PSALM 63 TALK: THIRSTY SOUL’S SATISFIED

PSALM 63 TALK: THIRSTY SOUL’S SATISFIED

(A Psalm that explores why we are often spiritually thirsty and how we can find God’s refreshment for our thirsty/ hungry souls)

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INTRODUCTION

I’m sure we all can tell stories of how we were once very thirsty or hungry and how wonderful it was when were able to quench that thirst or hunger. The bible teaches that as living human beings we not only can be physically thirsty but we can and do suffer from “Spiritual thirst”.

I read posts on face book and over hear conversations of people that touch on how they have a desperate need for purpose, meaning and contentment in there lives and I know what they are suffering from, Spiritual thirst.

Rick Warren in and article called, “How To Satisfy Your Spiritual Thirst” says this,

“If you feel unsatisfied with your life and you want to live a fulfilled, meaningful life, you need to stop looking for satisfaction somewhere besides Jesus.”

Jesus said to the Samaritan women, who he met at a well,

“But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4: 14)

What the heck is Jesus telling this woman?

I believe he is telling this simple Samaritan women who like all of us was a sinner and who suffered deep spiritual thirst his promise of spiritual satisfaction and nourishment namely his gift of forgiveness and eternal life. Jesus in the previous chapter told the spiritually thirsty Pharisee Nicodemus,

“I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” (John 3: 3)

Jesus goes on to explain this a little further in verse 5 and 6 with these words,

“I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Sprit gives birth to spirit”.

So when we put our faith and trust in Jesus he gives us the gift of his new life giving Spirit, which is his spiritual water.

Psalm 63, I believe, features the theme of spiritual thirst and the gift of Spiritual satisfaction and nourishment that only God can give. David suffered, I believe both physical and Spiritual thirst when he un-expectantly had to flee from his rebellious son Absalom and ended up in the wilds of the northern desert area of Judah with little food and water.

As he and his large group of family and close friends faced death from not only the cruel hands of Absalom but also thirst and starvation David wrote this Psalm.

The Hebrew heading at the top of this Psalm reads,

“A psalm of David, when he was in the desert of Judah”

We know this was written after he became king of Israel because verse 11 of the Psalm says,

“But the king will rejoice in God”

Meaning he was already king and so the events in 2 Samuel 15 – 17 which are about the Absalom rebellion and David’s fleeing to the desert areas of Northern Judah and the western banks of the Jordon fit well with this Psalm. David does not die of thirst or hunger as a number of people come to his aid but the danger and difficulty of David’s situation is illustrated well by these words in 2 Samuel 16: 14,

“The king and all the people with him arrived at their destination exhausted. And there he refreshed himself”.

So David initially when he was on the run from Absalom would have felt physical thirst in such a dry waterless place but from the opening words of Psalm 63 he also felt great spiritual thirst.

However we will see how David re-discovers the gift of spiritual satisfaction and nourishment that only God can give and I hope in opening up this Psalm and other relevant scripture you too may learn how you can find this as well.

My headings also contain a question, as I believe David answers 4 great questions concerning the refreshment of thirsty souls in this Psalm:

  1. THE THIRSTY SOUL (vs. 1)

 Why do we often suffer from spiritual thirst?

  1. THE THIRSTY SOUL SATISFIED (2 – 8)

How can we find satisfaction for our thirsty souls?

  1. THE SATISFIED THIRTY SOUL’S ATTACKERS (9 – 10)

Why do people with thirsty souls sometimes attack people with satisfied souls and what will ultimately happen to these attackers?

  1. THE THIRSTY SOUL’S SATISFIED CALLING (vs. 11)

What is God’s calling for people who have thirsty soul’s satisfied?

  1. THE THIRST SOUL (vs. 1)

 Why do we often suffer from spiritual thirst?

The first verse of this wonderful Psalm contains both a description of the sate of David’s heart and soul at the time of his initial fleeing from his rebellious son Absalom and the answer to our first question:

Why do we often suffer from spiritual thirst?

My headings for David’s answer to this question is twofold:

  1. Sin separates us from God (1)
  2. Sin disrupts our lives (1)
  1. Sin separates us from God (1a)

The state of every person’s soul without Christ is that they are all thirsty or unsatisfied because as some have said we have a Spiritual hole in our hearts and soul’s that only God can fill. Paul makes it clear in a number of places the state of everyone’s heart and soul is that they a dead like a person spiritually parched and barren. As he says in Ephesians 2: 1 – 3,

“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, In which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath”.

As we read in my introduction Jesus made it clear to the Samaritan women at the well that her great spiritual thirst could only be quenched or satisfied by him. Her spiritual thirst was a result of her sin as he says to her in John 4: 17 -18,

“Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is true.”

The women later indicates she did receive from Jesus the life-giving water of forgiveness by the way she goes to the people of her home town and tells them to,

“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ? They came out of the town and made their way toward him”. (John 4: 29)

As David fled his palace and raced with a large group of family and close friends into the desert area’s of northern Judah he wrote,

“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water”.

The point of David’s answer to the question:

Why do we often suffer from spiritual thirst?

Is that sin separates us from God.

David knew God in his life in a sure and certain way as he writes in this verse,

“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you”.

So why does he go on to say:

“I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you”.

The answer to this is why David is on the run from Absalom his very own son which is because of his serious sins years before of Adultery and murder. Yes David knew God and earnestly sought him but like all of us he was still a sinner in need of God’s constant forgiveness and love.

In 2 Samuel 12: 11 – 12 the prophet Nathan after revealing God’s knowledge of David’s sins says this to him,

“This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’”

Around the time of David writing this Psalm Absalom for filled Nathan prophecy and openly had sexual relations with some of David’s wives and of course the calamity of his own household also includes the rebellion of Absalom and the need for David to flee for his life into the desert area’s of Northern Judah.

David like any of us can feel the deliberating effects of sin, which feels like a great thirst, or hunger deep within us. Only God himself can quench this great thirst. As Jesus claimed in John 7: 37 – 38,

“On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them”.

Only Jesus can offer the forgiveness of sins we need because he took our sins to the cross and dealt with them. As Peter clearly says in 1 Peter 2: 24,

“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”

  1. Sin disrupts our lives (1)

As I have already pointed out David was experiencing his great thirst and danger owing to his past sins of adultery and murder but the one who for filled the prophecy of this great calamity as Nathan put it was non other than Absalom David’s much loved oldest son.

So we sometimes get into a thirsty spiritual place because of other peoples’ sins that have an impact on our lives.

We are not living in a perfect world but a sinful fallen world. Paul speaks of even the natural world being effected by sinful mankind with these words in Romans 8: 19 – 21,

“For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God”.

I think David’s words at the end of verse one capture both a physical and spiritual description of David’s life at the time he wrote this Psalm,

“In a dry and weary land where there is no water”.

Derek Kidner makes the physical and spiritual connection of this description of David’s current place of abode with these words,

“The implication is that the longing which this desolate spot arouses is only the surface of a much deeper desire”.

So often we feel emotionally and spiritually down because of the mess either our sins or some one else’s sins has created for us. Like a car crash caused by another drivers drinking problem or an assault by someone because they are high on drugs or just a family feud caused by a selfish sinful member of the family assisting on their own way.

We can feel like David in these situations spiritually thirsty needing his life-giving water or spirit to give us satisfaction and refreshment. David, I believe wrote the first verse of this Psalm in that dry desert all around him and feeling the effects of physical thirst he recognized his deeper spiritual thirst created by his own past sins and the current sins of his son Absalom.

Peter writes in 1 Peter 2: 2 about what we should do when we feel the same as David did in that desert area long ago,

“Like new born babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”

  1. THE THIRSTY SOUL SATISFIED (2 – 8)

How can we find satisfaction for our thirsty souls?

So David felt very low both physically and spiritually as he tried to survive with his family and close friends in that dry and weary desert area of Northern Judah. As an Australian I have travelled through dry unforgiving desert area’s of this country and even though there is a strange rugged beauty there I’m sure if I was left in that sort of place with little support and provisions I would soon feel very lost and deserted.

However David quickly snaps out of his feelings of physical and spiritual thirst and his words of the next seven verses that follow verse 1 reveal how he found satisfaction for his thirsty soul.

I have divided this second section up into three parts which all relate to the answer of the question:

How can we find satisfaction for our thirsty souls?

  1. Renewed vision of God (2 – 3)
  2. Renewed commitment to God (4 – 6)
  3. Renewed relationship with God (7 – 8)
  1. Renewed vision of God (2- 3)

I once heard someone say in my Bible College days that if your faith in God is small what you need is a bigger view of God. I think that nails down a very real problem many people have with the concept of God, their view of God is too small. He, to them, is that big over grown man in the sky who like them suffers from the same basic weaknesses we all have of hate and anger.

The ancient God myths of the Greeks saw their God’s this way and when people dismiss the idea of God as irrelevant or outmoded they too demonstrate that their puny concept of God is nothing like the God we encounter in the bible and their view of God is really just a modern form of Greek God myth.

As David contemplated his desperate situation in the desert he felt spiritually thirsty but then he thought more about the God he really knew and he writes in verse 2,

“I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory”.

The sanctuary was of course back in Jerusalem and it was in David’s day nothing more than a large tent that symbolised and embodied the covenant agreement of God and his special people Israel. David realised that the God of the sanctuary was not bound or limited by that structure as some might think today that God is bound up in some magnificent building like a cathedral.

Spurgeon pin – points the relevance of David’s words in verse 2 with the following words,

“He (David) longed not so much to see the sanctuary as to see his God; he looked through the veil of ceremonies to the invisible One”.

Large buildings like cathedrals personally do not move me they leave my heart and soul cold and empty. However when I stand on some kind of natural lookout and view the magnificent scenery below me of forest or sea I am moved to think of how great and glorious is the one who made all this. My heart and soul is moved to acknowledge God’s power and glory.

However I know that many more people can stand on that same lookout and not see the God I know is behind it. They might say something like isn’t mother – nature beautiful or isn’t evolution wonderful.

No, we all get a much clearer vision of God from the same place David got his from.

David’s vision of God came simply from the revealed word of God that even the sanctuary was created from. All of the religious symbols of that sanctuary and later Temple came from that revealed word of God. The very centre of the Sanctuary contained the Ark of the Covenant and that contained the tables of stone given to Moses on the top of Mount Sinai, which God himself wrote on them the basis of his agreement with his people the 10 Commandments, or the law.

From Genesis right through to the book of Revelation God’s power and glory can be seen. He is the God who simply spoke and this world was made, he is the God who revealed himself to Moses at the burning bush as the great “I am who I am” or eternal one and he is the God who revealed himself in Jesus who is according to John chapter one the word become flesh. John 1: 14 simply says,

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

David seems to snap out of his spiritual thirst with this renewed vision of God that continues in verse 3,

“Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you”.

Some people even Christians believe that the Old Testament only reveals the God of righteous anger and the New Testament reveals the God of love. Nothing could be further from the truth as David over and over again spoke of God as both, a God of Righteousness and Judgment and a God of great love.

Here in this Psalm he claims that God’s love is better than life. Spurgeon again eloquently explains the meaning of this expression with these words,

“To dwell with God is better than life at its best; life at ease, in a palace, in wealth, in honor  in pleasure; yea, a thousand lives are not equal to the eternal life which abides in Jehovah’s smile”.

I like Spurgeon’s expression, “Jehovah’s smile” as it captures so well the love of God. Yes he is angry at the sins of the world and he must judge it but his righteous anger and love leads him to send Jesus to pay the penalty for our sins on the cross.

If you want to see a great vision of God as the God of power, glory, judgment and love you need to look at Jesus on the cross because their all those wonderful qualities of God are clearly seen.

As all the New Testament writers referred to the cross as the place that we see both the wrath of God and the love of God at the same time. As we read so beautifully in Hebrews 2: 9,

“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone”.

Or as we see in the simple words of advice from Paul to the Thessalonians in 1 Thessalonians 5: 9 – 10,

For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him”.

The God of the bible is so different than any man or women who has ever lived accept Jesus his Son come down to earth and became a man. He is so awesome and powerful because he made this world and the entire universe. He is so glorious because he sits in heaven and rules over everything with righteousness and holiness. He so loves because he sent his only son into this world so that through his death on the cross we might have eternal life with him now and in heaven when we pass from this life to the next.

No wonder David’s renewed vision of God led him to say,

“My lips will glorify you”.

So the first answer to the question,

How can we find satisfaction for our thirsty souls?

Is we need to get a renewed vision of God from his revealed word the bible and I hope that something of what I have just presented from God’s word is just that for you, a renewed vision of the great powerful, glorious and loving God of the bible.

  1. Renewed commitment to God (4 – 6)

Someone once said to me if you feel far away from God, guess who moved. Maybe David in verse one had let the very real and terrible situation he found himself in the desert of Northern Judah get the best of him. His circumstances started to overwhelm him and cause him to feel that God had deserted him out there in the desert.

We have just read that he had just remembered his great vision of God he had often realised in the Sanctuary, which I proposed was merely an Old Testament way of saying he gained a renewed vision of God from God’s revealed word.

Now David takes the next step and writes in verse 4,

“I will praise you as long as I live and in your name I will lift up my hands”.

This to me is David recommitting his life to God in service and worship. I read recently in my church bulletin of how 85 of our churches Youth and Youth leaders attended a major Youth Convention and that over the weekend of that convention attended by Youth from many other churches in Sydney some 29 young people came to Christ. However it also said that some 142 young people recommitted their lives to Christ during the weekend.

God had not left the lives of those 142 young people but they had turned away from God and let me tell you, for I did that as a young person myself, those young people would have suffered great spiritual thirst and hunger.

So like David those 142 young people renewed their commitment to serving and praising God and this I believe led them to experience again Spiritual thirst satisfaction or refreshment that God can only give.

I know this because David tells us exactly that in the next verse, verse 5,

“My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you”.

David’s reference to the lifting up of his hands in worship is an interesting and often grossly miss understood concept. I have been in churches where people lift up their hands in worship. I personally see nothing wrong with this but I must say that what David is saying is little to do with our current day practice of lifting hands in worship.

Derek Kidner points out that lifting up hands is more to do with the lifting up of our eyes in prayer to God in heaven. He quotes two verses here:

  1. John 17: 1:

“After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed”.

And

  1. Psalm 28: 2:

“Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place”.

Finally Paul tells Timothy this in 1 Timothy 2: 8,

“I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing”.

So this lifting of hands seems to be a custom of the Jewish worship service that the early Christians still continued in this aspect but it was not when people were necessarily expressing praise as practiced today but was part of prayer directed to God above as Jesus did in John 17: 1 and as David seems to be doing in Psalm 28: 2.

We too must adopt this as an attitude of prayer which means we must direct our prayer and devotion to God as we regularly renew our commitment to praise and service to him.

If we do this David says:

“My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you”.

I love the elegant explanation of Spurgeon on this when he writes,

“There is in the love of God a richness, a sumptuousness, a fullness of soul filling joy, comparable to the richest food with which the body can be nourished”.

I like most people love a good feed as some put it.

I have travelled to many parts of the world and enjoyed some wonderful cuisine that is both rich and sumptuous but no food can compare with the wonderful spiritual nourishment of the fellowship I have experienced with Christians from the many counties I have had the privilege of visiting.

Heaven is often expressed in the New Testament as like attending a great and wonderful feast but I wonder if it is food that is the image drawn on here but rather the sweet and satisfying fellowship such feasting gatherings can bring. I believe our most spiritually satisfying Christian gatherings will not compare to the greater gatherings in heaven with all believers and with God himself in our presence in heaven.

David completes this word on recommitment with a strange verse, verse 6 that reads like this,

“On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night”.

It looks like David is telling us just what time of the day he composed this Psalm or song. He was lying on his bed in the night out there in the desert reflecting on his plight and on his knowledge of God when he suddenly broke into song with this amazing Psalm.

I can remember in years past waking up in the middle of the night thinking over a current sin or problem and after turning to God in prayer receiving from God’s Holy Spirit new insight and satisfaction. Sometimes my sinful actions that might have caused me to wake up was not resolved in my heart and mind that night but still the experience of reflecting on it in the quiet stillness of a dark night has helped me begin the process of confession and reconciliation to God through the death of Christ on the cross.

So the second answer to the question:

How can we find satisfaction for our thirsty souls?

Is to after gaining a renewed vision of God from his word we must then respond to that with a renewed commitment to God in praise and service. I like the encouraging and instructive words of commitment of James in James 4: 7 – 10 to finish thus second section,

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

  1. Renewed relationship with God (7 – 8)

David’s third and final answer to the question:

How can we find satisfaction for our thirsty souls?

Is found in verses 7 – 8 of this great Psalm, which I believe, speaks of a renewed relationship with God. As a very young Christian I was greatly helped by the book by Fritz Ridenour called “How to be a Christian without being Religious”.

One reviewer of this book on the Internet wrote this about this book,

“Since the days of the early church, Christians have struggled to find a way to be “good”–to please God by their own efforts. They end up carrying a burden God never intended them to bear. And what’s more, their brand of Christianity ends up looking like any other religion of the world–bound by joyless rules and rituals. Fritz Ridenour’s study of the book of Romans provides an antidote to the pharisaical spirit and shows that Christianity is not a religion but a relationship. It is not people reaching up, but God reaching down. All Christians can enjoy their birthright when they realise who they are in Christ. The result is a life full of hope, joy, power, and potential”.

David is speaking about his renewed relationship with God in verses 7 and 8,

“Because you are my help I sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me”.

I think David is spelling out three things about his relationship with God in these two verses:

  1. God helps and cares for David (vs. 7)
  2. God is who David clings to for help and care (8a)
  3. God promises to uphold those who cling to him (8b)
  1. God helps and cares for David (vs. 7)

As David lay on his bed that night when he was out in the desert area of Northern Judah he realised that even then God had not deserted him and that by his loving hands he would be delivered from the hands of his rebellious son Absalom. God had probably by this stage led people like Mephibosheth who we read about in 2 Samuel 16 to provide David with Donkeys, food and wine to physically assist David and his family and close friends as they fled from Absalom.

David recognizes God’s hand in David’s help with the words of verse 7,

“Because you are my help I sing in the shadow of your wings”.

In Psalm 61 verse 4 David prayed:

“I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings”.

Now he acknowledges that he is indeed “in the shadow of your wings”. This is of course is a poetic description of God or we are to think that God is a chicken. No God’s help and protection is like being protected like a chicken or hen pulls its young chicks under the safe protecting cover of its wings.

This an expression David has referred to also in a Psalm in Book one of Psalms namely Psalm 17: 8,

“Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings”.

In my Psalm talk on Psalm 17 I pointed out that both the concept of “the apple of your eye” and “the shadow of your wings” comes from a song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32: 10 – 11, which reads,

“In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye, Like an eagle that stirs up its nest
 and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them
 and carries them aloft”.

 Both these expressions are a plea from David to be drawn close to God to have his help and protection just a Moses sang about how God was close to his people, Israel as Moses turned over the leadership of the people to Joshua. He no doubt had in mind how God helped and saved the people from the destruction by the Egyptians and other foreign nations in the time of the wandering in the wilderness or desert.

Interestingly David is in danger with his people in a desert and he like Moses acknowledges God’s special help and protection in recent times and by faith in times to come.

So God’s help and care for David and his family and close followers are the first part of his relationship with God, which I’m suggesting, brings a person satisfaction for their thirsty souls.

Jesus promises us the same close relational help and protection in passages like Matthew 11: 28 – 29,

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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”.

  1. God is who David clings to for help and care (8a)

David completes his word on the renewal of our relationship with God with an amazing verse that Derek Kidner calls,

“A divine interplay”

That divine interplay starts with David’s side or our side,

“My soul clings to you”

 The key word here to understand what David is really saying is “Cling” and we can see from three different translations of these words what David is really saying,

Jubilee Bible 2000 : “My soul has followed hard after thee”.

NET Bible: “My soul pursues you”.

Youngs Literal Translation: “Cleaved hath my soul after Thee”

Kidner picks up the last translation word, “Cleave” and shows how this same word has been used in a number of other Old Testament passages. Here are two that shad light on David’s use of the word.

The first is Deuteronomy 10: 20,

Fear the Lord your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name”.

 Note here the word cleave is “Hold fast to him” and is part of God’s covenantal relationship requirements for his people, Israel.

Then, Ruth 1: 14,

“At this they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her”.

 Now we have the “cling” or “Clung” translation of the word which is the most common word chosen for Psalm 63: 8 but here we have a powerful picture of the faithful daughter –in– law hanging on to her mother-in- law and not letting her go a picture of her loving devotion to her.

David sets us then the same devoted loving image of his relationship with his God who is not some kind of cold mysterious force but a real “person” who is very real and true to David.

Amazingly David is 700 years ahead of his time because the presentation of faith in God in the New Testament is one of a relationship with a God who is a very real person in the form of his only son Jesus Christ. He calls us to a real and close loving relationship with him by faith and we see this in passages like Ephesians 3:16-19,

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God”.

 So from our side of the relationship with God we must “Cling to”, “Follow”, “and Pursue” or as Paul put it in the passage above, “Dwell in” Christ our Lord and Saviour.

 

Maybe we could be like Ruth was with her mother-in law who she loved and who she clung to or hung on to and would not let her go. We need to hang on to God and not let him go.

 

  1. God promises to uphold those who cling to him (8b)

The other side of the relationship of course is God and his part in that relationship is in verse 8b,

 

“Your right hand upholds me”.

 This seems a simple statement but more can be gained from it once the term, “right hand” is understood. Derek Kdner says this about this term,

 

“The firmness of his (God) upholding grasp is implied in the allusion to the right hand, the stronger of the two”.

 Kidner then quotes Isaiah 41: 10 to illustrate the significance of this term,

 

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand”.

 I really like Leupold’s comment on this,

 

“As man struggles along he will always find great comfort in the experience that the hand of one who is stronger than himself will not let him fall”.

 The two sides of our relationship with God is beautifully expressed by Paul in Philippians 2: 12 – 13,

 

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose”.

 We might say that we need to hang onto God because he is hanging on to us or to put it another way God is hanging on to us so we need to hang on to him. I think both ways of putting it are biblically true. God, through Christ and his Holy Spirit wants to have a close and personal relationship with us.

This idea that the Christian faith is not a religion but a relationship transforms our lives and faith in God. Prayer is not a ritual but is a conversation with God as we speak to him and he speaks to us through his word, the Bible and through other means like other people and our inner thoughts. Serving or ministry is not a religious chore or earn yourself points to go to heaven but a joyful partnership and even an adventure in some ways as we follow the leading of his Holy Spirit into all kinds of fruitful activities. Finally the church is not some kind of cold anonymous building full of boring rituals but is now a loving family of brothers and sisters who care for one another and who often get together to serve and worship our Lord and Saviour.

Indeed if we want the fruits of true spiritual nourishment and real heart-felt satisfaction than we need to renew and enjoy a close relationship with God through faith in his Son Jesus Christ. I close this second section with part of the quote I made earlier on the book review of “How to be a Christian without being Religious”.

Fritz Ridenour’s study of the book of Romans provides an antidote to the Pharisaic spirit and shows that Christianity is not a religion but a relationship. It is not people reaching up, but God reaching down. All Christians can enjoy their birthright when they realise who they are in Christ. The result is a life full of hope, joy, power, and potential”.

  1. THE SATISFIED THIRTY SOUL’S ATTACKERS (9 – 10)

 Why do people with thirsty souls sometimes attack people with satisfied souls and what will ultimately happen to these attackers?

The title to this section might seem odd and a bit contrived but I hope you will see that it makes a lot of sense after you have read my explanation of verses 9 and 10.

 

David’s enemies and their attack of David and his family and close followers is always lurking at the back of this Psalm and most of his many other Psalms. In fact if David was not so viciously and regularly attacked by enemies both outside of Israel and inside it he probably would have not have written as many Psalms as he did and some of the most beautiful expressions of faith in God that we have in the Psalms would not have ever been written down for us to read.

Spurgeon in his introduction to Psalm 59 makes this very insightful comment,

“Strange that the painful events in David’s life should end in enriching the repertoire of the national minstrelsy. Out of a sour, ungenerous soil spring up the honey bearing flowers of psalmody. Had he never been cruelly hunted by Saul, Israel and the church of God in after ages would have missed this song”.

Of course this Psalm did not spring from his struggles with Saul as he sought to hunt David down to kill him but rather when David got to the later part of his life and he was being hunted down by his very own son Absalom.

I think verses 9 and 10 provide us with an answer to the question:

Why do people with thirsty souls sometimes attack people with satisfied souls and what will ultimately happen to these attackers?

These verses read like this,

“They who seek my life will be destroyed; they will go down to the depths of the earth. They will be given over to the sword and become food for jackals”.

You might ask what do these verses say about why David was attacked?

My answer to there are two things:

  1. The words in verse 9, “they who seek my life’” and the words in verse 11, “the mouths of liars will be silenced”
  1. The principle theme of book 1 and 2 of Psalms that speaks of the opposition

to the Lords anointed stated in Psalm 2: 2.

Lets look at the first reason then of the words in verse 9, “they who seek my life’” and the words in verse 11, “the mouths of liars will be silenced”.

David sought to serve God and he lived that out for the most part of his life and those even in his own family like Absalom his son who did not have this inner life satisfaction led them to want to destroy David and to do they even used lies and deceit to do so.

I call this “the kicking against the goads” principle. To explain this I would like to quote a man named Chuck Swindoll who says this about this term,

 

 

“Apparently, ‘to kick against the goads” was a common expression found in both Greek and Latin literature – a rural image, which rose from the practice of farmers goading their oxen in the fields. Though unfamiliar to us, everyone in that day understood its meaning.

Goads were typically made from slender pieces of timber, blunt on one end and pointed on the other. Farmers used the pointed end to urge a stubborn ox into motion. Occasionally, the beast would kick at the goad. The more the ox kicked, the more likely the goad would stab into the flesh of its led, causing it pain”.

This expression is found in Acts 9: 5 as some translations like the King James 200 bible version add this expression to Jesus words about why Saul was persecuting him,

“And he said, who are you, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom you persecute: it is hard for you to kick against the goads”.

Other translations change “goads” to “pricks” and this expression explains why Saul who became Paul went out of his way to harm Christians before he was converted to the faith. As it was in David’s day so it has always been some people simply just cannot stand the obvious satisfaction and joy many people have in a faith they simply despise. This can lead them to strike out against those who have this satisfied faith and in some cases like David’s enemies cause them to want to seek the end to their lives and to use lies and deceit to discredit them.

The second reason for David’s opposition is the principle theme of book 1 and 2 of Psalms that speaks of the opposition to the Lords anointed stated in Psalm 2: 2. That verse reads like this,

“The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed”.

David was of course the Lord’s anointed King so the deeper reason for the great opposition David faced both outside of Israel and within it came because of rebellion against the true God of Heaven and earth which was inspired and often empowered by the Satan and which led to all kinds of vicious attacks on David.

However Psalm 2 also says that God will protect his anointed one and will ultimately over throw all opposition to him and his anointed one. We read this in Psalm 2: 4 – 6,

“The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. He rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, “I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.”

 In Psalm 63 this ultimate defeat of God and David’s enemies is described in the words of verse 9 and 10,

 

“They who seek my life will be destroyed; they will go down to the depths of the earth. They will be given over to the sword and become food for jackals”.

The expression “they will go down to the depths of the earth’ is probably a poetic reflection of what happened to Korah and his followers who opposed Moses leadership of the people of Israel when they wandered around in the wilderness recorded in Numbers 16: 31 – 34,

 

“As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their households, and all those associated with Korah, together with their possessions. They went down alive into the realm of the dead, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community. At their cries, all the Israelites around them fled, shouting, “The earth is going to swallow us too!”

David in verse 10 probably describes less poetically what actually happened to his Son Absalom and his followers as it says,

“They will be given over to the sword and become food for jackals”.

It was not long after this that Absalom and his army was defeated in battle and he and that army would lie dead on the battlefield leaving their bodies as food for scavenger animals like jackals.

The fate of all those who refuse to accept God’s gift of eternal life through faith in his Son, Jesus Christ is the same they will be destroyed in the final judgment of God. Jesus spoke a lot about this in his ministry on earth and no better illustration of this is Matthew 24: 27 – 31,

“For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather. Immediately after the distress of those days “‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the people’s of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other”.

Note how Jesus says that when he comes, “all the people’s of the earth will mourn” in other places he speaks of people weeping and gnashing teeth. This reaction will be of course the reaction of those who have rejected God and Christ in their lives. On the other side, those who have turned to God through Christ will react with great joy as Jesus says in Luke 6: 23,

“Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven”.

We will see this also in Psalm 63 in the last verse in the next and last section of this Psalm talk.

So David faced great opposition from outside Israel and within because of his connection to the true and living God as God’s anointed king. Also because of this those who refused to accept God’s Lordship in their lives kicked against the goad’s or fought against this Lordship of God by striking out against God’s loyal followers and this led to David’s persecution.

This same problem existed for Jesus, God’s ultimate anointed king of everything and this led to the violent death of Jesus on the cross. This “kicking against the goads” continues for all who follower Jesus even those today.

In some places in the world today Christians are being jailed or worst killed for their allegiance to Christ.

So far as the opposition and even persecution coming from our fellow family members like David experienced of Absalom Jesus predicted this as well for his faithful followers in Matthew 10: 34 – 36,

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household”.

Such is the tragedy of people not accepting the wonderful thirst-quenching message of Jesus gift of eternal life for us. David felt the full force of the reality of Jesus words in his day through his eldest son Absalom. Jesus during his ministry felt it from his family members as well although in the post resurrection period some of Jesus brothers feature prominently as early church leaders like his half-brother James.

All though history and even today families, including my own experience the pain and difficulty of family members rejecting the claims and gift of Christ and the problems and difficulties this can cause is great. However we need to keep praying, loving and witnessing to our not saved members of our families holding out the positive life-giving message of the gospel.

  1. THE THIRSTY SOUL’S SATISFIED CALLING (vs. 11)

What is God’s calling for people who have thirsty soul’s satisfied?

I ended the last section of this Psalm talk on how we need to keep praying, loving and witnessing to our un-saved family members and this is a good way of starting this final section on answering the question:

What is God’s calling for people who have thirsty soul’s satisfied?

David closes this Psalm 63 with these words,

“But the king will rejoice in God; all who swear by God’s name will praise him, while the mouths of liars will be silenced”.

I think this last verse answers the question what is God’s calling for people who have thirsty soul’s satisfied? With two important aspects:

  1. God wants our allegiance
  2. God wants our praise
  1. God wants our allegiance

David faced a very real rebellion to his rule in the time of Absalom rebellion. From the 2 Samuel text most of the people were not happy with David’s rule and believed the treacherous lies of Absalom. However there were many who remained faithful to David and his divine given rule of Israel.

David had with him many loyal family members and close friends and on his flight from Jerusalem many other loyal followers supported him. A large army of these loyal followers eventually defeated Absalom and his army.

So the question of people’s allegiance to David and to the God he followed was crucial at this time. David made it clear where his allegiance lay with the opening words of this verse saying,

“But the king will rejoice in God”.

I like Spurgeon’s comments on this phrase,

“Usurpers shall fade, but he shall flourish; and his prosperity shall be publicly acknowledged as the gift of God. The Lord’s anointed shall not fail to offer his joyful thanksgiving: his well established throne shall own the superior lordship of the King of kings, his rejoicing shall be alone in God”.

So David as it were, “lays his cards on the table” as he speaks of his praise and worship of his God.

Now in the middle of this very real rebellion he asks for the same allegiance to his God from his people,

“All who swear by God’s name”.

Spurgeon explains the concept of swearing by your God with these words,

“Swearing by him”, ‘May signify adherence to God, and worship paid to him. The heathen swore by their God’s, and the Israelites called Jehovah to witness to his asseveration”.

So the first calling of those who’s souls have been satisfied by faith in God is to give him their undivided allegiance. I really like the words of allegiance to God by Joshua towards the end of his life in Joshua 24: 15,

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

God wants this same kind of allegiance from us as we see in Paul’s words in Colossians 3: 1 – 3,

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God”.

Note our allegiance according to Paul is simply our response to what God has done for us, which in this passage is expressed as being raised with Christ.

Paul always made it clear that he and anyone else cannot boast of what they had done to deserve salvation or favour from God as we are saved by grace as he says clearly in Ephesians 2: 8 – 10,

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”.

So the first calling for those who’s souls have been satisfied by God’s gift of grace is allegiance or commitment to that great God of grace.

  1. God wants our praise

The second part to the answer to the question:

What is God’s calling for people who have thirsty soul’s satisfied?

Is he wants our praise because the complete sentence in verse 11 of Psalm 63 says,

“All who swear by God’s name will praise him”.

I have mentioned in other Psalm talks the first question and answer to the Westminster Catechism, which comes from the wonderful biblical statement of faith called the Westminster Confession is,

What is the chief end of man?


A Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever”.

This is a great liberating and amazing summary of what the bible teaches about our calling or response to what God has done for us in Christ. We see this for instance in a verse like Hebrews 13: 15,

“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name”.

So often Christian witness has failed because it lacked joy and praise to our God but I believe if we go into this world with the positive message of the Gospel declared with great joy and praise we will have a greater impact.

God has done so much for us in Christ and the right response to that is expressed so well in Paul’s words at the start of Romans 12: 1,

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship”.

Finally the Psalm ends with a warning to those who refuse to turn to God and continue to oppose him,

“While the mouths of liars will be silenced”.

The Gospel message is a positive message of great hope and love but it also is a message that if rejected sounds out a great warning. Many people quote the great positive message of love in John 3: 16 but most do not continue the message of this passage that continues in verses 17 to 18,

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son”.

David’s son Absalom and his followers spoke many liars to deceive the people into rebellion against his father rule but the day is coming soon when his mouth and the mouths of his followers will be silenced forever.

This again is the message of judgment that continually appears in the Psalms and right throughout the bible but the Gospel message is expressed so well in the famous John 3: 16 verse I just referred to that says,

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”.

What will be your response to this thirst quenching soul satisfying message?

Allegiance and praise or rebellion and liars?

I close this talk as I usually do with a poem and a prayer:

 

I THIRST FOR YOU OH LORD

(Based on Psalm 63)

 Oh God you are my Lord

I seek you to be free

My heart is so dry and yearns

For you to refresh me.

 

My soul thirst for you Oh Lord

My body longs to be

Free from this weary world

That sometimes turns on me.

 

Chorus:

 

I thirst for you Oh Lord

I hunger for your love

You sent your Son to die for me

You’ve saved me Lord above

You’ve quenched my thirst with love.

 

I’ve seen you in the sanctuary

Of heaven in your word

You sit up there in glory

Your power is seen and heard.

 

I will praise you with my lips Oh Lord

I will lift up my hands in praise

For your grace satisfies my soul

I’ll sing for you all my days.

 

Chorus:

 

I remember you on my bed Oh Lord

In the darkness of the night

I know you have helped me Lord

Upholding me with your might.

 

I will cling to your cross Oh Lord

For through the cross you died for me

And you have paid the price of sin

So I could be set free.

 

Chorus:

I thirst for you Oh Lord

I hunger for your love

You sent your Son to die for me

You’ve saved me Lord above

You’ve quenched my thirst with love.

 

By: Jim Wenman

 

PRAYER:

Father up above I thank you for sending your Son to this world do die for my sins on the cross. Thank you that Jesus has made a way back to you and through faith in him our hearts and souls have been revived. Thank you for quenching my great spiritual thirst and reviving me through the forgiveness of my sins and through the work of your Holy Spirit in my life. Help me Lord to help others find refreshment for their souls through the life changing message of the Gospel. In Jesus Name Amen.

 

           

 

 

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