12.07.2008 Sermon - Psalm 63
7th December 2008
(Worship song after message: My Savior, My God)
Lord, thank You for this opportunity to worship You and to speak to You through prayer and to listen to You through Your word. As Carol shared, we have so much to be thankful for – we thank You for all You’ve done for us and for giving us Your son that we might have life. Knowing You and knowing that You died for our sins is all we really need to know.
We have been looking at a few Psalms.
Today is Psalm 63. Many of you know someone who seems to have a special relationship with God – who seems to have a closer relationship with God than you do (don’t you kinda hate them sometimes?). We were watching The Chronicles of Narnia last night. Lucy is like that. She has that special relationship with Aslan the Lion – who is a picture of Jesus. It is a picture of someone with a simple faith and trust in God – able to connect and see Him in their lives oftentimes when other cannot.
What we want to look at in this Psalm – how do you develop that? It is something we all can possess. We all have the ability to have an intimate personal relationship with God. We can see Him working in and around and through us.
Psalm 63:1 (A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.) O God, Thou art my God; I shall seek Thee earnestly; My soul thirsts for Thee, my flesh yearns for Thee, In a dry and weary land where there is no water. 2 Thus I have beheld Thee in the sanctuary, To see Thy power and Thy glory. 3 Because Thy lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise Thee. 4 So I will bless Thee as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Thy name. 5 My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips. 6 When I remember Thee on my bed, I meditate on Thee in the night watches, 7 For Thou hast been my help, And in the shadow of Thy wings I sing for joy. 8 My soul clings to Thee; Thy right hand upholds me. 9 But those who seek my life, to destroy it, Will go into the depths of the earth. 10 They will be delivered over to the power of the sword; They will be a prey for foxes. 11 But the king will rejoice in God; Everyone who swears by Him will glory, For the mouths of those who speak lies will be stopped.
What do we see? This is David writing again – O God, Thou art my God.
What he is saying – he is making it personal. A lot of times, we think God is ‘out there’ – and we are never quite sure where He stands with us. Have I been good enough to merit His blessing and favor – When he says my God, he is making it personal. God is on his side. When he says he is my God, he is saying, God is on my side; He is for me.
That is where it begins – to have that kind of relationship with God, you must first believe and understand that God is on your side and is for you. God wants to love you and do you good. If you come to God with any other concept – strict, punishing, judgmental, aloof – you’ll never be able to develop that intimacy. It must start by believing that God is for you. That is what He thinks about when He thinks of you – His love for you and His desire to do good to you.
In light of that…
How do you get to that point? When you think about God you think about someone who wants to bless you and do you good?
The only way I can think of is to get into His word and focus on His verses that declare God’s love for you. Think about, believe, and act in life as if those verses are true. The Bible is filled – in the Psalms, there are tons of them. Also, throughout the Bible. But as you begin to act upon those verses and that truth, you will begin to experience it and it will be true in your life. Like building muscles through exercise.
I shall seek Thee earnestly. When you buy a house, you put down earnest money. Like a deposit. If you renege on that, you lose that money. What you are saying is you are serious about purchasing that home. What the psalmist is saying – Because God is for him, he will seek Him with passion and drive – he will get serious about his relationship with God.
My soul thirsts for Thee, my flesh yearns for Thee, In a dry and weary land where there is no water.
He is talking about an undivided devotion to God. That everything in him, everything that he is will be focused on God. He will not be divided in his affections. In order to develop this relationship with God – if you want to have that – intimate, close, special – then the Lord has to be first in your life – there can’t be rivals for your affection.
Jesus: If anyone would follow me – then he goes through a list – of things that might become a rival for your love for God – anything – then you begin to cutoff that intimate relationship with Christ. The good thing – when we put Christ first in our lives, then we are able to love those other things in the way we should – spouse, children, friends, family – but it begins with that. But there are all kinds of things that rival our affection for God.
Dry and weary land – metaphors that the psalmist goes through. You, because of that need to commit to this relationship… Without water, we can’t live. If you have ever been really thirsty – that drive removes all others. For one without water for several days – they think of nothing else. I’ve never been without water for days. Rarely for more than a few waking hours… We need to have this understanding that just as the body needs water to live, we must have this relationship with God to live. The desert is a dangerous environment. Cindy and I have driven through the desert many times. When you see that sign – “There is nothing, no gas, nothing - -for 100 miles.” If you break down – there is nothing. You fill up before you enter that area. He is saying – what has to happen in life- to develop that hunger, God has to put us in a dangerous environment. It is too bad that this has to be the case. Most people wait until they can’t bear it any more – and then they turn to God. A lot of times, God allows these situations in life because God desires our undivided devotion. When I am really going through it, my devotion moves up a few notches. I am desperate. When one loses a job – it is a dry and weary land. It zeroes you in on God. You are in need, and you are desperate.
2 Thus I have beheld Thee in the sanctuary, To see Thy power and Thy glory.
He takes you from this dangerous desert to this safe environment of a sanctuary. What he is saying – each of us needs… for David – he went someplace he could see and behold God. We need a place to behold the Lord – a safe place you can continually go. It could be anywhere. It could be in your car – where you shut everything off in life – and your focus can be on the Lord – Probably not while you are driving – but the question is – do you have that place? Maybe at work – closing your eyes, and door, and focusing your attention on God. Behold God – see the Lord – there have been books written – those who have intimate walks with the Lord learn to put themselves in His presence throughout the day. He is there always, waiting to speak and have a relationship with us. We need to learn to find these sanctuaries in our lives. Look for them – where you can behold the glory of the Lord and see His power and presence in your life.
To be able to see God’s power and glory – wouldn’t that be great? To see where God is working and moving in our lives.
Isaiah 6:1 In the year of King Uzziah's death, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. 2 Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings; with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called out to another and said, "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory." 4 And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke.
Isaiah was just a guy like you and me – and God takes him to the presence of His throne – and he is seeing all this in a vision. God wants to show you His glory in ways that He is working in your life and you are caught up in this experience of relationship with Him that moves and changes you.
Is.6:5 Then I said, "Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts."
If someone genuinely has an intimate relationship with God – not just an act – then that person will always have a much deeper understanding of their failure. The person who has an intimate relationship with God… Throughout the Bible, whenever God reveals himself uniquely to a person – this is always the type of response.
Peter – when Jesus recognized Jesus for Who He was – Depart from me, for I am a sinful man!
“You can’t handle the truth!”
3 Because Thy lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise Thee. 4 So I will bless Thee as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Thy name.
I love v. 3
There is a change in his value system. All the things this life has to offer do not compare to what God has for us. Everything else can go as long as he has God’s love in his life. His desire is for God, not for what God gives. What we are looking for is what God has to give rather than God himself. That is what really matters. It is not about fixing the here and now. Sometimes He does not. When that happens, we need to see that His love is better, is more important, than having things work out in this life. It goes back to this undivided devotion to God. Discovering that He is what matters.
5 My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.
Desert – then Sanctuary – now Banquet. It is a time of feasting – like after Thanksgiving dinner – you can’t take another bite! (and then have dessert!). But that is where your relationship with God can go – where you are satisfied with God. We tend to look to other things to satisfy. There is a desert and a thirst – a sanctuary – the psalmist is taking these senses – all of what makes us human – and focusing it on his relationship with God.
Thirst- eyes – taste – now his mind:
6 When I remember Thee on my bed, I meditate on Thee in the night watches,
Rest, contemplation in his relationship with God. In every aspect, there is opportunity to focus on God. Even in bed – when you lie down. Bed can be a good or bad thing – a time when you fret about everything – all these anxious thoughts when you are vulnerable – or it can be - I remember Thee in the night.
My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning.
As the hours of the night go on – there is the longing for daylight – the danger is over and you can rest. Anticipation in our relationship with God.
7 For Thou hast been my help, And in the shadow of Thy wings I sing for joy.
He moves to this concept of a little bird with its mother. In your relationship with God – when you have committed yourself to Him – there is the greatest shelter.
“How I have longed to gather you under my wings – but you would not have it”
God longs to bring us into himself – are we willing to go there? And then in closing -
8 My soul clings to Thee; Thy right hand upholds me.
My soul follows hard after Thee.
In reality – the person who has that genuine relationship with God – it starts with believing that God is on our side. Then making sure there are no other rivals for God. Then on to a desire, commitment and passion to seek Him as the most important thing – and finally – a confident expectation that God will, as we seek Him, reveal Himself to us. As we commit ourselves to this, God will develop this relationship with us.
Lord, thank You for the fact that You long for this type of relationship. Help us to connect with You in a new and unique way. Help us to find sanctuaries in our lives – help us to find sanctuary this week – during our workday and time at home to reconnect with You. In Your name we pray. Amen.