The Thirsty Soul

Have you ever worked outside so long that you feel like you were dying of thirst? What you wouldn't give for a tall glass of ice water, something cold and wet to quench your thirst. Tea, coffee, pop and other beverages just won't do - water is the only thing on your mind.

This is the same feeling David writes about several places in the psalms. No matter his circumstance, no matter the current events in his life, the only thing that will satisfy the longings of his heart is God. He could try - and did try - other ways of quenching the thirst in his soul, but there was no substitute for standing in the presence of the Lord.

While there are several passages of Scripture where David talks about that thirst, one that stands out the most is Psalm 63. While running from his son Absalom and hiding out in the wilderness of Judah, the king writes words that lay aside the situation around him and put the focus on his need for God.

O GOD, thou art my God; early will I seek thee, my flesh length for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; Psalm 63:1

From the moment he woke up, David felt that longing in his heart to be near God. With every ounce of his being, he rose early and sought the presence of the Lord. There was no other water available in the drought of fleeing from danger, so he naturally turned to the God who promised to stand by David in every situation.

To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Psalm 63:2

David was about as far away from the temple as he could be, but he could still praise God for the power and glory He had shown no matter where David was. With no fellowship at the tabernacle, he could have been discouraged and disheartened, but he chose to reflect on what the Lord had already done in his life and how He had come through time after time.

Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Psalm 63:3

It would seem like David had a whole lot to praise God for right now, as he was hiding and running and hiding some more. But instead of dwelling on the terrible, negative situation he was in, David focused on the love and kindness God had lavished him with. Recognizing the extent of His love for this man after His own heart, David filled his mind and his words with praises to the almighty God.

Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. Psalm 63:4

There was no promise that this wouldn't be the last day of David's life. Absalom could catch up to him at any moment and kill him, or other enemies could find him while he was away from the holy city. Even in the face of potential danger around every corner, the king is filled with words of blessing and praise. This dark chain of events wasn't enough to stop David from giving God the glory and honor due Him.

My soul shall be satisfied as with morrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: Psalm 63:5

As if that weren't enough, he still has more words of praise. Two or three sentences of joy weren't enough, as David's heart was filled to overflowing and he couldn't keep it in. Instead of turning to the problem at hand and asking God to destroy the enemy - his son - he tells the Lord that it is well with his should because he had fellowship with his heavenly Father.

When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Psalm 63:6

All night long, in the darkest time of the day, David's mind is stayed on the Lord and His blessings. David would lay in bed at night and think back to all God had done in his life up to this point. These memories of God's goodness were assurance to his heart that what the Lord had done previously, He would do again in the present day. Through the night watches he would go over and over each blessing, meditating on every good thing that God had promised and performed. This was how David fell asleep and, as he said in verse 1, how he woke up.

Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. Psalm 63:7

While meditating on God's goodness, David came up with a litany of moments when He had helped him through difficult times. Because he had those events fresh in his mind, David was able to rest in peace in the shadow of God's wings knowing He would be the same today and forever as He had been every moment of the past. It was easier for David to face the future when he was fully aware and grateful for the blessings of the past.

My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me. Psalm 63:8

Here David returns to his first thought, that his thirsty soul only needed to follow after God to find refreshment. While his body was running hard to escape imminent death, his soul was following hard after the God who could actually do something about it. The right hand of the power and authority of the Lord would be David's salvation in the midst of chaos and danger.

But those that seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth. Psalm 63:9

Notice here that David won't even mention his son's name. He knows perfectly well that Absalom is the danger he is facing, but he only refers to him as "those who seek my soul." Imagine the pain this must have caused David when he prayed about his child, knowing that Absalom's evil heart would have to be judged.

They shall fall by the sword: they shall be a portion for foxes. Psalm 63:10

The truth can often be painful, but David is not afraid to ask God to deal with the situation as a just and honorable judge. He also knew that it would take something equally violent to stop the man determined to take the throne no matter who he had to run over to get it.

But the king shall rejoice in God; every one that sweareth by him shall glory: but the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped. Psalm 63:11

The true king, David, promises that he will rejoice in God no matter what the day might bring. He anticipated the glory and protection of the Lord in the midst of these trying times. He knew God would end the lies and deceit in David's family and trusted that he would be back in the place God had promised him so many years ago. For the reasons he wrote here, and so many that he didn't write down but pondered in his heart, David resolved to let God quench the thirst in his heart and then give Him all the honor and praise as He showered him with blessings all of his days, even this dark one.

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