Numbers 35, Isaiah 58, Psalms 63-65

Read Numbers 35, Isaiah 58, and Psalms 63-65 today. This devotional is about Psalm 63.

The human body can live for a few weeks without food, for a few days without water, and for a few minutes without oxygen. If your body is deprived of any of these things for long enough, it will be difficult for you to think about anything else. If you can’t breathe and will die in a few minutes, you won’t care how you’re going to pay the mortgage next month or whether your tires need to be rotated.

The superscription to this Psalm claims that David wrote it “in the Desert of Judah.” In verse 11, he refers to himself as “the king” so the setting of this passage may be when David fled from Absalom his son. Although he was not in immediate danger of starvation or dehydration, David was in a state of deprivation. He was cut off from the water springs of Jerusalem and from “the richest of foods” (v. 5) he would have enjoyed in his palace. What David craved in the desert, however, was not water or food; it was God. “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water” (v. 1).

Although God is everywhere present in the fullness of his being, David was deprived of God in the sense that he couldn’t see God “in the sanctuary” (v. 2a) at that time. That meant he couldn’t offer sacrifices, sing with the people, or hear the Torah read and explained. Living in exile, excluded from the comforts and necessities of life, David longed for God more than anything else. He believed that, “I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods” (v. 5) when he rejoiced in God.

None of us knows what it is like to run for our lives into the desert. But some people know what it is like to have all financial reserves stripped away and to be evicted from home.

Others know what it is like to lose your family in tragedy or divorce.

In our moments of deprivation–and desperation–do we long for fellowship with God or simply for him to deliver us from discomfort? The Bible encourages us to enjoy everything we have–family, material goods, good weather, whatever–as gifts of God. But this Psalm calls us to believe that nothing can satisfy us like knowing and worshipping God can (vv. 1, 5, 11). Does your walk with God give you that kind of joy and satisfaction?