May 28, 2012 – Devotion Sharing (Psalm 63)

Submitted by Ahmi K. from Gracepoint Berkeley Church

Psalm 63 (NIV1984)

A psalm of David. When he was in the Desert of Judah.

God is …

My God. He is a personal, real God to me.

The One I seek, thirst for, long for.

Love, which is better than life.

My help, who upholds me

The One who will destroy my enemy forever

Lessons for me …

O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.

Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.

In the desert, where it is dry and weary and he felt his body wasting away from lack of water and food, the psalmist earnestly sought God. Instead of just focusing on the fact that he needed water and be out of the desert, he acknowledged that it was God Himself that could satisfy him.

I know that sometimes, we do not think to seek the Lord God during these “desert” like times when we feel dry and weary. I remember such a period in my life, when I found myself feeling alone and empty. It was a time when my life was otherwise comfortable enough – I had a steady job, a nice home in a nice neighborhood with my family, and we were all well provided for. However, I felt a sense of emptiness that none of these things could fill; the problem was that I did not know it was God and God only that I needed to seek. Then, God’s Word came to me through Bible studies and messages, and I was able to seek Him, and experienced that it was Him that my soul thirsted after. The emptiness came from the fact that I was relationally distant from God and His Word, and, therefore, I had forgotten about the reality of His love. It was only through His Word that I was able to remember and be filled with what I had really needed to satisfy me.

I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.
My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.

What is the true need that I have, even more than physical food and provisions? The psalmist praises God and states that his soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods. In the previous verse, he stated that his soul thirst for God, even as his body was weakened by thirst and weariness in the desert. We will constantly have different needs in our lives. As I grow older, there are more needs for my aging body or for my aging family members. However, I’m also learning the truth of this statement that, more and more, my need is for my soul to be satisfied, that that need can only be filled by God who is my God. It is only the personal Lord and Savior in my life who can continually meet the thirst of my soul. He is the One who knows me, who never abandons me, continually forgives me and not treats me as my sins deserve, who redeems my pains to be a blessing to others. Only when remembering, trusting and praising Him in such a way, does my soul get uplifted and satisfied.

They who seek my life will be destroyed; they will go down to the depths of the earth.
10 They will be given over to the sword and become food for jackals.

11 But the king will rejoice in God; all who swear by God’s name will praise him, while the mouths of liars will be silenced.

I thought about the devil and his lies that plague us for the rest of our lives. The devil seeks to destroy my life through his lies, but in the end, he “will be destroyed…will go down to the depths of the earth.” I think often that devil’s ways is to get me to be so consumed with my present needs that I forget that my greatest need is for my soul to be filled by God. It is a spiritual battle, and I need to daily turn my mind to recalling His goodness, praising His name, and silence the mouth of the liars.

Submitted by Hank X. from Gracepoint Berkeley Church

Psalm 63

Key Verse

O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.

My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

God is …

The psalmist King David, while in the desert of Judah, was “in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” In this desperate situation, David sought the comfort and help from God, and his intense longing for God was expressed in verse 1: “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you.” God is “his God,” and calling on God’s name means so much to David personally. He recalls God’s power and glory, which he had witnessed throughout his life, as well as God’s great love for him, which he experienced again and again and led to David’s understanding that knowing God loves him deeply is even better than physical life itself. No wonder the first thing David turned to in times of distress is praying to God. His knowledge of God through his deep personal relationship with God has led to this confidence that God is his help and as long as “[his] soul clings to [God],” God’s right hand will uphold him, and he can continue to lift up songs of praise to God regardless of the circumstances. While David is in distress because of the dangerous and difficult circumstances he is facing, ultimately he finds comfort and peace in his confidence in God’s goodness and faithfulness.

In the same way, God is our God, and in a close and personal relationship with him, we will find that he is the source of everything that satisfies our souls. He is the food and water that could keep our souls alive and nourish it. Often we turn to other things to try to satisfy our empty and lonely soul that’s “in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” We turn to financial security, fame, comfort, and thrills/entertainment to calm our fears, to feel good about ourselves, to sooth our bodies, and to erase our boredoms, yet again and again we find those to be creating more fears, making us feel more insecure, and giving us more and more a sense of emptiness and meaninglessness. Also, we often neglected so much of our personal relationship with God that we never understood that in difficult situations, God should be the first we should turn to for comfort and help. We lack peace and joy in our lives because God is not our lives’ priority, and without prioritizing God and depending on God (instead of depending on our limited selves) we will never be able to experience his power, glory, and love as David has experienced, and without this experience we will never gain the quiet confidence that David has, that he could gives thanks and praise to God in all circumstances (as Apostle Paul famously said in 1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Lessons for me …

Living a busy life in a world full of many different voices that make different promises that aim to temporarily satisfy my desires, I can easily forget God’s promises, yet God’s promises are also what ultimately matter to me. I have been a Christian for more than 10 years since my junior year in college. My experience proved that when I listened to other voices and focused on instant gratification of my desires, when I let other things (relationships, my ego, human approval/recognition, comfort/pleasure) take precedence over God in my life, these things always, without fail, ended up making me miserable: feeling betrayed and hurt, instead of giving me satisfaction, peace and happiness. It left me feeling guilt, jealous, insecure, fearful, empty, and lonely.  These hard lessons serve as reminders for me that all these things that so many people pursue after are really empty and false promises that cannot satisfy me but will only waste my life away.

I am thankful for God’s grace and mercy that allowed me to know him and know his promises through my undergrad years. Though I have failed him many times in my Christian life, I was able to again and again reclaim God’s promises as I repented and turned back to him just because of the gospel that’s been planted in my heart. Again and again like the psalmist said, my soul that was burdened was able to cling to God and his grace offered on the cross, and I experienced God’s right hand upholding me and lifting me up from my heart’s miserable state. During those times, God’s word was like living water and sweetest honey in a dry and weary land, and I truly experienced what the psalmist expressed: O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you. But even such experience of God could get old if I am not careful and let other voices confuse me again. A wise thing for me to do is to really learn this lesson that all other voices in this world are empty promises except God’s promises. Without prioritizing God and God’s word, it’s inevitable that I would stray from God and end up in the same miserable state again, if not worse. As Deuteronomy 32:47 says, God’s word is our very life. Cherishing and prioritizing God’s word is the first and foremost thing I should constantly strive for. I also need to regularly recall God’s goodness and faithfulness in my life as well as in the lives of others, that indeed “I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory,” so that the conviction and confidence I have in God could become established and ever stronger, and my understanding of God’s love for me will grow deeper like the psalmist, to ultimately see that God’s love is indeed “better than life,” as so many heroes of faith and martyrs have understood it to be.

Prayer

Dear God, you are my God, and because of that I thank you. Who am I, that you would want a personal relationship with me? Who am I, that you would have your Son Jesus leave the throne of glory but die on the Cross for me so that I may live? Who am I that you have walked with me and done all these good things in my life? I thank you because you are a personal God. You are the living water and richest food for my soul, and you are the only one who could satisfy my soul’s deepest longings. Many times my heart was in a dry and weary land, or I faced difficult circumstances, and because of your great love and mercy, you brought me back to the gospel that you have planted in my heart. You helped me to see the falseness and emptiness of all this world’s promises, and you helped me to remember that I have witnessed your power and glory in transforming my own life and in the lives of others.  Indeed, I have experienced your love for me as you have brought me into the gospel’s wonderful light through many different events and many of your faithful saints. You lifted soul up from the grave again and again as you helped me to come back to the foot of the Cross and understand your great love for me. How could I not praise you, O God?

Please help me to remember you, O God, because my heart is fickle and my will is weak. Help me to fight all the voices of this world. Help me to remember the lesson that only your promises are true, only you can satisfy my soul. Help me to cling onto you and turn to you when troubles hit. Help me to cherish your word like cherishing my very life. Help me to remember your goodness and your power. May you help me to seek you earnestly, to again thirst and long for you, because that would be the sweetest thirst and longing that I could ever have. May I learn to depend on your great name so that my soul could always rejoice in each victory I win through calling upon your name.

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