|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
63:1,2 Early will I seek thee. The true Christian devotes to God the morning hour. He opens the eyes of his understanding with those of his body, and awakes each morning to righteousness. He arises with a thirst after those comforts which the world cannot give, and has immediate recourse by prayer to the Fountain of the water of life. The true believer is convinced, that nothing in this sinful world can satisfy the wants and desires of his immortal soul; he expects his happiness from God, as his portion. When faith and hope are most in exercise, the world appears a weary desert, and the believer longs for the joys of heaven, of which he has some foretastes in the ordinances of God upon earth.
Verse 1. - O God, thou art my God; or, my strong God (Eli) - my Tower of strength. Early will I seek thee. The song was, perhaps, composed in the night watches, and poured forth at early dawn, when the king woke "refreshed" (comp. vers. 5, 6; and 2 Samuel 16:14). My soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee; or, pineth for thee (the verb occurs only in this place). Soul and body equally long for God, and especially desire to worship him in the sanctuary (ver. 2). In a dry and thirsty (or, weary) land, where no water is. This is figurative, no doubt; but it may also contain an allusion to the literal fact (2 Samuel 16:2; 2 Samuel 17:29).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
O God, thou art my God,.... Not by nature only, or by birth; not merely as an Israelite and son of Abraham; but by grace through Christ, and in virtue of an everlasting covenant, the blessings and promises of which were applied unto him; and he, by faith, could now claim his interest in them, and in his God as his covenant God; who is a God at hand and afar off, was his God in the wilderness of Judea, as in his palace at Jerusalem. The Targum is,
"thou art my strength;''
early will I seek thee; or "I will morning thee" (o); I will seek thee as soon as the morning appears; and so the Targum,
"I will arise in the morning before thee;''
it has respect to prayer in the morning, and to seeking God early, and in the first place; see Psalm 5:3; or "diligently" (p); as a merchant seeks for goodly pearls, or other commodities suitable for him; so Aben Ezra suggests, as if the word was to be derived, not from "the morning", but from "merchandise"; and those who seek the Lord both early and diligently shall find him, and not lose their labour, Proverbs 2:4;
my soul thirsteth for thee; after his word, worship, and ordinances; after greater knowledge of him, communion with him, and more grace from him; particularly after pardoning grace and justifying righteousness; see Psalm 42:1; My flesh longeth for thee; which is expressive of the same thing in different words; and denotes, that he most earnestly desired, with his whole self, his heart, soul, and strength, that he might enjoy the presence of God;
in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; such was the wilderness of Judea, where he now was, and where he was destitute of the means of grace, of the ordinances of God's house, and wanted comfort and refreshment for his soul, which he thirsted and longed after, as a thirsty man after water in a desert place.
(o) "sub auroram quaero te", Piscator. (p) "Studiosissime", Gejerus, Michaelis.
The Treasury of David
1 God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;
2 To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.
3 Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.
4 Thus will I bless thee while I:live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.
5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips"
6 When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.
7 Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will Irejoice.
8 My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.
"O God, thou art my God;" or, O God, thou art my Mighty One. The last Psalm left the echo of power ringing in the ear, and it is here remembered. Strong affiance bids the fugitive poet confess his allegiance to the only living God; and firm faith enables him to claim him as his own. He has no doubts about his possession of his God; and why should other believers have any? The straightforward, clear language of this opening sentence would be far more becoming in Christians than the timorous and doubtful expressions so usual among professors. How sweet is such language! Is there any other word comparable to it for delights? Meus Deus. Can angels say more? "Early will I seek thee." Possession breeds desire. Full assurance is no hindrance to diligence, but is the mainspring of it. How can I seek another man's God? but it is with ardent desire that I seek after him whom I know to be my own. Observe the eagerness implied in the time mentioned; he will not wait for noon or the cool eventide; he is up at cockcrowing to meet his God. Communion with God is so sweet that the chill of the morning is forgotten, and the luxury of the couch is despised. The morning is the time for dew and freshness, and the Psalmist consecrates it to prayer and devout fellowship. The best of men have been betimes on their knees. The word "early" has not only the sense of early in the morning, but that of eagerness, immediateness. He who truly longs for God longs for him now. Holy desires are among the most powerful influences that stir our inner nature; hence the next sentence, "My soul thirsteth for thee." Thirst is an insatiable longing after that which is one of the most essential supports of life; there is no reasoning with it, no forgetting it, no despising it, no overcoming it by stoical indifference. Thirst will be heard; the whole man must yield to its power: even thus is it with that divine desire which the grace of God creates in regenerate men; only God himself can satisfy the craving of a soul really aroused by the Holy Spirit. "My flesh longeth for thee;" by the two words "soul" and "flesh," he denotes the whole of his being. "The flesh," in the New Testament sense of it, never longs after the Lord, but rather it lusteth against the spirit; David only refers to that sympathy which is sometimes created in our bodily frame by vehement emotions of the soul. Our corporeal nature usually tugs in the other direction, but the spirit when ardent can compel it to throw in what power it has upon the other side. When the wilderness caused David's weariness, discomfort, and thirst, his flesh cried out in unison with the desire of his soul. "In a dry and thirsty land, where no water is." A weary place and a weary heart make the presence of God the more desirable; if there be nothing below and nothing within to cheer, it is a thousand mercies that we may look up and find all we need. How frequently have believers traversed in their experience this "dry and thirsty land," where spiritual joys are things forgotten! and how truly can they testify that the only true necessity of that country is the near presence of their God! The absence of outward comforts can be borne with serenity when we walk with God; and the most lavish multiplication of them avails not when he withdraws. Only after God, therefore, let us pant. Let all desires be gathered into one. Seeking first the kingdom of God - all else shall be added unto us.
"To see thy power and thy glory, so longed not so much to see the sanctuary as I have seen thee in the sanctuary." He as to see his God; he looked through the veil of ceremonies to the invisible One. Often had his heart been gladdened by communion with God in the outward ordinances, and for this great blessing he sighs again; as well he might, for it is the weightiest of all earth's sorrows for a Christian man to lose the conscious presence of his covenant God. He remembers and mentions the two attributes which had most impressed themselves upon his mind when he had been rapt in adoration in the holy place; upon these his mind had dwelt in the preceding Psalm, and the say our of that contemplation is evidently upon his heart when in the wilderness: these he desires to behold again in the place of his banishment. It is a precious thought that the divine power and glory are not confined in their manifestation to any places or localities; they are to be heard above the roaring of the sea, seen amid the glare of the tempest, felt in the forest and the prairie, and enjoyed wherever there is a heart that longs and thirsts to behold them. Our misery is that we thirst so little for these sublime things, and so much for the mocking trifles of time and sense. We are in very truth always in a weary land, for this is not our rest; and it is marvellous that believers do not more continuously thirst after their portion far beyond the river where they shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more but shall see the face of their God, and his name shall be in their foreheads. David did not thirst for water or any earthly thing, but only for spiritual manifestations. The sight of God was enough but nothing short of that would content him. How great a friend is he, for him, the very Sight of whom is consolation. Oh, my soul, imitate the Psalmist, and let all thy desires ascend towards the highest good; longing here to see God, and having no higher joy even for eternity.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Ps 63:1-11. The historical occasion referred to by the title was probably during Absalom's rebellion (compare 2Sa 15:23, 28; 16:2). David expresses an earnest desire for God's favor, and a confident expectation of realizing it in his deliverance and the ruin of his enemies.
1. early … seek thee—earnestly (Isa 26:9). The figurative terms—
dry and thirsty—literally, "weary," denoting moral destitution, suited his outward circumstances.
soul—and—flesh—the whole man (Ps 16:9, 10).
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