Psalms 63-68
(My Soul Thirsts For You)
June 15th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;

- Psalm 63:1 (KJV)

Summary of Chapters

Most of the Psalms in this group focus on praise with some secondary themes of protection. David, the king of Israel is assumed to be the author of some of them, written for specific events, and not presented in chronological order. For example, experts have conjectured that Psalm 63 was written by David, near the end of his reign, when he was pursued by his son Absalom (See 2 Samuel 15). Although he was in danger, David praises God with very personal language that reflects his deep devotion:

The majority of the Psalm is focused on eloquent worship. David doesn’t even explicitly ask for protection but states confidently that his enemies, which are Absalom and his gang in this case, will be defeated.

The 64th Psalm is a prayer for protection from some unnamed group of conspiring evildoers. In this case, most of the focus of the Psalm is on these wicked folk - cowards who hide from view while preparing to ambush innocent people. Once again, the author expresses his confidence that the LORD will quickly vanquish these foes, and will re-establish a healthy fear of the LORD.

The themes shift from supplication for help in dangerous times to thanks for enduring goodness. Psalm 65 is an eloquent set of verses to give thanks to God who has forgiven the people and provided a bountiful harvest. The middle set of verses praise the power of God who controls the mountains, the seas, and the streams that feed the fields. The author depicts a lush well-watered scene that leads to a harvest that causes carts to overflow - or in some translations, results in cart paths that catch the overflowing bounty. The author describes how even the desert overflows with growth and the meadows and valleys shout for joy.

Psalm 66 continues the theme of praising God. As an example of God’s power and goodness, the psalmist subtly reminds his audience of the route taken by the Israelites through the middle of the Red Sea when parted by God. The author then describes a personal sacrifice that he is about to offer and invites his listener to hear his story and then concludes praising God:

The 67th Psalm is a brief one that praises God and asks for his blessing so that his goodness will be recognized among all nations. He concludes that the praise for God will lead to even more blessings and all will fear God.

Psalm 68 praises God and describes the scene when the ark first arrives in Jerusalem, an event that occurred near the beginning of David's time as king (see 2 Samuel 6). The author describes how other nations will submit themselves to God at the temple and even the nearby mountains will look over in awe. He concludes with a powerful statement of praise: “O God, thou art terrible out of thy holy places: the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people. Blessed be God (68:35 - KJV).”

Reflection and Application

As it is with many of the Psalms, the ones in this set can be a valuable resource when we seek words to praise God. One commentator has noted that “few, if any (of the other Psalms) surpass” the level of devotion recorded in Psalm 63 (1). In this Psalm, the author began by describing his thirst for God.

Pause for a moment to think about how you might have felt on a hot summer day when your throat is dry and your lips are parched.

You probably longed for a cool drink, and when you found a one it was the best tasting drink ever. This is the same type of longing that David writes about, but directed at God rather than water. He once turned down a drink of water that his men had collected at great risk. His empathy for the men who had no water was greater than his own personal thirst. In the same way, at the time of this Psalm, his thirst for God was greater than his thirst for physical nourishment.

Jesus may have had this Psalm in mind when he met a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well. Jesus had taken an unusual route through Samaria, because most devout Jews bypassed this land that in their eyes was filled with half-breeds and pagans. He stopped at Jacob’s well and broke with protocol by asking a Samaritan woman to get him a drink, which quickly led to a spiritual discussion:

The woman became ecstatic when Jesus revealed truths about the woman and about himself. She forgot about her errand to collect water and instead ran off and told everyone in the town. In response the townspeople convinced Jesus to stay for two days to preach to them. (see John 4:4-36 for the complete story). Jesus came to offer his living water to the whole world. Not just the pureblood descendants of the twelve tribes of Jacob, not just the good and righteous, but everyone, the whole world. He also knew that both men and women have a role in evangelizing this message - in this case he choose a woman to spread the good news.

The role of women spreading the good news is consistent with one of the Psalms we read today. In Psalm 68, titled "A National Song of Triumph," the author describes how God blows away enemies like smoke and melts them like wax. Then, who does the author credit for communicating the results?

Have we accepted Jesus’ offer? How intensely do we thirst for God’s presence? Does it make our throats parched? If we cling to him and depend on him, then certainly we will thirst for him the way we thirst for water and will not be able to get through the day without drawing from his goodness and mercy throughout the day.

If we find a new product or service we are often excited to tell friends and others about it. Are we so excited about God that we are ready to run back to town and tell everyone just like this broken woman had? What is holding us back? I imagine some people ignored and scoffed her, saying things like: “This dodgy woman says she met the Messiah at the well! Yeah, right, and I am Elijah!” But others believed, so she persisted in spreading the word and there was enough critical mass of believers to convince Jesus to stay – because he reached out to her in mercy and in turn the woman boldly proclaimed what she had heard. Let’s do the same in our community. Don’t be discouraged by scoffers and skeptics, but persist so that everyone has a chance to hear the news of what God has done for you.

How about our prayers of thanksgiving? For how long should we thank God for the times in the past that he has overfilled our carts and vanquished our foes? The psalmists repeatedly thank God for events that occurred generations ago, such as the Exodus. So it may not be so far-fetched for us to repeatedly give thanks for his goodness and protection that we benefited from last week, last year, or in our ancient past.

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. What is one of the most exciting new products that you have ever used? What did you say to people about it?
    2. What is the most exciting thing that God has done for you? How have you expressed your gratitude?
    3. Be ready to tell someone today about what God has done for you. The opportunity may arise when you least expect it. What would you say?
    Recommended Prayer
    God, we know you have demonstrated your power and mercy to us over and over for thousands of years. Help us to have a healthy fear of you.

    Suggested Prayer Concerns
    Those without an abundance of water


    (1) Kidner, Derek, Psalms 1-72, A commentary, Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, IL, 1975p282

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: Psalms 69-72 (Dear God, Hurry Up Already!)

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