Written by: Tim Wood
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.
The superscription informs us that David was in the desert of Judah when he wrote this psalm. It’s amazing that some of David’s best worship songs were written during the most difficult times in his life. He wrote this during his son’s rebellion (Absalom) against him and the kingdom (2 Samuel 15:23). David didn’t look back in regret at the mistakes he had made as a father, nor did he look around in fear or complaint about the desert. Instead he looked up to the LORD and reaffirmed his faith and love for Him. We will look at the Psalm in sections. David is able to seek God in the desert and to praise God in the desert. How does David seek God in the desert?
David remembers his relationship with God. He sings, “God, you are my God.” He remembers he is in a covenant relationship with God. God isn’t “a” God or “the” God; but God is “my” God. This intimate relationship is what characterizes our covenant relationship with God. “I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God” (Exodus 6:7); “I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people” (Lev. 26:12). David thirsted for God. Being in the desert, he no doubt experienced physical thirst. But his spiritual thirst was more intense. His whole being is thirsting for the living God. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matthew 5:6). When we thirst for God he will fill us.
David seeks God earnestly. This means that David sought the LORD with diligence and passion. He wasn’t going to give up on seeking the LORD in his life. The Hebrew word of earnest is also translated “early” in some versions. I believe there are many layers to seeking God early. Seek God early in the day. The best way to start the day is to seek God. Seek God early in a difficult time. David is seeking God early in his desert experience. Don’t wait and see if it gets better. As soon as you face a difficulty seek God, seek His presence, and seek his counsel and wisdom. Be earnest and early in seeking the LORD.
David remembers God’s power and glory in the desert (verse 2). He recalls the “sanctuary” of God. David couldn’t enter that place because he wasn’t a Levite but he had seen the power and glory of God in that place and he is recalling it in his life. What a great reminder for us. Recall the power and glory of God in your life. The power and glory of God can happen in a church worship experience or in a private worship experience. I’ll never forget how strong and real I felt the presence of God in a Promise Keepers Pastor’s Conference in Atlanta, Ga. God was so near me I was able to completely receive his grace and forgiveness. That was over 25 years ago but I can still recall it and know that God will strengthen me with his power and glory through any desert in my life.
Anyone at anytime can wake up in the morning and feel like you are in a desert. David, in Psalm 63 tells us what to do. Tell God that He is your God. You are in a covenant relationship with him. Say it to Him, “God, you are my God.” If you are in the desert today know this: what you’re thirsty for is God. He’s your living water. He’s your oasis. Say it to Him, “God, you are my water, I thirst for you.” Seek God earnestly. Seek God early. Recollect his power and glory in your life. You don’t have to be in a “sanctuary” to experience God’s power and glory. You can experience it in the desert. Just like David did.