June 04 2023
Today, Sunday June 04
“My Lips Shall Praise You”
“O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory.
Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.
When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches. Because You have been my help, Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me.”
I never realized until we started this series of chats in the Book of Psalms, that David wrote so many of them when he was in the depths of despair, in the greatest time of crisis in his life, as he was fleeing from his son Absolom’s rebellion. Psalm 63 is one of those Psalms that he wrote when he was in the wilderness of Judah, which borders the shores of the Dead Sea on the east, the lowest elevation on the earth. At the lowest time of his life, on the lowest point of the earth, David shares his heart, his emotions, his thoughts, and his meditations with us in these Psalms, which have blessed and encouraged others to trust the Lord for now over three thousand years! Wow!!!!
In the first verses of Psalm 63, David is determined to seek the Lord and desire Him with his whole heart! In a place where there is no water, his soul thirsts for his God more than anything else! David then went from seeking God early in this terrible circumstance to praising God with his lips, his mouth, and his hands (vv. 3-5). Years ago, I heard someone say, “When the praises go up, the blessing come down.” How true!
David didn't depend on the tabernacle or its furnishings—in fact, he sent the ark back to Jerusalem (2 Sam. 15:24-29), but on the living God whose character and works were declared in those furnishings. Unlike the superstitious people of Judah in Jeremiah's day (Jer. 3:16; 7:1-16), David looked beyond material objects and saw spiritual realities. He had no priest or altar there, but he could lift his hands like the priests and bless the Lord and His people (Num. 6:22-27). His uplifted hands, though holding no sacrifice, signified his prayers and the love of his uplifted heart (Psalm 28:2; 141:2; 1 Tim. 2:8).
By faith David was under the wings of the cherubim in the Holy of Holies, protected from his foes (v. 7; 36:7). There in the wilderness, he had no sacrificial meal to enjoy, but his soul feasted on spiritual delicacies that even the priests were not permitted to eat (v. 5; Lev. 3:16-17). "Marrow and fatness" typify the very finest of food (Psalm 81:16; 147:14; Deut. 32:14; Isa. 25:6). Instead of complaining, as we are prone to do when things go wrong, David sang praises to the Lord.
Then in verses 6-8, David went from praising God to remembering and meditation on God. David's heart was at peace, and he was able to go to bed and calmly worship the Lord and meditate on Him (Psalm 3:5-6; 42:8). The phrase "earnestly seek" in verse 1 can mean "early will I seek." David did this both morning and evening. The phrase "remember God" means to recall what He has said and done in the past and apply it to our present situation (Psalm 42:6; 77:1-11; 105:1-5; 119:55).
It was because Israel forgot what God did, that they rebelled and disobeyed Him (Psalm 78:40-43; 106). Our God is I AM, not "I was," and He must always be recognized in our present situation. The Jews had three-night watches, from sunset to ten o'clock, from ten to two o'clock, and from two to sunrise, so whenever David awakened during the night, he immediately remembered the Lord. (Or it could mean he was awake all night, but not tossing and turning.) His bed was under the wings of the cherubim, and he felt secure as he meditated on the Lord (Psalm 16:7; 119:148; Deut. 6:4-9).
But David wasn't passive in his devotion, for he continued to cling to the Lord and rest in the safety of His right hand (Psalm 17:7; 18:35; 41:12). Faith without works is dead. Believers are safe in the hands of the Father and the Son (John 10:27-29), but that doesn't give us license to do foolish things that would endanger us. "My soul follows close behind You" is a literal translation of verse 8, including both submissive faith in God and active pursuit of God.
Today, in John 14, we also have the promise of Jesus that the Holy Spirit will indwell us, and when we follow His leading and sense His presence, we will enjoy His peace in whatever circumstance we might find ourselves in. “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).