Psalms 63:1-11 NLTse O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. (2) I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory. (3) Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! (4) I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. (5) You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy. (6) I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night. (7) Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings. (8) I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely. (9) But those plotting to destroy me will come to ruin. They will go down into the depths of the earth. (10) They will die by the sword and become the food of jackals. (11) But the king will rejoice in God. All who trust in him will praise him, while liars will be silenced.
What does it mean to search for God? Really, how to we search for a Spirit? Why would we have to search for a God who knows who we are, what we are doing, and where we are at all times? A general rule of Bible Study tells us, when we see something unusual, we have to look deeper for a spiritual answer.
The word seek or search indicates, we are either lost, or lost something. Can it be fair to assume, we lost a close connection with God. In Eden, Adam and Eve had direct contact with God, who met with them everyday. Is that relationship still available to us everyday?
When we look at the belief most Christians share, God is everywhere, knows everything, and is always near. What do we need to do to bridge that gap? David told us, he had to earnestly search for God. Another study method tells us to look up the meaning of a key word to find out what David was actually referring to. In this case, we’ll look at the word search.
H7836שָׁחַר shâchar shaw-khar’
A primitive root; properly to dawn, that is, (figuratively) be (up) early at any task (with the implication of earnestness); by extension to search for (with painstaking): – [do something] betimes, enquirer early, rise (seek) betimes, seek (diligently) early, in the morning).
A little bit of practical digging showed us a concept we should be familiar with, but how many people take early morning prayer seriously? Why pray early in the morning? The world is full of distractions. Satan has legions of angels dedicated to confusing us. Those evil angels are less effective in the early morning before distractions overwhelm us.
Prayer should be 90% listening. We listen much better when there are no distractions. What better time than the morning? All of this should be common sense, but how many of us give it the proper consideration it deserves?
What are ways we can seek God? I only know a few of them, and God uses them in different combinations. Prayer, an almost audible voice from God, is one way God communicates with us in our thoughts. Some people don’t trust what they hear from God, and that is the most difficult method to explain to people, especially people who never heard God’s voice.
The Bible is another method God uses to communicate with us. Not the, I had a question and opened a page at random method. God may answer questions like that, but that is the elementary level of communication at best, which is formulated on selfishness most of the time. On a more advanced level, God can and will provide answers, and like doubling those talents in the parable in Matthew chapter 25, will provide written proof the Bible is inspired, and the Author is alive and well. Which method is better for proving God exists and is involved in our lives, taking the word of a person, a whimsical flip of the pages revealing secrets of the universe, or showing the specific patterns God used to write every book in the Bible? I prefer the later.
Let’s test a Bible Study rule right here. A very important Bible Study rules tells us, God always answers questions in the previous story. It could be the previous parable, story, or in this case, chapter. We will turn the page back to the previous Psalm, and take a look at the last few verses to see what they tell us about searching for God.
My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge. Common people are as worthless as a puff of wind, and the powerful are not what they appear to be. If you weigh them on the scales, together they are lighter than a breath of air. Don’t make your living by extortion or put your hope in stealing. And if your wealth increases, don’t make it the center of your life. God has spoken plainly, and I have heard it many times: Power, O God, belongs to you; unfailing love, O Lord, is yours. Surely you repay all people according to what they have done. (Psalms 62:7-12 NLTse).
We see the link between the two chapters when we see words and phrases related to communication with God in both chapters. That is a safety feature God installed in scripture. Another safety feature God installed is the use of contrasts. People love to tear apart scripture, making personal messages completely unrelated to the subject at hand. Some times people take what was meant to be a contrast in scripture, and make a doctrine out of it, or use it as a weapon, just what the story warns about. People cannot see them as contrasts because God’s glory is not their motivation. Only people who study scripture with an open mind and open heart, eager to learn can see and understand contrasts.
In this example, we’re shown a set of contrasts all related to seeking God. On the positive side, trust, pouring our hearts out to God, looking to God for protection, and listing to God are ways to seek Him. On the other hand, man made power, wisdom, self reliance, crime, and wealth are all distractions leading people away from God. Most of the advise David recorded is common sense. Having the ability and time to examine those contrasts is another step to seeking God.
God has a habit of verifying messages. God has people all over the world who know how to listen to Him and deliver messages. We need faithful friends of God, so when we need verification, God has someone to send.
Dreams and visions are other forms of communication God uses. Not many pf people have dreams and visions, but they are mentioned in the Bible. How to interpret dreams is explained in the Bible in books such as Daniel. Daniel’s book explained just about every form of communication God uses. Which I look at as another safety feature God placed in scripture. A lot of people claim to have the ability to interpret prophecies in Daniel. I’ve heard some of the strangest interpretations to more than a few verses in Daniel. But how did they get those interpretations? Since they are reading the book, and know how to interpret scripture, they must know all the forms of communication God uses. Which way did God communicate with them? Daniel made it clear, only God interprets dreams. Daniel had to pray and wait for explanations to some of the visions he received. Daniel told us exactly how God provided the answers. If Daniel had to follow those rules, what makes modern day prophets more important than Daniel? Why would God treat modern day prophets differently than Daniel?
Learning about and practicing the ways God communicates with us is searching for God. Are there other ways? There may be. If there are other ways, people should be able to explain the step by step process.
David made it rather clear, we are searching for God in a world that all but rejects God. David used the symbol of a parched and weary land where there is no water. Jesus used water as a symbol of Himself and the knowledge He brought this world. The Old Testament used water to teach lessons in a number of stories. The word water opens doors to engage in studies on deeper levels.
David tells us he saw God inside His Sanctuary, but David didn’t explain how he got there, or what he saw there. This is a common theme throughout the Bible. Many authors explained visions in detail. For the most part, prophets described symbols telling us about events taking place on earth at one time or another. But why no clear explanations about what anyone saw in Heaven? There are some we will cover later in this book. Now we will take a look at some possible symbols David may have used here.
Since prophets normally use symbolism to communicate, maybe we need to hone our understanding of symbols to understand those messages. In this case we are dealing with a search. Symbols may be a part of that search.
We should easily identify parched lands with no water as symbols. Is love a symbol? Since we as humans have little understanding about God’s love, it qualifies as a symbol, something we need to research and have the Bible define. This opened the door to another study.
We have little understanding of God’s power and glory. Are those additional symbols? Once again, we have another set of subjects to study. What about praise and prayer? Are any of us experts on those subjects, or do they also require additional study?
What do those symbols have in common, and how do they relate to a search for God? When we study God’s relationship to those subjects, we learn about God. In fact we learned one thing here, David gave a number of choices and examples for us to studying in our search for God’s Sanctuary.
David also told us another way to search for God, lie awake at night and meditate on God. Eastern religions have given medication a black eye, and many people will immediately condemn any type of meditation on God. Even though David wrote about it.
Once again, we should look at the original Hebrew word David recorded for the two related words, thinking and meditating.
Thinking or Remember
H2142 זָכַר zâkar zaw-kar’
A primitive root; properly to mark (so as to be recognized), that is, to remember; by implication to mention; also (as denominative from H2145) to be male: – X burn [incense], X earnestly, be male, (make) mention (of), be mindful, recount, record (-er), remember, make to be remembered, bring (call, come, keep, put) to (in) remembrance, X still, think on, X well.
Remember may be a better transaction for that Hebrew word. We also learn another Bible Study rule here. Look for key words the author repeated. Key words are words that are the same, similar, and related. In this case, thinking and meditating are similar words. Authors repeated key words to draw our attention to spiritual details as well as the main thought in the story.
H1897 הָגָה hâgâh haw-gaw’
A primitive root (compare H1901); to murmur (in pleasure or anger); by implication to ponder: – imagine, meditate, mourn, mutter, roar, X sore, speak, study, talk, utter.
Meditation works two ways, to think, and verbal communication. We see how those words are related, and when combined, bring out a much deeper meaning.
David closes this prayer with a short summary about relying on God, how God will protect us from our enemies, eventually deal with enemies, and how we need to praise God. All of those are ways to search for God. No matter how God decides to speak to us, we should be ready to listen. Being in God’s Sanctuary is beginning to appear as a symbol that refers to knowing how to listen to God, and the many ways God proves His presence, and help in our lives