Psalm 63: Thirsting for Righteousness
In many of David's psalms, he writes of His love for the Lord and all that is
His. This psalm is similar in that he writes of His thirsting for the Lord in
his soul and his longing for the Lord in his flesh. This thirst for the Lord
and for righteousness should be an identifying mark of the faithful and
dedicated disciple even today, for the one who desires to be the faithful
servant will strive to be the best he can be, do the most he can do, and serve
the Lord to the greatest measure; we must have a desire within us that cannot
be ignored, that must be satisfied, and that drives us to put forth a great
amount of energy and effort in seeking to have that desire fulfilled. The
psalmist is not painting a picture of a half-hearted disciple who occasionally
seeks the Lord and intermittently does His will; he writes as one who has an
intense drive within him that causes him to seek out these things and never
cease until it is accomplished.
As we look at Psalm 63, I believe we may see the traits of the diligent
servant of the Lord — the yearning he has for things righteous, the feelings
and praise he expresses for his Lord, and how those desires are fulfilled. In
these things, we should see ourselves; if not, let us strive, then, to be more
The first thing we note about the psalmist is that he considered God to be his
God (v. 1). He does not look at God as simply "a" God, and not even "the" God.
He writes of God as "my" God, indicating that God was someone for him, not
just some mysterious and unexplainable entity. God was his God and his
everything. In other places, psalmists would write of God being a rock and a
fortress, as well as his strength, shield, and salvation (Psa. 18:2) The
psalmist did not simply want to encourage others to know of God and His
greatness and his watchful care; he wants us to know that this one who can
provide such things was his God and the one in whom he trusted.
When you think about God or Jesus Christ, do you think of God being your God
and Jesus being your Savior? It is one thing to say God is God or even
Creator, but another to speak of Him as my God; it is one thing to speak of
Jesus and the great things He has done, but another to be able to speak of Him
as my Savior.
The next thing we note is that the psalmist’s search for the Lord and His
righteousness was his priority [“early will I seek You…”; v. 1]. This tells us
that the dedicated disciple becomes so after much time, commitment, and
effort. He did not simply wake up one day a committed disciple, but had
reached that point through many years and many trials. He got there by
beginning early! A faithful disciple is one who puts the will of his God first
in every aspect of his own life; he does not simply preach that others seek
out the Lord while he himself does nothing, but leads by example and seeks Him
out early himself. We must also recognize that his life as a servant to his
God and Lord will sometimes demand an organization of priorities, some of
which are not easy or pleasant to arrange. Jesus stated that the one “who
loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son
or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” (Matt. 10:37) Sometimes that
prioritizing demands we put family and friends second to our God, but it must
be done and the committed disciple does not hesitate.
The next thing we see is that complete desire for God [“My soul thirsts for
You; my flesh longs for you…”; v. 1] In expressing his desire for the Lord, he
leaves no part of his life untouched and saves no part of himself for selfish
pleasures. He desires God and righteousness in every part of his life — in the
spirit and in the flesh. He had taken to heart the command to love the Lord
with all his heart, soul and strength (Deut. 6:5), and it was seen by his
expression that God is his God and in his desire to put Him first in his life.
Finally, we see that God was his reason for offering praise (vv. 3-5), and his
cause for joy (v. 11). He was not afraid to praise God for all He had done,
but he was also unashamed to tell others, too (Psa. 40:10). He understood that
if it were not for that demonstration of mercy and pity upon us, we would be
destroyed, helpless and hopeless. Here, he basically states that he would
spend his lifetime in praise of his God, and he would find fulfillment and
satisfaction only in the best — in God.
The joy he found in his God caused him to wake even in the night and meditate
on His greatness. He had such a desire for his God and all things that were
His that he would follow the pattern of the godly man, meditating on His law
day and night (Psa. 1:2). He did not forget the Lord, even in the night: “My
eyes are awake through the night watches, that I may meditate on Your word.” (Psa.
119:148) He was ever ready to look to his God and His word.
As we consider these words, let us ask ourselves: Do we hunger and thirst for
righteousness? Do we long for the Lord with our soul and body, seeking Him
diligently? Is God your God? If so, great! If not, why not? Why not make the
Lord your God today?
By Steven C. Harper
From Expository Files 18.8; August 2011