This column is dedicated to R, who loves Psalm 63, memorized it, and even had her kids memorize it.
Are you devoted to God?
Have you seen the video of the tug-of-war between two jackals and a badger? They were attacking a big snake—probably 8-10 feet long. The badger eventually killed the snake and drug it off into the bushes—while the two jackals kept trying to steal it away. The badger snapped at the timid jackals, held on tight, and won the battle.
Psalm 63 is for followers of Christ who hang on to the love of God and won’t let go no matter what, remembering “Your steadfast love is better than life…” Jackals, by contrast the Psalmist David suggests, represent the judgment of God against those that oppose Him (10).
David prays from the wilderness, “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.” There are many instances of David living righteously but of being pursued and accused by the anti-God world around him. But the desert (spiritually and physically) isn’t home; he doesn’t live there. Instead, in the midst of the thirst and faintness of his soul He is devoted to God.
Jerry Bridges notes, “The practice of godliness is first of all the cultivation of a relationship with God, and from this the cultivation of a life that is pleasing to God.” 1 Timothy 4:7 is specific: “train yourself for godliness.” What does the training look like? Psalm 63 models this for us even in our desert experiences. In it we see a Godly life of devotion to God is: fueled by desire for God (1-2); characterized by deep reverence and awe for who God is and His works (2, 9-11); is energized by a profound appreciation for God’s steadfast love (3-4); and results in joyful living, worship, and dependence upon God (5-8).
The beginning point of devotion is desire. Right away David puts desire in perspective by saying “earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh faints for You.” Ouch. Could it be our schedule and plans, time logged on devices and media, and our budgets tell the story about what we thirst for? Away with a religion of drudgery and a life that is all about us—we can have a joyful life with God!
Pity the jackals—timid and doomed. The badger is a better example, for he hung on for dear life for the prize—a snake (yuk). Greater still, followers of Jesus Christ have Christ “In whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” and whose “steadfast love is better than life” (3).
Father, thank You for an alternative life in Christ for all those who are fully devoted to You.