Today we are beginning a study of Psalm 63. This blog will be posted the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month. We are taking a break from the “Encouraging a Depressed Friend” blog series because of the COVD-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. I believe we need to dig in to a scripture passage that allows us to express our pain as well as our hope and trust in God. Please share this with others. This is an important message for this distressing time in our history. Despite the events taking place around us, we can still experience the love and peace of God.
Psalm 63 Introduction
David, the shepherd boy turned future king, wrote Psalm 63 in the wilderness of Judah. He escaped to the wilderness several times, but we can consider two occasions when David may have written these beautiful words: when running from King Saul, or when hiding from his own son, Absalom.
A Psalm of David when he was in the wilderness of Judah.
Oh, God, You are my God. I shall seek You earnestly. My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. Thus, I have seen You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your gory. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips will praise You.
So I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth offers praises with joyful lips. When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches, for You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy. My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.
But those who seek my life to destroy it, will go into the depths of the earth. They will be delivered over to the power of the sword; they will be a prey for foxes. But the king will rejoice in God; everyone who swears by Him will glory, for the mouths of those who speak lies will be stopped.
Early in David’s service to King Saul, the king became jealous of David’s success as a military leader. The people’s victory chant taunted Saul: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” David had led the people to victory after victory. Saul’s victories paled in comparison. When Saul’s envy and rage grew to the boiling point, he threatened David’s life. David escaped into the desert with Saul and his troops chasing after him. Did David write this psalm during these dangerous days?
Later in David’s life, as King over Israel, he had a serious disagreement with his son, Absalom. Over several years, Absalom enacted a plan to woo the people away from David so he could eventually replace his father as king.
“Then a messenger came to David saying, ‘The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom.’ David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, ‘Arise and let us flee, for otherwise none of us will escape from Absalom.’” (2 Samuel 15:13-14a)
How heartbreaking for David’s own son to betray him. Could he have poured out the words to this psalm during this period of time?
Lessons from Saul and Absalom
Either of these two situations could be when David wrote the psalm, because the intent of the events is the same: David’s life was in danger and he fled to the wilderness to escape.
Have you ever felt as if your life was in danger? Did you experience a time when you wanted to escape? What happened? How was the situation resolved?
One lesson we learn from both Saul and Absalom is that they followed their own desires instead of turning to God for guidance. Saul had ignored God’s directions and became a would-be murderer of David. Absalom let his anger take control and waited for a time to strike down his own father. Both of these men were more obsessed with destroying David than keeping their eyes focused on God.
Jesus said, “Come to Me”
We may not have someone chasing us down, but with the situation in our world, we may feel as if we have to hide in isolation. In fact, many people have been told to stay home and only leave for essential purposes (doctor’s visits, grocery shopping, etc.). The situation can cause us to worry, be anxious, become depressed, and experience a myriad of other emotions. But we can trust God to get us through this. Keeping in tune with His presence and seeking His way first can help us find relief.
Jesus said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
It may be hard to believe that Jesus can make our load lighter. But He can. The burden does not go away, but we can share our trials with Him and as He takes the weight off our shoulders, we find peace.
Jesus said, “Do not worry.”
Jesus said, “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:31-34)
What are you afraid of or worried about today? How are you coping? Do you believe what Jesus teaches in the two verses above? In what ways can you show your trust in the Lord, and keep strong in your faith?
Jesus Saves our Lives
When we put God first, we can rest in His promise that He will share our load and meet our needs. Sometimes our needs are not met in the way we hope or expect. But, our greatest need is to experience life. Life in eternity with God where there will be no more pain or tears. This eternal life is a gift from God, through grace when we put our faith in Jesus Christ. I invite you to consider asking Jesus into your heart if you do not already have a relationship with Him. (Please leave a comment or send me a message if you would like to know more. email@example.com) You no longer need to feel guilty and ashamed for past behavior and sin. Rest in God’s forgiveness. He will walk beside you and He will never leave you or abandon you. God loves you more than you can comprehend.
“The Lord is the One who will go before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid or discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)
In what ways can you experience the presence of God? Through Bible study, nature, or other ways?
In the next blog on Psalm 63, we will look at verse 1. We will learn what it means to acknowledge God as ‘my’ God and earnestly seek Him. Please join me. (If you are interested in purchasing the Palm 63 workbook, please visit the Amazon page. Click here. )
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, you gave your life for me and I thank you for the grace you pour out every day. I thank you for the promise that you will never leave me or forsake me. Help me remember I do not need to escape, run away, or hide from the events in this world, because You are with me. Please be with all those affected by the virus. May we be safe and protected. May we experience your comfort and peace. Amen.