Psalm 63

David wrote this psalm when he was in the Judah wilderness.

A morning song

63:1The Church has used this as a morning song for hundreds of years. This is because verse 1 says, ‘I will look for you early.’ The Hebrew word ‘early’ can also mean ‘in a special way.’

Maybe David wrote this psalm when he wrote Psalm 3. Psalm 3 is another morning song. David wrote it when his son Absalom tried to kill him. David ran away to Edom. Edom is east of Jerusalem where David lived. To get to Edom David went through a wilderness, or a wild place. There was not much water and it was very dry. It made David think that he was very dry. This was not because he was thirsty for water but thirsty for God! He could not go to the Temple in Jerusalem and speak to God. David prays that God will send somebody to kill his enemies. Then he can go back to the Temple, or the house of God, in Jerusalem.

1 God, you are my God. I will look for you early in the morning.

My soul is thirsty for you. All of me wants you.

It is like living in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.

63:1As our bodies need food and drink, so our souls need something. That something is God! Read Matthew 5:10 at the top of this psalm. In it, Jesus promised this. Those who want (or are hungry and thirsty) to see God do what is right will live in God's kingdom.

2 I want to see you in your house,

I want to see your power and your glory.

63:2David wanted to see God's power and glory in the Temple in Jerusalem. David calls the Temple ‘your house.’ You can read about the Temple after Psalm 4. And you can read about righteousness after Psalm 5. The glory of God is something that shines more than the sun!

3 Your kind love is better than life,

so my mouth will sing your praises.

4 Also I will say how good you are all my life.

I will lift up my hands in your name.

63:4When we lift our hands up to God, it means that we give the whole of ourselves to God. It shows people what we feel like inside.

5 My soul is full, as if I had eaten a lot at a party.

My mouth is full of happy praises to you.

63:5When the Jews burnt animals to make God happy, they sometimes ate part of the meat. That is the sort of party it means here. A feast is a better word for it, when people eat and drink a lot. David is saying that God has fed his soul as a feast would feed his body. That is why he will praise God and tell him that he is a great God!

6 I remember you when I am in bed

and I think of you through the night.

63:6They used to make the night into separate ‘watches.’ These were times of 3 hours for the Jews, 4 hours for the Romans. This verse in Hebrew is 'think of you through the night watches'. This is the best thing to do when we cannot sleep.

7 Because you have given me help

and I will praise you in the shadow of your wings.

63:7The Old Testament gives us a picture of God as a bird! We can then hide under his wings when we are in danger. Other psalms have this picture of God as a bird. They are Psalms 17:8, 36:7 and 57:1.

8 My soul stays very near to you

and your right hand keeps me safe.

9 I ask that someone will destroy the people that want to kill me.

Then they will go down deep into the earth.

10 The sword will kill them

and wild animals will eat their dead bodies.

63:10Verses 9-10: This is what Christians call ‘A Prayer of Imprecation.’ Read about it in our notes about Psalm 58. ‘Imprecation’ means ‘praying for bad things to happen to people.’ We find these prayers hard to agree with today. This is because Jesus told us to love our enemies and to pray for them (Matthew 5:44). ‘Deep into the earth’ means ‘into Sheol.’ That is where the Jews thought that people's souls went when their bodies died. It was a dark place under the ground. These bodies remained on the ground, and wild animals like jackals came and ate them. They were the bodies of David's enemies.

11 The king will sing psalms of praises to God.

Everybody that promises to serve God will be very happy.

This is because the mouths of people who tell lies will be shut.

63:11Verse 11: The king is David himself. He will praise God because his enemies are dead. They will not tell lies again because their mouths are shut.