A Thirsty Soul – Psalm 63
By Carolyn May
“…my soul thirsts for Thee, my flesh yearns for Thee, in a dry and weary land where this is no water…” (Ps. 63:1)
“Thirst is an insatiable longing after that which is one of the most essential supports of life; there is no reasoning with it, no forgetting it, no despising it, no overcoming it by stoical indifference.”1 This is a direct quote from Charles Spurgeon concerning David as he wrote this Psalm in the wilderness of Judah. Most scholars agree David was fleeing for his very life from the pursuit of Absalom.
Although you may have never fled for your physical life, nor felt the threats David experienced, if you have been in leadership, been a mom, a co-worker, or simply held a position of responsibility you have experienced a desperate thirsting of your soul in a dry and weary land (vs. 1). The demands and strains of life can literally deplete the fullness of spirit and satisfaction of service if the soul is not constantly replenished by the watering of the Word and the filling of the Spirit. Looking more deeply into this passage, there are a few noteworthy observations in the Psalmist’s writing (Ps. 63) which prove wise to consider.
Notice the intimate personalization
David was king and had responsibility for the well-being of many; however, he did not address this psalm on behalf of the masses. He addressed it as a personal interaction between himself and God alone. In the NASB translation, God is named either directly or as a pronoun 19 times in 8 verses. Similarly, I, me, my (all references to David) are mentioned 19 times in 8 verses. This is a gut-level, very real, very personal writing. This was not something that David was using as a means to focus and everyone else around him — this was up close and personal between him and the God that he loved.
Notice the intentional action
Even in a dry and weary land, even in persecution, even in fear and hiding, David:
- actively sought after God (vs.1)
- acknowledged a thirst for God (vs.1)
- voiced a yearning for God (vs.1)
- sincerely longed to see God’s power and glory (as in the sanctuary) (vs.2)
- purposefully praised God with his lips (despite his present circumstances) (vs.3&5)
- boldly committed to bless God for the rest of his life (vs.4)
- unashamedly lifted his hands to God in worship (vs.4)
- remembered and meditated on past help from God (vs.6&7)
- sang for joy as he experienced the protection and comfort of God’s wings (vs.7)
- clung to God knowing His right hand upheld him (vs.8)
Every verb in this list is an active verb — sought, acknowledged, yearned, longed, praised, bless, lifted, remembered, meditated, sang, clung. David was serious about taken action to move toward the God he knew could do something about his state of being. He was intentional.
Notice the ultimate result
As a result of David intentionally placing his focus on the goodness and faithfulness of God instead of his circumstances, his soul was satisfied (vs. 5). There’s nothing that satisfies a thirst than a tall, cool drink of water. David found this for his soul through shifting his focus directly to the Lord.
How about you? Do you find yourself thirsting in a dry and weary land today? Are you just tired? Does your soul feel depleted? Do you feel as if your well has run dry? Has your focus been on “the masses” (the church, work, family, friends) and not on your intimacy with Christ? Focus on the goodness of the Lord as the most essential support of your life. Follow the example of David and be intentional in your action. Seriously ask yourself the following:
Who or what am I:
- seeking? yearning?
- clinging? praising?
- remembering meditating?
Pray and ask God to refresh your soul and replenish your spirit with the water of His Word and grace.
For more scripture concerning thirsting after God, read: Ps. 42; Ps. 143; John 4:13-14
- Spurgeon, Charles H., “Charles H. Spurgeon’s Treasury of David, Psalm 63 Bible Commentary”, Christianity.com. Web. Retrieved August 2, 2017. http://www.christianity.com/bible/commentary.php?com=spur&b=19&c=63