Psalm 63 - I seek you

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A psalm of David. When he was in the Desert of Judah.
1) 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.

2) I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
3) Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
4) I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
5) I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

6) On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
7) Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
8) I cling to you;
your right hand upholds me.

9) Those who want to kill me will be destroyed;
they will go down to the depths of the earth.
10) They will be given over to the sword
and become food for jackals.

11) But the king will rejoice in God;
all who swear by God will glory in him,
while the mouths of liars will be silenced.

Psalm 63:1-8 (NRSV*)
3rd Sunday of Lent, Year C, verses 1-7

There is a quality of faith that some people have, where their relationship with God is personal and intimate. Rare indeed is the person whose whole being longs for God.

Perhaps it is unrealistic to expect that as a standard. God does not seem to have designed us to focus all our attention on heaven, giving none to our brethren or the good creation with which we must interact. Despite this psalm's attribution, King David does not seem to have been that kind of God-focused servant.

It may, in fact, be that the need to declare such longing is itself borne of an awareness that the reality is not quite there yet. Note that the psalm promises devotion that is in the future: my lips will glorify you, I will praise you, I will be satisfied...

It is, however, good for us to listen in on, and aspire to that quality of whole-hearted devotion.

We realize that our times without God seem parched, like wandering in a landscape without water. We may not notice it at first, but the longer we go without, the more we are driven to thirst.

How good it is that we can recognize the lack, and be able to turn to an experience of belief. "I have seen you in the sanctuary... I sing in the shadow of your wings... your love is better than life."

In the watches of the night, when I am beset by dangers, awake with worry and alert for trouble, then I remember you and recall your help. Like a child (or one hanging from a cliff?) I cling to you, trusting that you will not let me fall.

So many psalms call out for protection from enemies. We know how our enemies, our problems, cause us real distress and preoccupy us.

But can we be as persistent and prolific in our attention to the Lord?

Earnestly I seek you, O God, my God.

Marion Wunder, Untitled, Pixabay license.
* New Revised Standard Version Bible (NRSV), copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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