Today’s passage: Psalm 63
Today’s chocolate: Green & Black’s Organic 85% Dark Chocolate
Yesterday, in Psalm 62, David let us know that when his enemies are out to kill him, he wants his stronghold to be not a tangible, brick-and-stone stronghold, but the invisible, non-physical God of Israel, YHWH. Today, as we read Psalm 63, we discover that when he is on the verge of dehydration, he is thirsty not for actual thirst-quenching water, but the non-potable, undrinkable God of–you see where this is going, right?
Yep: you can’t drink God. Nonetheless, right out the gate David prays, “O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; my soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water” (1). In the middle of drought, what is he looking for? Not streams and rivers, not an oasis: his soul is searching for God.
To most of us, that’s a counterintuitive desire, but it’s also a desire that doesn’t go unsatisfied. The metaphor of a soul thirsty for God draws comparison with Psalm 42 and its simile, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God” (42:1). But while that psalm, penned by the sons of Korah, is about a thirst unfulfilled, David sings about wanting God and finding him. “My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth offers praises with joyful lips” (5), he tells us. He’s not even halfway through the psalm and his thirst for God has been quenched.
Some songs end with unresolved longings. The Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” and U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” spring readily to mind, and as Psalm 42 shows us, even a longing for God doesn’t always get resolved by the end of the song. But David offers a counterpoint: even while enemies “seek [his] life to destroy it” (9), he rests in God’s protection and takes confidence in all the times God has come through for him in the past.
Look: we’re a nation that prizes restlessness and dissatisfaction. We’ve always got to be progressing, pushing hard, striving for that next promotion, demanding fulfilling work, chasing affluence, giving our kids the goods and experiences they need to grow up into diligent workers with similarly unfulfilled yearnings. And man, if you’ve been reading this blog, you know I’ve got restlessness in spades. But Psalm 63 is a reminder that, sometimes, it’s okay to be satisfied.