’s sumptuous feast, “And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things; a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.” Being in God’s presence is like enjoying a wonderful feast.

The writer clings to God who has been his help in the past. “For you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.” (7-8) He rests in the shadow of God’s wings, a good place to be.

The New English Bible translates Matthew 5:3, the first verse of the Beatitudes, as, “Happy are those who know their need for God.” The writer of this psalm is one such person.

Many people are not as fortunate. They feel a desire, a yearning for something, but they don’t know what. They might confuse this yearning for God with yearning for human love in a relationship. They mistakenly think a boyfriend or girlfriend will fill this need that only God can fill. While one of the ways we find God’s love is through human love, it needs to move beyond that. Human love doesn’t quench our desire for God.

Some cover over this need with drugs or other forms of addiction, workaholism, sexual addictions, gambling, all designed to keep them from feeling the thirst within that only God can fill. Others desire money and power, only to find these do not create happiness.

The writer knows that God is everything; God is our ultimate desire. He devotes his life to that which truly satisfies, the search for God. He is happy indeed.

What about you? What is your greatest desire? Are you seeking after that which does not satisfy?

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