David sure spent a lot of time in the desert. He did so when running from Saul, and also when running from his son Absalom. It seems, however, from what David writes here that he wrote this Psalm when he was running from his son.
And in the middle of the desert, tired, hungry, and thirsty, he writes,
O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. (1)
In other words, David’s saying, “God, I’m physically hungry. I’m physically thirsty. But more than these things, I hunger and thirst for you. My longing is for you.”
In Jerusalem, where his palace was, David could go to the tabernacle to worship God, but here he was cut off from the tabernacle. And so he writes longingly,
I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. (2)
But even here in the desert, running for his life, and cut off from the sanctuary, he sings,
Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. (3-4)
And just as a man or woman thinks about his lover, he writes,
On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. (6)
Not only that, his closeness to God was such that even in the midst of his trials, he found comfort in the love of God.
Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. (7-8)
How is your passion for God? Does your soul cling to him? Do you love him so much that your thoughts bend towards him as you are going to sleep? Is his love better than life to you; do you find satisfaction for your soul in him? Do you hunger and thirst for more of him in your life.
I was watching American Idol recently, and one singer sang, “Everything” by LifeHouse (a secular rock group, but founded by Christians).
The words are strikingly similar to David’s here.
Find me here, and speak to me
I want to feel you, I need to hear you
You are the light that’s leading me to the place
Where I find peace again
You are the strength that keeps me walking
You are the hope that keeps me trusting
You are the light to my soul
You are my purpose
And how can I stand here with you
And not be moved by you
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?
You calm the storms and you give me rest
You hold me in your hands
You won’t let me fall
You steal my heart and you take my breath away
Would you take me in, take me deeper now
And how can I stand here with you and not be moved by you
Cause you’re all I want, you’re all I need
You’re everything, everything
You’re all I want
You’re all I need
You’re everything, everything.