We are divinely designed to thrive in the presence of our creator God. David understood this, and it is reflected in Psalms 63–65. Praising God for His faithfulness, trusting Him when we are under attack, and obeying His Word are keys to enjoying security and satisfaction in Him.
Security and Satisfaction
As we open our study of Psalm 63, the heading reads, “A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.” The wilderness of Judah is a desolate place—thousands of acres of rolling, sunbaked hills.
In verse 9 David indicates why he is out there. He writes, “Those who seek to destroy my life shall go down into the depths of the earth.” David is a fugitive in the desert, running from Saul or, perhaps more likely at this point, from his rebellious son Absalom, who has masterminded an attempt to take the throne of Israel.
In this psalm David actually offers guidance to help us whenever we find ourselves in a spiritually desolate place. He writes in verse 1:
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
David is describing the world as a place where you cannot find satisfaction. This is a dry place. In other words, if you are thirsty for something real and lasting, the world does not have that kind of water fountain. It cannot satisfy your thirst.
In this world, we are offered a lot of things to entertain us—to get our minds off our problems. We are offered a lot of amusement today. Interestingly, the word muse means to think and with the prefix a –– means not to think or to be distracted from thinking.
Amusement keeps you occupied so you don’t think. Now there is nothing wrong with an amusement park. When our children were growing up, we would take them to the annual state fair, held here in our hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina.
The kids loved the rides, and I loved the food. I would make my way over and stand in line for one of those deep-fried chocolate candy bars. They would take a candy bar and poke a little stick through it to make it like a corndog. Then they would cover it with something that looked like pancake batter and stick it in a pot of oil to deep-fry it. After a few seconds, the candy bar would melt on the inside, and the outside would become a fluffy, crispy coating. Then the chef, who obviously went to the finest culinary school in the country, rolled it in powdered sugar. When he handed it to me, I could almost hear my aorta slamming shut.
Obviously, I wasn’t doing much thinking there at the amusement park.
Well, that’s how David describes the world. Oh, it is full of entertainment, but it leaves you longing for something meaningful, something better.
Romans 12:1-2, 1 Corinthians 7:31, James 4:4, 1 John 2:15-17
David is thirsty for the Lord; he writes here that he “earnestly” seeks after God. This word “earnestly” can be translated “early.” At the beginning of his day, David is drawn to the Lord by his spiritual thirst.
But David is also hungry for the things of God. He writes here in verse 5:
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips.
Have you ever considered that walking with God is like eating a rich, well-prepared meal? I’m not talking about a deep-fried candy bar but a soul-nourishing, heart-satisfying meal. It will turn into a Thanksgiving meal, because it leads David to praise the Lord with joyful lips.
Now David changes the metaphor from the dinner table to the garden. He writes in verse 8, “My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.”
The picture here of a clinging vine is a description of David holding on to God, keeping the Lord close. But you will notice that God’s right hand upholds him. The hand of power, the sovereign hand of God, keeps hold of him. So, David is clinging by faith, and the Lord’s powerful hand is upholding David. This relationship is a two-way street.
I wonder if 2 Samuel 17 was the inspiration for this psalm. David is on the run from his enemies, sitting in the wilderness, betrayed; he has his family with him, along with a small band of soldiers, and a few friends, and they’re not sure what to do next.
Then suddenly wagons appear, loaded with food and supplies provided by some loyal friends. And without being asked, his friends offer this explanation in verse 29: “The people are hungry and weary and thirsty in the wilderness.”
This pictures the Lord arriving at just the right time. Through His Word, through a friend, or through a phone call or note, God meets you with just the right provision to help encourage you along the way. Maybe that is what you need today. Or maybe you know some people who need you to drive your wagon over to their place and encourage them because they are hungry and thirsty in the wilderness.
Now Psalm 64 is a short psalm with a familiar theme. David is writing about having to deal with hurtful and discouraging words. And he’s praying for strength to endure it all.
He writes here in these opening verses that his enemies have “tongues like swords, who aim bitter words like arrows, shooting from ambush at the blameless, shooting at him suddenly and without fear” (verses 3-4). They are shooting arrows that are tipped with poisonous words.
What do you do when you are under this kind of assault? Well, frankly, you don’t just stand there and see how many arrows you can take; you take it all to the Lord. That is what David does here. He seeks vindication in God alone, running to the Lord to “take refuge in him” (verse 10).
Psalm 65 is as far away from the battlefield as you can get. It seems like David takes us to some well-watered farmland where the soil is rich and moist—a farmer’s dream.
These verses are filled with praise for all the blessings received from God. In verse 2, the Lord hears the prayers of those who come to the Him with the right heart. In verse 3 it is praise for the grace of God: “When iniquities prevail against me, you atone for our transgressions.”
Every farmer reading this psalm understands the depth of David’s praise as he writes here in verses 9-10:
You visit the earth and water it; you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; you provide their grain, for so you have prepared it. You water its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth.
Like I said, this is a farmer’s psalm, and it gives us another way of describing the satisfaction that God alone can bring.
David writes here about the bumper crop at harvesttime:
You crown the year with your bounty; your wagon tracks overflow with abundance. The pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with joy, the meadows clothe themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy. (verses 11-13)
Listen, what makes these psalms possible and inspiring—giving us security and satisfaction—is the connection between our obedience to God’s Word and the faithfulness and provision from the hand of God.
C. S. Lewis once wrote that true pleasure in life—true satisfaction—is the invention of God. Satan has never been able to manufacture a single genuine pleasure in life.
The best Satan can do is amuse you for a little while—and probably get you to eat something that is not all that good for you—but true and lasting pleasure and satisfaction is something we receive from walking with God. And just think of the pleasures of heaven to come—seeing God, worshiping the Lord, fellowshipping with the redeemed, walking the streets of gold along that river that cascades from God’s throne, and enjoying fruit year-round from the Tree of Life. All that and so much more is going to satisfy us one day, and it’s going to last forever and ever.
 John Phillips, Exploring the Psalms: Volume Two (Loizeaux Brothers, 1988), 501.