Daily Devotional – Day 14
“Thirsting for the Lord”
Read: Psalm 63
Most of us have never been thirsty unto death. Realistically, that only takes a couple of days. I remember working hard during the summer heat and experiencing fatigue and dizziness associated with dehydration. I was so overheated from working outside that I jumped in the swimming pool to cool off. At least I had a pool and lots of water to drink. There’s nothing that refreshes a dehydrated body like water. David understood this when he wrote Psalm 63. David was in the Wilderness of Judah running from his son Absalom who was trying to kill him. The Wilderness of Judah was a very rugged land with steep hills and hardly any water sources. David probably fled from Absalom at the end of the summer (2 Samuel 16:1-3). The Wilderness of Judah was composed of soft chalk which was not conducive to vegetation. In fact, the hot and dry wind quickly killed any grass and flowers that happened to spring up. Imagine you were David: your son is trying to kill you and you are running from him in a dessert. While not the most pleasant time of David’s life, he still longed to worship the Lord.
David used this physical experience to convey his spiritual thirst for God. He said, “My soul thirsts for you” (Psalm 63:2). Excess movement when traveling through a desert was a definite “no-no”. One conserved energy which retained moisture in the body. Yet David said his lips, which were most likely parched and cracked, he would praise the Lord. And his hands, which were fatigued from the heat, were lifted high in praise. As a seasoned shepherd, David was no stranger to the desert and knew where to find water. He sought the waterholes out and kept them close to memory for survival. But Psalm 63 tells us even the experienced shepherd David couldn’t find any water there. No water meant David would soon die. This didn’t stop David’s pursuit of worship. He said, “while I live I will bless the Lord.” He was determined to use his last bit of strength and life to bring praise the Lord.
David continued in Psalm 63:5-7 to sing about how his soul would be satisfied. Singing? While dying of thirst in the desert and pursued by your son who is seeking to kill you? What a great perspective and heart for God! What great dependence David had on the Lord! As he lay awake at night he remembered times past of a good BBQ (or sacrifice). What smells filled the air! What juicy and delicious foods! But David reveals he isn’t meditating on food. Now I’m sure there wasn’t much food while on the run in the desert – especially with no water to prepare it. Even as he was thirsty and hungry, his meditations were on the Lord. The word meditate here is a word David gained while watching his sheep eat. Sheep have four stomachs and regurgitate their grass, chewing it over and over again sending it to the other stomachs for digestion. David was chewing and digesting the nutrients and sustenance out of the Word of God during this desperate moment of life.
Finally, Psalm 63:8-11 reveals another shepherding experience of David. As a shepherd, he had seen man many young defenseless sheep follow close by him for safety and provision. Comparatively, he says, “My soul follows close behind You. Your right hand upholds me.” God’s right hand is always a symbol of protection. We know from 2 Samuel 18 that Absalom and twenty thousand of his men were slaughtered. The Jews believed the dead went to Sheol, the lower parts of the earth. David mentioned jackals in this text. They were scavengers who ate anything dead in their paths. Jackals ate the carcasses of David’s offenders (except Absalom whose body was covered with rocks – 2 Samuel 18:17). The rocks that covered Absalom also symbolized how a rebellious son should have been stoned in that culture (Deuteronomy 21:18-21). God not only sustained David in the desert but took care of his enemies as well.
- Are you in a wilderness? Do you thirst for spiritual refreshment more than an end to your physical pain and discomfort?
- David was willing to worship the Lord in the middle of the desert and not just when he got out of it. Have you ever prayed, “God if you will get me out of this, then I will…” What is greater display of faith: praising God in the desert or when you get out of the desert?
- Do you lie awake at night and meditate on the Word? What benefit would practice of this discipline bring to your life?
- Do you trust God to take care of your enemies and your wilderness experience?
- David sang about his experience. What is your attitude like concerning your wilderness experiences?
Lord, help me to be like David. I want to thirst for You knowing nothing in this world can quench my true longings. Help me trust you in the wilderness and when my enemies are chasing me. Help my attitude and guard my mouth from complaining and negativity. I will praise you even when my strength is fading. You are my strength and my shield. Thank you for sustaining and nourishing me with your Word and Spirit. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.