Do me a favor and please read Psalm 63.
These opening 8 verses of Psalm 63 are some of the richest pieces of poetry that we have. They are words of comfort, words of hope, and words of passion. Honestly? They are words of life. Written by a man who knew of all the joys of life – and probably lived in quite a few of them – but here…he makes a stand. And what’s beautiful and heart-wrenching is that every word penned here is almost an opposite of what life has given to them and what they see. We have contrasts in the surroundings and we have contrasts in one’s needs…and we see those contrasts in these verses. But it is in the contrasts they find hope and this “longing” for God. While I do not have space to write all that I want – I do want to point out some of the contrasts.
First off, we see him speaking of “thirsting” for God. What a powerful image! If your Bible is like mine you probably have under the title “Psalm 63” “A psalm of David. When he was in the Desert of Judah” so you have this man in a dry and desolate place where there isn’t much life and there is absolutely no water above ground as they are all aquafers…and he speaks of “thirsting” for God. He doesn’t want water – he wants God. He doesn’t need water – he needs God. In a dry, arid death-trap of a land…where one must have water to survive…but water is not what is desired or wanted. God is.
But that’s not all. He then goes into the love that people often find that is outside of God… and he’s using them as examples and contrasts as well. There are these “things” we all proclaim that we need and yet we really don’t. Not in the end at least. Things that we crave that bring us love and joy – things we “desire” – and yet they are not God. David is using them as a simile without using them as a simile. He says that the love he receives from God is better than the richest of foods! Better than not only your favorite foods…but ALL foods! In fact…God’s love is so good, so full, so rich that it is better than life! So here is a guy, who could very easily be on the brink of not only starvation but dehydration…a man who could have food and water at his disposal to reinvigorate himself and come back to life…and he wants none of it. He says that God’s love is better than the food that could strengthen him and the water that could save him.
And then I’m struck by something that comes to us half way through verse 1…David says his “whole being longs for” God. What a powerful word. “Longing”… how we “long” for something. Desiring something so bad that it takes over you. It consumes your thoughts and cravings. So powerful…there is simply nothing else you can think about.
Longing for someone, longing for God is something that takes over your whole body. Nothing else matters, nothing else compares. David says we need none of the cravings and feelings of this world because none of those sustain you, none of those truly feed you, none of those give you true life. And when we look at the rest of this psalm we see other understandings of human longings that just don’t match when we compare it to the longing we have for God – that we SHOULD have for God.
So here is my question: Do you “long” for God? It’s a simple question really. And if not, if you don’t “long” for God…why not? What is going on in your life that is more important than Him?
What are you able to do here on earth that literally gives you life? What person in your life are you more passionate about and more in love with than God? What food or water are you able to consume that will sustain you forever? That doesn’t require you to return time and time again to it to get more and have more of it? Nothing! Life only comes to us from the source – from heaven. When it’s put into THAT perspective – then yeah…nothing does compare to our longing and need for God.
Col. 3:2 “Set your minds above, not on earthly things.” John 4:14 says that whoever drinks the water that Christ gives them shall never thirst again. Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied…” that doesn’t mean that you are satisfied with earthly things…but your need is satisfied IN CHRIST.
Do you long for God? Do you desire with every ounce of who you are to be in his presence, to feel his loving embrace, to know that eternity awaits you in his glory… or is it something we simply preach on Sunday? Something we tell our kids as we raise them and encourage them to believe and state themselves…but not really practice ourselves? When push comes to shove where exactly are YOU at here? Because we can, and do, get caught up in things of this world – we all know it – we all do it. And it’s understandable, it really is…but it doesn’t make it right.
God longed for you so much that he sent his One and only Son. A longing for your love, your presence, your relationship that he was willing to not only send his Son to die for your return…but a longing that willfully went forward with it as well. Do you long for him? Truly long for God? Because he longs for you. There are 66 books worth of a love letter that declare that love – and we just cracked a little of it in this psalm.