The Expository Files


Psalm 63: Thirsting for Righteousness

Psalm 63

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 like him.
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