Thursday, March 17

Thursday, March 17

Reader: “O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you.”

Response: “My soul thirsts for you.”

Scripture: Psalm 63:1-8 

O God, you are my God;

    I earnestly search for you.

My soul thirsts for you;

    my whole body longs for you

in this parched and weary land

    where there is no water.

I have seen you in your sanctuary

    and gazed upon your power and glory.

Your unfailing love is better than life itself;

    how I praise you!

I will praise you as long as I live,

    lifting up my hands to you in prayer.

You satisfy me more than the richest feast.

    I will praise you with songs of joy.

I lie awake thinking of you,

    meditating on you through the night.

Because you are my helper,

    I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.

I cling to you;

    your strong right hand holds me securely.

Some thoughts:  

I want to follow up yesterday’s devotional with King David’s response in a situation similar to that of King Jehoshaphat. The basic question is, “How do I deal with fear?” As I write these words, there is no doubt our society has an underlying fear of the virus and their own death or the premature death of loved ones. Some of the concerns are logical and others are irrational. 

David was being pursued by Saul in order to kill him. He is alone in the wilderness and running for his life. How does he gain perspective in this frightening situation? Notice his starting place. “God, you are my God.” He has firmly established who he is in God’s sight. He belongs to God and God belongs to him. They are in communion. He describes his love for God as his thirst for water in a desert land. This description paints a powerful longing.

He then reflects back on worshiping God. In the Temple was the dwelling place of the Ark of the Covenant, the place of God’s presence. It was there he experienced God’s love in community. We get the idea of how much this all meant to David as he declares he values God’s love even more than living, more than his own life. Is our longing for God that strong?

The place of reflection shifts from the Temple to his bed at night. How often have you and I milled things over in our minds as we lay awake waiting to fall asleep? David is not “milling things over,” he is meditating on God. True meditation takes time; it is “off the clock.” It requires focus, concentration, and unhurried thinking. When was the last time you or I had such a time? Night time is kind of a natural time for reflection. The darkness and quietness of the evening can help take away distractions as we consider our relationship to the LORD. Such times may become a discipline we can embrace.

This portion of Scripture concludes with a beautiful description of the reason for David’s lack of fear even as he is being hunted down to be killed. It is two-fold. “I cling to you [LORD].” And “your strong right hand holds me securely.” David holds on to God even as he is held by God’s strong right hand. (The right hand always denotes great strength in the Scriptures.) I’m reminded of Paul’s words in Philippians to work out your own salvation with fear and deep reverence, for God is at work in you giving you the power and desire to do what pleases him. (Phil.2:12-13) And again Paul reminds us in these words to Timothy, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (I TIm. 1:7) No irrational fear here. When we are tempted to be fearful, remember David’s beautiful words, God’s strong right hand holds you securely.

Music: “God Moves in A Mysterious Way”      Hymns of Grace    Beautiful story and music.

Prayer: Be, Lord, within me to strengthen me . . . without me to preserve me . . . over me to shelter me . . . beneath me to support me . . . before me to direct me . . . behind me to bring me back . . . round about me to fortify me.  ―Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626) from The Quiet Corner, p.56