I have always identified with Psalm 63 (note the header of this blog). I guess that means I find myself in the wilderness a lot. Puritan pastor Matthew Henry, whose writings I have loved since college, wrote this of this Psalm:
Even in Canaan, though a fruitful land and the people numerous, yet there were wildernesses, places less fruitful and less inhabited than other places. It will be so in the world, in the church, but not in heaven; there the wilderness shall blossom as the rose. The best and dearest of God’s saints and servants may sometimes have their lot cast in a wilderness, and we have reason to thank God that it is the wilderness of Judah we are in, not the wilderness of Sin. (Matthew Henry’s Commentary in One Volume)
As I read this psalm again this morning, verse 3 really stood out to me. David was in the wilderness as a refugee from either King Saul or his son Absalom, both of whom were out to kill him at different times. (Since David refers to himself as a king in the last verse, I assume that it is the latter. David was not officially king yet when Saul tried to kill him. Really, it doesn’t make much difference which incident it was.) Life-killing desert experiences typically cause me to value my life more than I ought, but David wisely esteemed his life of lesser value than the steadfast, ever-present love of God that sustained him – and even caused him to burst out in joyful song. As Henry points out, my wanderings through the wilderness as a believer should actually cause me to cry out in thankfulness to the God who has saved and redeemed me from the wilderness of sin that separated me from Him. Because of His great love for me, He sustains me through every other wilderness – even those of my own making.