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. Ps. 63:1
This summer my family and I drove across the country. I mean, all the way across the country, and back again. It’s a vast space, this country of ours, and I recommend you see as much of it as you can. One inescapable observation after 6,000 miles: California is really dry. When I moved back here after some years in the South, I was struck once again with that same reality. Add to that an historic drought, and you’ve got the makings for a seriously thirsty place. “Brown is the New Green!”
The story of Psalm 63 is the story of a thirsty soul. It’s the story of one who has tasted and seen that God is good, but who has found himself in a spiritual desert for a time. Ever experience that desert? Psalm 63 is also the story of one who found his way out. In God, Green is the New Green.
King David crafted this Psalm while he was in the wilderness, or the desert, while being pursued by his enemies, probably his own son Absalom. But his desert was more than the arid territory of the ancient near east. His was a spiritual desert that prompted his heart to seek God. If you glance through the Psalm, you’ll notice the penetrating language he uses to describe his pursuit of God in the wilderness: earnestly I seek you, my flesh faints for you, behold your power and glory. He even goes so far as to say that the love of God is of higher value than life itself: Your steadfast love is better than life!
In this Psalm we can detect David at his finest, not because all is well with his life, but because all is well with his soul. There is no better, more joy-filled place to be than at that place of absolute dependence on God. That’s where lasting joy and peace rise, where life in the Spirit feels most abundant. And that’s where the King finds himself in this wilderness exercise: he is in absolute dependence on God, which is the condition that God created us all to be.
The apostle Paul picks up on this idea in 1 Corinthians 1 and reminds us that God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. That is, the strong place their dependence on their own strength or ability, while the weak place theirs on the strength of God. Nothing is so perfectly aligned with the character of God, and so entirely out of step with the wisdom of man, as trusting in Christ in the deepest corners of your heart and soul.
Which brings us back to King David in the wilderness. It’s a dry land for him. His own son is after him. The men who seek his life were, at one time, his own trusted army. And he’s done nothing to deserve such treachery. Yet here he is, alone in the desert. What emerges from his depth, however, is a new indebtedness for the love that God has for him. David now seeks God from a pure heart, with pure motives, and a pure hope that is centered on God’s worthiness of praise.
As you consider the deepest recesses of your own heart, is God there in His glory? Does His power and glory (vs. 2) compel you to seek after Him with a full heart, David-like? Come and see that God is good, that His steadfast love for you is an amazing gift of His grace. Dwell securely in Him and enjoy the feast of His faithfulness until you are satisfied as with rich food (vs. 5). Remember how God has been your help in ages past, and has promised to be your guide, mediator and advocate both now and forevermore, through His Beloved Son. Let His faithfulness be your portion and the gladness of your heart, because fellowship with Christ pours the abundant rains of grace that turn even the driest of deserts into the green fields of delight.