Obsessed with God - A Psalm for the New Year
Obsessed with God: A Psalm for a New Year* (Psalm 63)
Do you have an obsession? Does something compel you daily in all of life? The psalmist expresses an obsession with meeting and. knowing God. Psalm 63 has been called the "Soul of the Psalms." The earliest church sang it every morning. It is our psalm for a new year.
Sometimes circumstances leave us with nothing in life but God alone. David had been betrayed by his own son, exiled from his throne, and humiliated in the desert. Out of that experience, he expressed his desire for God alone. In the new year, every believer should crave a relationship with the living God.
Begin the New Year Seeking God
Do you have a passion for God? David reveals and overwhelming passion for God Himself. We should mold our approach to God after that of David; he sought God not for anything God could do for him, but for the worth of God Himself.
Seek God with intensify. "Earnestly I seek you" (v. 1) combines thoughts of earliness and eagerness in the quest for God. David's words "thirst" and "long" suggest a condition just short of fainting for the presence of God. Is there anything approaching the intensity of David in your quest for God?
Seek God with totality. David speaks of "soul" and "body" belonging to his craving for God. Taken together, he means his whole being, his total self. There is nothing about us that should know satisfaction short of God. Our emotions, reason, will, and the physical body through which they act, should all crave the living God.
Seek God out of necessity, "in a dry and weary land where there is no water" (v. 1). David considered himself like a desert in need of water from God. The greatest necessity of our life is confrontation with God.
Begin the New Year Remembering God
Remember God in worshipfulness. "I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and glory" (v. 2). We need high moments in God's sanctuary which we can recall in life's later low moments. Exiled and alone, David could remember gazing on the things of God in the Jerusalem sanctuary. Such "sanctuary memories" sustained him in the desert.
Remember God in wakefulness. "On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night" (v. 6). At night, when sleep fails or fear stalks, we should remember God. What do you do with insomnia or sudden awakening in the night? David became so engrossed with the thoughts of God's goodness that he recalled them throughout the night. The night as well as the day ought to belong to Him.
Begin the New Year Praising God
Reasons abound for the praise of God. We can praise God because of His affection. It is literally "better than life" (v. 3). We can praise God because of the sense of spiritual satisfaction in spiritual life. Spiritually, we have been satisfied with a rich and sumptuous feast, like eating succulent fat meat (v. 5). We can praise God for His protection. We enjoy a living protection of One who really responds to our needs, like living under the shadow of mighty wings (v. 7). We have a strong protection of the Almighty hand holding us even as we cling to Him (v. 8).
Responses announce the praise of God. Repeatedly, David emphasizes the vocal dimension of praise to God. Singing, shouting, and lauding the goodness of God with our lips is appropriate response.
There is also a physical dimension in our praise to God. "In your name I will lift up my hands" (v. 4). This is the outward symbol of an uplifted heart. The inwardness of spiritual feeling must be completed by outward expression in physical action. "I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands" (1 Tim. 2:8, KJV).
There is every reason to begin the new year obsessed with God Himself. Surely we desire God to bless our church, families, and work. But first, we must seek Him for what He is in Himself. Two slightly different sermons on Psalm 63.