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Psalm 63

November 9, 2006

I’ve had some very inspiring times this week in Psalm 63. Here’s my translation of verses 1-8. (There’s no big differences here from the other versions, it was just a good exercise to translate it myself.)

A Psalm of David, when he was in the desert of Judah.

O God, you are my God, I search for you,
my soul thirsts for you,
my body yearns for you
in a dry and weary land without water.

So in the sanctuary I have gazed upon you to see your power and your glory.

Because your steadfast love is better than life my lips will praise you.

So I will bless you while I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.

As with the richest of foods you satisfy my soul
With joyful lips my mouth sings praise.

When I remember you upon my bed
In the watches of the night I meditate upon you

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


A couple of applications for me.

1) I look at David’s thirst for God and find myself simultaneously thirsting for Him more and convicted that I haven’t thirsted for Him as I ought. I heard a modern setting of an old hymn this morning that contained this line:

We have not loved thee as we ought, nor cared that we are loved by thee
Thy presence we have coldly sought, and feebly longed thy face to see.

Things have actually been very good for me lately in my devotional life. I read my Bible and pray every day. But often I seek His presence…but coldly. Often I long to see His face…feebly.

But before I let myself slip into self-condemnation and self-atonement through just trying to pray harder, I remember, as I shared with you all at the last concert of prayer, that I must pray in the Spirit. If worshipping by the Spirit in Philippians 3 means putting no confidence in the flesh, then praying in the Spirit in Ephesians 6 means putting no confidence in the flesh. Pray in the Spirit, don’t pray like a legalist. Don’t pray as if your own zeal or brilliant choice of words will commend you to God. Ask God for the filling of the Holy Spirit to stir up your longing for Him, indeed, to give you His zeal for Himself and His will to pray.

2) As with the richest of foods God satisfies my soul. This cheered me because lately I haven’t been able to eat the richest of foods anymore. I’ll spare you the mid-life whining, but enjoy ye chorizo while ye may. But I need not be downcast over the loss of a (very) few creature comforts. They are but illustrations anyway of the satisfaction that God gives my soul.

But how, practically, shall I feast my soul on the pleasures of God?  The answer I keep getting from Scripture again and again is…sing.

“As with the richest of foods you satisfy my soul
With joyful lips my mouth sings praise.” (Ps 63:5)

or as another hymn (based on Psalm 63) says it,

God is my great desire, his face I seek the first;
To him my heart and soul aspire, for him I thirst.
As one in desert lands, whose very flesh is flame,
In burning love I lift my hands and bless his name.

God is my true delight, my richest feast his praise,
Through silent watches of the night, through all my days.
To him my spirit clings, on him my soul is cast;
Beneath the shadow of his wings he holds me fast.

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