Craving for God
(H) A psalm of David when he was in the wilderness of Judah. (1) O God, you (are) my God. Eagerly I will seek you. My soul thirsts for you. My body craves for you as in a dry and weary land without water. (2) In the same way that I have looked for you in the sanctuary, (I long) to see your power and your glory. (3) Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. (4) Thus will I bless you while I live. In your name will I 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.
In this first half of Psalm 63, David uses two word repetitions: “God” (twice in vs. 1) and “lips” (vss. 3 & 5). However, the most striking feature is the psalmist’s metaphorical use of synonymous phrases describing his appetites and the actions of his physical body to express his spiritual longing and devotion to God: “my soul thirsts” and “my body craves…as in a dry and thirsty land” (vs. 1); “my lips will praise you” (vs. 3); “I will lift my hands” (vs. 4); and “my soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food” and “my mouth will praise with joyful lips” (vs. 5).
I. Hungering and thirsting after God’s glory (1 & 2)
II. Praising and rejoicing in God’s generosity (3-5)
Because God meets every need of our yearning hearts, we praise him with unrestrained expressions of gratitude.
David describes God’s steadfast love with the hyperbolic phrase, “better than life” (vs. 3). Is this really true? Can anything be better than life itself which, many would say, is the most precious thing we possess here on earth? When we get past our initial reactions and think more deeply about this expression, our answer should be that David was right for at least two reasons. It is God’s love that has made our present earthly existence possible in the first place. As our creator, he has given us life not because of anything we have done or deserved but because he simply chose to do so out of his infinite goodness. In addition to that, it is God’s love that has given to us who have trusted in Christ eternal life, not only renewed life here on earth, but life forever in his presence in the heavenly realms.
John’s Gospel tells us this quite clearly: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (Jn. 3:16). When we consider the value of God’s gift to us both in giving significance to our lives here on earth and the even greater gift of eternal life forever in his presence, we realize that David was not exaggerating when he exclaimed, “Your steadfast love is better than life” (vs. 3). No wonder David went on to say: “Thus will I bless you while I live” (vs. 4). For those who have received this priceless gift of abundant, eternal life, praising the giver of life should never cease.