Praying the Psalms: My Soul Thirsts for You

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soul thirsts for you, my flesh faints for you
      Praying the Psalms, 4   
Mar 2019, Christ Mountain Top
reading, Isaiah 55
Luke 13.1-9
Psalm 63
Moment, UMCOR Sunday video 3
then hunger
then sanctuary, then bedroom
all-nighter with God, waiting for answered prayer at sunrise
in the morning, prayed at night
      Lament over personal troubles and God’s
      Thanksgiving for sacrifice/meal?
conclusion – “those who seek to destroy my life” (v9)
·       Paired
with title line, “Of David. When he was in the Wilderness of Judah.”
·       That
does not mean that it was in fact written by David. It could refer to a David
tradition psalm, or a psalm written to fit within David’s legendary story. We
don’t know, and the title line does not require any particular conclusion.
·       David
fleeing from Saul? From Absalom? Yet did not desire that either die.
·       However
we understand the title section, it is clear by the conclusion that this psalm
is a prayer offered when our very life may be threatened.
is that very threat that makes the praise of this psalm so audacious. It is not
that everything is going great. Even though things are bad, even though folks
are out to kill me, I have not forgotten the reality, the foundation, that I
celebrate and experience in worship with the people of God in the sanctuary. My
soul is satisfied. And, “your steadfast love is better than life” (v3).

psalm expresses a deep desire for God, a longing for intimacy that sustains
through the most difficult trial, affection for one’s lover no matter the
circumstances that surround you. Metaphors of desire and delight permeate the
text, from the intimacies of the table (food and drink), to the privacy of the
      Psalm 63:1 
my flesh faints for you
      Psalm 63:3 
your steadfast love is better than life
      Psalm 63:6 
I think of you on my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the
it is not as straightforward as the metaphors in Jewel’s song “Jupiter”:
could spend my life
the length of your body
we take these metaphors of desire and delight an erotic direction, this psalm
is clearly one of intimacy with God.
every night, when my head hits the pillow, my final prayer is “thank you.” Not
that the day was a great one. I’m tired and I need sleep. I’m overwhelmed and
I’m grateful that I can stop working and trust God to hold me. I am anxious and
life is uncertain; I’m laying my burdens down. “Thank you.”
      And when I wake in the middle of the night
– Jesse calls, or one of a hundred personal or pastoral burdens calls me – I
      I’ve never pulled an all-nighter (in
school or in prayer), but “I think of you on my bed, and meditate on you in the
watches of the night.”
of Mabbug (ACCS, OT VIII, Psalms 51-150, Quentin F. Wesselschmidt, ed. Downers
Grove, IL: IVP 2007, p 55):
should be secretly swallowed up in the spirit of God, and one should clothe
oneself in God at the time of prayer both outwardly and inwardly, set on fire
with ardent love for him and entirely engulfed in his thoughts of God, entirely
commingled in all of him, with the movements of one’s thoughts suffused with
wondrous recollection of God, while the soul has gone out in love to seek him
whom it loves, just as David said.
different intimacy story: Marcy’s friend’s adoption
      Foster at 6 months
      Bio mom at 1 year
      Back and forth until 3.5 years old
the prayer of David we have before us today, their intimacy with their child grew,
despite the extreme trials of the process. Many folks would have given up hope,
but they persevered. “My soul thirsts for you, my flesh faints for you.” They
pursued their desire until they were satisfied. “I think of you on my bed” over
many anxious and sleepless nights. No matter the developmental delays, no
matter the harm to this little girl’s mental health, “your steadfast love is
better than life.”
Luke 13: The difference between stepping in poop and working with manure … what
matters is the fruit. Not to reframe all the bad things that happen as
fertilizer, but to remember that fruit is what does matter.
Ancient Christian
Commentary on Scripture, OT VIII, Psalms 51-150,

Quentin F. Wesselschmidt, ed. Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2007.
The New Interpreter’s
Bible, vol VI, Psalms,
J. Clinton McCann, Jr.
Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1996.