I’ve mentioned it before, but I love finding “hidden jewels” in God’s word, and I would nominate this as one of them. Most people aren’t nearly as familiar with it as with, say the 23rd or the 46th. But this is one of my favorites, especially since it has such striking imagery.
It starts out with a verse that expresses a wonderful tension for believers. He begins by boldly proclaiming, “Oh God, you are my God.” This is a statement of certainty, something that will never change. But the rest of the verse speaks to that holy hunger and thirst that Jesus blessed. It’s strange, isn’t it? We have God and are perfectly content with him, but at the same time we want more of him. And David didn’t just have a desire for God. He didn’t just want a more intimate relationship with him, he thirsted for God, and longed for him like a man crossing a desert who thinks he sees an oasis ahead.
Assuming that the superscription is accurate, this was written during--or was inspired by--the time he was on the run from Saul, which apparently inspired a lot of Psalms. All around him was chaos and uncertainty and danger. He couldn’t go back to Jerusalem and enjoy the worship of God in a formal setting along with fellow believers. So there, in the midst of the wilderness, he found a “private moment” in his mind and soul, and communed with his Savior.
And when did he do this? Well, the NIV and other translations render the first verse as “earnestly I seek you,” but literally the word is “early” or “in the morning.” The translators obviously thought that this was a metaphor for “earnestly” or “eagerly,” and I can’t fault them for that. But I'd submit that getting up early for something would indicate how important it is to you. Before the craziness of the day starts, I'd suggest that it’s a good idea to spend some time alone with him.
Much of the Psalm is pretty familiar, especially the ones written while David was a fugitive: I’m surrounded by enemies, I don’t know whom to trust, the situation seems hopeless, but I’m going to trust in God. He’ll vindicate me in the end, while evildoers will get what they deserve. But there’s one phrase that sticks out to me and warms my heart every time I read it from vs. 7: “Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.” This is one of the most intimate images that we have of our Lord from the pages of Scripture. When danger approaches a nest, the mother of many species of birds will cover her offspring with her wings. My wife remembers growing up with chickens, and when a hawk came anywhere near, the mother hen would call all her chicks to gather under her wings, and the chicks had a “song” that they would sing while under her protection.
Isn’t this a beautiful, tender picture of our Lord’s relationship with his beloved children? While everything is devolving into chaos, on the world scene and in our personal lives, we can sing in the shadows of his protection. How’s your “song” sound?
And now for your enjoyment and meditation, here's "Your Love Is Better Than Life" by Eden's Bridge
Lord Jesus, you are my Refuge and my Protector. I am fully content in you, but I want more.