August 11, 2016
Psalm 63 is considered to be one of the most important psalms in Christian history. This is probably due to the fact that this psalm is in many ways the embodiment of not only Christian life, but the purpose of human existence. That purpose begins with God: a incomparably majestic Being whose power, glory, and love David has encountered firsthand. This is the basis for David’s earnest and heart-wrenching pursuit of God, as though he is the difference between life and death. In God, David has found both the source and the focus of his joy.
The beginning of this psalm reveals that God’s unequalled Godness, which should be an uncomfortable reality for all of his creatures, is amazingly transcended by his steadfast love. A kind of love which David says is better than life. A kind of love that causes David to sing for joy, beneath the immense wings of his sovereign God. Despite David’s inherent smallness and his bleak circumstances, the love he experiences in this God is better than even being alive, such that if being alive did not include God, David would not be interested at all.
David’s bountiful experience of joy in God, not only means that he considers God his supreme and ultimate treasure, but that everything of value to David is wrapped up in its relationship with God. He wants God like the richest of foods and his mind is always wandering back to his Creator, even in the late hours of the night. He is desperate to know and experience this amazing God. For this reason, during the darkest nights of his soul, when everything seems to be coming undone, God is his only refuge. David’s soul clings to God and God alone, because nothing has proven anywhere close to as sweet or as powerful. God is David’s treasure, and there is no runner-up, there is no distant second.
For David, his plight while writing this song was being stranded in the wilderness at the hands of his own son, Absalom, who sought to kill him to take the kingdom. God would rescue David; those seeking his destruction would be silenced and brought to an end. But for us and other Christians throughout history, we look back at David’s plight through the cross of Christ.
According to Colossians 2:13-15, our greatest enemies have been silenced at the cross. The Gospel says that the cosmic powers who would accuse us before God, because we’ve so often treasured other things in the place of God, have been humiliated by Christ and put to open shame. On the cross, Jesus purchased our freedom from vain pursuits that take God’s place in our affections. He paid for our sins by taking on our just punishment of failing to honor God as God—he silenced all of our enemies, so that in seeing this remarkable ransom, we might rejoice in a God who, beyond all expectations, desires us. It was here that God displayed his steadfast love for his people, rescuing us so that he would be our treasure forever.
We exist for two purposes ultimately: to know God and to show God. Our eyes were made to see him and our hearts were created to love him—there is simply no greater joy in the universe. The grandness of these facts may be intimidating to some: if this is true, how do we respond right now? How do I treasure God today?
First, pursue this God like David did in our psalm. Are you desperate to know him more deeply? If not, pray for that desperation. Are you struggling to seek him in the Bible regularly because you find it to be more of a chore than a joy? Pray for joy in reading the Bible, where he talks to us clearly and powerfully—where he is most vividly seen. The main point is this: If you are hungry to experience God in these ways, you should know that the first step has already been taken, but it wasn’t taken by you. The very desire you have—which you should ferociously stoke—was a gift of God. Actually considering this amazing fact alone should serve as a catalyst, a kind of kindling, for your continued pursuit of him in the Bible, in prayer, and in community with other believers. Your deepest longest out found in treasuring God.