This is a childhood favorite that we sang at morning worship - yet don't let church tradition rob you of its evening worth.
Timings of references help us unearth three divisions: these provide a key to unlock the song's main thrust as David, the LORD's Anointed, cries in exile to His God.
Messiah's Help - Satisfying Diurnal Joy in Verses 1-5
Desert drought is overtaken by his daybreak, craving, panting, heart: God's glory, power and kindness, seen formerly in God's Tent, are prized and praised, by David, even above life itself - divine presence and favor sustain satisfied souls and lauding lips. Despite a famine circumstance God's Christ enjoys a festal celebration.
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips.
Messiah's Haven - Securing Nocturnal Joy in Verses 6-8
Long hours of darkness make it time to chew the cud. Musing meditations recollect God on his bed: this clinging, chased, chick finds safe shelter in warm, enfolding, wings of a caring, clucking, divine, 'mother-hen'. Past and present aid, for the soul that clings to God, means that even in a storm God's Christ remains a chirpy, chick.
For you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.
Messiah's Hope - Successful Final Joy in Verses 9-10
David's persecutors will perish - going down into earth's depths. Covenant-breakers will be cursed - exposed by God to blade and beast. Royalists now rejoice - both God's sovereign and his subjects who stand by him in trial. Those who kept oaths, to be loyal to Christ's crown, side with David's sorrow and share in subsequent glory.
But the king shall rejoice in God; all who swear by him shall exult, for the mouth of liars will be stopped.
Top Tips for Thirsty, Trying, Times
- In the darkest, driest, dreariest, desert, days seek your joy in God: open up His book, go into His house, pant for His grace - God's sap and fat do not disappoint.
- Hurricanes may howl, tempests may terrify, but sheltering in Christ's shade you'll learn that you are safe and able, even here, to sing with joy in God.
- If, as members of Christ's body, we must suffer with our Head, help in this life and heaven in the next, await God-seeking souls, for His truth must triumph.
- If, as the Type, David put his trust in God when driven out by Absalom, how much more did Jesus, the Anti-Type, find consolation in His Father when despised, rejected and persecuted for us, even to death on a Cross. Watch His thirsty lips and hear His dehydrated gasps - if we lack poise and persistence to run for cover in trial, King Jesus supplies faith to make His God our trust.
Subscribe to Gentle Reformation
Get the latest posts delivered right to your inbox