A man cannot live his life apart from a relationship with his Maker and be truly be at peace with the world. As David said, “0 God, you are my God; early will I seek you : my soul thirsts for you, my flesh longs for you in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is” (Psa. 63:1). David continued by saying: “Because your loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise you. Therefore will I bless you while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: When I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because you have been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. My soul follows hard after thee: thy right hand upholds me” (63:3-8).
As the psalm puts it, one’s relationship with God is as indispensable as water “in a dry and thirsty land.” Water is a requirement, essential to existence, not a luxury. Likewise, worshiping, praising, and loving God is not one of life’s distractions. It is not a sideline to what we do, nor is it a peripheral issue to who we are. Rather, it is the essence of who we are and what we do. This is life eternal, a foretaste of the heavenly glory, as Jesus said: “And this is life eternal, that they might know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (Jn. 17:3).
“My soul shall be satisfied…” writes David. Just as food (“marrow and fatness”) leaves the stomach feeling full, so one who knows the Lord’s mercy and walks with him in his life experiences fulfillment. Those who do not know what is missing in their lives and who often wind up in dissipation, drug abuse or even suicide, will not admit that God is really what is lacking, the deficiency that plagues every aspect of their being. They cannot be happy because the one who can deliver lasting contentment “God” is consciously and permanently shut out of their lives.
The Psalmist said, “My mouth shall praise you with joyful lips.” This is the way that each of us ought to view worship. We ought to extend such homage to God, and offer it out of a comparable inner motivation.
“When I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the night watches,” in v. 6, shows that David was not merely practicing his religion publicly in the temple. The passage describes private devotion, which according to the Savior is critical to true religion: “But you, when you pray, enter into your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father in secret; and your Father which sees in secret shall reward you openly” (Matt. 6:6). If the only prayer or praise which we give to God is that which we offer in the assemblies with other Christians, then our religion is woefully lacking.
“My soul follows hard after thee…” Such unrelenting pursuit of God and his truth has even been a quality of genuine religion (Deut. 10:20 f; Hos. 6:3). God is described in Scripture as a Father who ever waits longingly for us, watchful for our return to him (Lk. 15:20). However, God did not leave home, we did. So we must make our way back to him, not he to us.
Those are his terms, and it is up to us to meet them. If we are diligent to do so, satisfaction and fulfillment are sure to follow in the wake. The emptiness and desperate groping of so many of this generation is proof positive that the world cannot give us lasting peace and contentment. God alone has this within his power and he gives such peace to only his saints and never to the wicked (Isa 54:13 f; Isa 48:22). If we do not have a love for the truth of God, he will send us strong delusions to believe a lie (2 Thess 2:10-12). If we love the truth we will read and study it day and night (Ps 1:2). If we love the truth (the gospel), we will obey it (Jn 14:15 f; Eph 1:13). As the psalm says, “My soul thirsts for you , my flesh longs for you . . . My soul shall be satisfied…”