Note these words in our text verses: “panteth… thirsteth… seek… longeth”:
“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” (Psalms 42:1-2)
“O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;” (Psalms 63:1)
The words in bold print indicate a great desire for God by using a physical thirst for water. Without water, after a very short period of time, the bodily functions will cease and the person will die. Just as the person in a desert needs water, so does the Psalmist need God.
The first word picture describes the panting of a deer for water. The word “panting” means “to breathe in a labored manner”; also “to long eagerly,” “to yearn,” “to throb.” So the deer was laboring to find water. The Psalmist said he longed for God; he yearned for God, the Living Water.
The second word picture contains the word thirst. Literally thirst is a “feeling of dryness in the mouth and throat associated with a desire to drink.” The physical body was designed by God to require water to function and maintain life; without water the body dies. Thirst therefore indicates “an ardent desire for”; a craving, a desire, a drive, a hunger, a yearning, etc. The Psalmist said: I thirst for God; I need God; I must have God; I must appear before God.
In Psalm 63, David said: I will seek You; or I will search for You. I will try to reach You. I am making an attempt to reach You. I am pursuing You. I am asking for You; I am calling for You. I am endeavoring to find You.
Then David said: I long for You, God. That is, I have a strong desire for You. I ache for You. I crave You. I want You. I wish for You. I yearn for You. I hunger for You.
So really, the Psalmists were saying the same thing with each of the words: “panteth… thirsteth… seek… longeth.” The main meaning is: I need You as much as my body needs water. It is not just a mere desire; but it is a life and death desire. I must have You.
Child of God, I am convinced that the greatest problem, the one that leads to multiple problems, is the lack of a strong desire for God daily. This means the Child of God is too consumed with self and this wicked world. He is depending on the flesh and thus he suffers defeat daily in his battle with his flesh and sin. His first love is not Christ, but self and self-sufficiency, which in the end will fail (2 Corinthians 3:5).
However, when God bring a Child of Grace to the desert; to “a dry and thirsty land,” where no water is; to a barren place where no fruit is, where only death is facing the thirsty; to a place of revealing the insufficiency of man’s strength – He then points the believer to Christ’s Sufficiency and to Him alone for victory and success. Then, and then only, does the believer cry out as the Psalmists did in our text verses.
In the rest of Psalms 63 (verses 2-11), David tells why he sought God; why he longed for God; why he thirsted for God. Why?
1) “To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.” (Psalms 63:2)
David was saying, God, in the past, I have seen Your Power. You are The Power; there is none like You; there is no enemy that can defeat You.
Second, I have seen Your Glory (Your Holiness, Your Preeminence, Your Honor); I know You are the Lord of Glory. There is none greater that You. (Read Psalms 24:8-10.)
And thirdly, I surrender to You God, the only True and Living God. You are Supreme. You are my Lord and Master. You are the Creator, the Controller, and the Consummator of all creation.
Reader, this is where we must be to be successful in our journey; we must daily bow to our Sovereign God. When we do this, our problem is not a problem at all; our valley is not to destroy us – but to make us, to conform us to His image, to be fit for the Master’s use, to carry out His ordained purpose for us while we are on this stage of life. When we surrender to God and acknowledge that He is Sovereign; then peace comes, even in the midst of the Valley of Trial and Trouble.
As was with the prophet Isaiah, we will behold His Holiness and our sin. But also we come to see our Standing in Him; and so we come to rejoice that we are “in Christ” and are Holy in Him, Redeemed in Him, made Righteous in Him, and Sanctified in Him (1 Corinthians 1:30). Therefore, no flesh can glory, but in Him (1 Corinthians 1:29).
God brings the longing, seeking, and thirsting soul to see the value of the Water of Life that already lives within him; and to see that this Water shall never go dry, but shall last for all eternity (Romans 8:29-39).
We must never forget, we “have seen thee in the sanctuary.” We know by past experiences what it is to be in His very Presence. Because of this Position we have before Him, by His Grace, we shall always desire and long and thirst for more of Him, as we see this worked out in our own life. Our past experiences with God cause us to have a deeper craving for Him again and again.
David, as well as all of God’s Born-Again Children; those who have surrendered to Him as Sovereign, Lord and Master; who have submitted to His Word and Will; who have also then obeyed His Word to walk in His Will as “doers” of the Word of God; and who desire to endure in the same – these and only these desire, crave, long, and thirst to be in His Presence. They long to daily come before His Throne, beholding His Glory and Power; for therein is their inheritance as joint-heirs with Christ. Hallelujah! (See John 17:21-24.) To be where He is, the longing of their hearts, daily, even 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
2) “Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.” (Psalms 63:3)
God’s lovingkindness is Who God is; for God is Love. David speaks of God’s Eternal Purpose in God’s Love. Because Christ, or Eternal Life Himself (1 John 5:20), is better than this life, better than anything; for nothing can compare to Christ. God’s lovingkindness is expressed in Jesus Christ and His Incarnation, Life, Works, Atonement, Death, Resurrection, Ascension, and Return as King of kings and Lord of lords.
When God reveals to you that you are His Child – Redeemed, Reconciled, and Justified in the Atonement of Christ on the Cross – then you can see and taste and enjoy God’s Love for you.
The result will be, “my lips shall praise thee.” (See Hebrews 13:15.) Praise will issue forth from your spirit of the Love of God to you and of its benefits to you as you stand Justified (or declared Righteous) in Christ’s Atonement for your sin debt. Child of God, look at who we are in Christ; look at where we shall ever be in Christ, for all eternity. Sometimes, it overwhelms our spirit because of the Greatness of God’s lovingkindness to us in our Savior Jesus Christ!
3) “Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.” (Psalms 63:4)
Here David says, not only will my lips praise Thee, but I will bless Thee daily in my life, “while I live”; as I walk on this journey of life, I will bless (or praise) Thee.
“I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.” (Psalms 104:33)
Then David gives the outward sign, or manner, of daily praising God; it is by lifting up his hands, “…lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting” (1 Timothy 2:8b).
4) “My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:” (Psalms 63:5)
David describes being in God’s Presence and why he craves God’s Presence; for there his soul shall be “satisfied as with marrow and fatness.” There his soul would be fed the Goodness of God, the Word of God; for only the Word is the believer’s food that is more necessary that his physical food. It is Christ, our life, living His Life in our life that feeds us and makes us fat (Romans 5:10, 17; Galatians 2:20).
Then, as a result of that, “my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips.” David said that as we feed upon Christ and drink His Blood (John 6:1-70); then there is great joy, which is expressed in our praises to Christ, the Bread of Life, the Heavenly Manna. It is only Christ who can feed us Himself. It is in Christ and Christ in us – that we live. (Matthew 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:3).
5) “Because thou hast been my help … thy right hand upholdeth me.” (Psalms 63:7-8)
David said, I know from the past, You have been my Help, my only Help. You and You alone have all Power in heaven and in earth. You are my Father. You live and abide in me and I in You. You have good for me; an Eternal Purpose for me (Romans 8:29) – that is Glorification; that is in Your Presence forever and ever.
6) “My soul (or my daily life) followeth hard after thee…” (Psalms 63:8a)
That is, God, I give my entire body, soul, and spirit to You. You are my All in all; my Everything. Therefore, I long for You; I seek You; I crave You; I desire You; and I thirst for You. I long to appear before You – “…when shall I come and appear before God?” (Psalms 42:2).
Child of God, is this your goal today? Do you crave God, long for Him, seek Him? Do you seek for and thirst for the Living God and to be in His Presence?