Psalms 63:0 ¶ A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.
This is another of the psalms of David written when he was hiding in the wilderness of Judah—maybe during the time of Absalom’s attempt to overthrow him instead of when he was on the run from Saul since he references himself as king (v11).
I loved Spurgeon’s comment: “There was no desert in his heart, though there was a desert around him. We too may expect to be cast into rough places ere we go hence. In such seasons, may the Eternal Comforter abide with us, and cause us to bless the Lord at all times, making even the solitary place to become a temple for Jehovah.”
Psalms 63:1 ¶ O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;
Psalms 63:2 To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.
David opens this psalm taking comfort in the fact that he had a personal relationship with God. The greatest desire of David’s whole being (soul and flesh) was to be in God’s will, and I think he was feeling a distance in their relationship since he had to escape to the desert wilderness, a dry and thirsty land. He longed to see the power and glory of God at work on his behalf. He had spent time in the sanctuary meditating on creation and how it testified to God’s power and glory. He probably also thought about the many times that God had intervened on his behalf giving testimony to His power and glory. He knew that no power was greater and that nothing existed that could rival the glory of God.
The Hebrew for “seek” references earnestness and diligence, the fact that David felt his need to be urgent. The Hebrew for “thirst” emphasizes that truth; Webster defines thirsting as having a vehement (urgent) desire for something.
Psalms 63:3 ¶ Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.
Psalms 63:4 Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.
David knew that to experience the lovingkindness, the favor and mercy of God, was better than life itself; and he would publicly praise Him for allowing him to experience such love. The Hebrew for “bless” states that this is an act of adoration; David adored God; he worshipped God with a deep reverence. The lifting of hands I think pictures an act of recognition of and submission to God as LORD of one’s life.
Psalms 63:5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:
Psalms 63:6 When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.
Marrow and fatness are a reference to rich food. David is saying that the love of God satisfied his soul better than rich food could satisfy his flesh; therefore, he would praise God joyfully, with great delight, as he remembered all that God was to him when meditating during the dark of night.
The wording “night watches” is obviously a reference to time, but I think can also be rightly applied to the dark times of life, times of trouble and despair. One can have a troubled heart and still be joyful of all that is ours in Jesus as a child of God.
Meditations in the night, the early hours of the morning, have been some of my sweetest times of fellowship with the LORD. Some of my favorite original poems have resulted from such fellowship. Many personal discoveries of scriptural insight have occurred during those times. They are times when I have enjoyed a special Father-daughter time with my heavenly Father.
Psalms 63:7 ¶ Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.
David is open and honest in declaring that he rejoiced because of all that God had done for him. As he rejoiced, he knew that he was under the protective cover of his LORD.
Spurgeon: “This is the grand use of memory, to furnish us with proofs of the Lord's faithfulness, and lead us onward to a growing confidence in him.”
Psalms 63:8 My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.
Psalms 63:9 But those that seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth.
Psalms 63:10 They shall fall by the sword: they shall be a portion for foxes.
David was confident that because he was doing his best to follow God closely, he could be confident that God would sustain him in His strength, a strength that could be matched by no other. He was also confident that his enemies would be destroyed because to reject David was to reject God’s will.
Psalms 63:11 But the king shall rejoice in God; every one that sweareth by him shall glory: but the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.
In contrast to his enemies, David had nothing to fear from God because he had yielded himself in faith to Him. Those that speak lies, however, will be stopped because God will judge them (is implied).