Psalm 63

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Psalm 63, which was penned by David when he was in the wilderness of Judah, begins with these words, “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; My flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”

The extraordinary thing being described in this opening verse of Psalm 63 is not the depths of David’s thirst. All human beings thirst deeply for one thing or another, and in verse 1 we could easily swap out the word “God” for “good health,” “money,” “attractiveness,” “notoriety,” or any of a thousand other things and it would still read in a way that would be true to the experience of many. “Earnestly I seek the approval of others, my soul thirsts for the good opinion of my peers.” I don’t think David is trying to impress us with the strength of his longings so much as he is pointing us to the object of what he is thirsting for, and that is God, of course.

David is a man of deep and visible passions. He tends to wear his emotions on his sleeve. There are plenty of times in the Bible where we find David thirsting and earnestly seeking the wrong kinds of things such as another man’s wife (2 Samuel 11), revenge (1 Samuel 25), and an idolatrous desire for security (1 Samuel 27). What differentiates the righteous thirst of Psalm 63 from other thirsts that David acted upon during his life was not the strength of his longings, but rather the object of his thirst, and, of course, the aftertaste that followed after satisfying it.