When our kids were four and one, we decided to take them on a short hike. And by short, I mean less than half a mile. But somehow, we ended up on the wrong trail. We ended up hiking well over two miles under the blazing sun of an Idaho summer. Even as we sang songs and looked for lizards to distract our increasingly red-faced kiddos, my heart beat fast with worry. Water! We need water! I rarely give a second thought to hydration (much to my husband’s annoyance), but in that moment, with the heat rising and the dust billowing, water and our need for it consumed every thought!
In Psalm 63, David is in the Desert of Judah. This psalm was most likely written when David was forced to flee Jerusalem from his son, Absalom. Absalom has organized against his father in an attempt to usurp the throne by manipulating the hearts of the people and turning them against his father.
David is finds himself in the barren wilderness fleeing for his life, very reminiscent of the days of his youth when he was forced to flee the murderous King Saul. But, instead of crying out to God in anger and despair, David quiets his heart.
His mouth dries up from the arid environment of the desert. His thirst increases moment by moment. As his body cries out for water, David says to God, ‘I thirst for You, God.”
His lips crack from the scorching sun. As he feels the skin split, asserts, “Because Your love is better than life, my lips will praise you.”
He begins to wonder if his is the end of the road for him. Perhaps his life is truly forfeit. As he imagines death, he says, “I will praise you as long as I live,”no matter how long that might be at this point.
In the midst of a chaotic situation, one marked by betrayal and loss, David clings to God. His fixes his mind on God and focus his attention on God’s presence with him. While it would have been easy to fall into a pit of self-pity and self-righteous anger, David instead sings to God as he dwells in the shadow of God’s wings.
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Grace and Peace.