Jesus said, "Good things will happen to people that are hungry and *thirsty for *righteousness. They will have the *kingdom of *heaven". (Matthew 5:10) (The "*kingdom of heaven" is where God is king. "Righteousness" is when everybody does what is right. Only God is really *righteous, and "righteousness" here may mean "God".)
(This is) a psalm of David, when he was in the wild country of Judah.
v1 God, you are my God. I will look for you early (in the morning).
My *soul is *thirsty for you. All of me wants you.
(It is *like living in) a dry and *thirsty land where there is no water.
v2 I want to see you in your house,
I want to see your power and your *glory.
v9 I ask that (someone) will destroy the people that want to kill me.
Then they will go down deep into the earth.
v10 The *sword will kill them
and wild animals will eat their dead bodies.
v11 The king will sing psalms (of *praises) to God.
Everybody that promises to serve God will be very happy.
(This is) because the mouths of people who tell *lies will be shut.
The Story of Psalm 63
The Church has used this as a morning song for hundreds of years. This is because verse 1 says, "I will look for you early". The Hebrew word "early" can also mean "in a special way".
Maybe David wrote this psalm when he wrote Psalm 3. Psalm 3 is another morning song. David wrote it when his son Absalom tried to kill him. David ran away to Edom. Edom is east of Jerusalem where David lived. To get to Edom David went through a *wilderness, or a wild place. There was not much water and it was very dry. It made David think that he was very dry. This was not because he was *thirsty for water but *thirsty for God! He could not go to the *Temple in Jerusalem and speak to God. David prays that God will send somebody to kill his enemies. Then he can go back to the *Temple, or the house of God, in Jerusalem.
What Psalm 63 means
Verse 1: As our bodies need food and drink, so our *souls need something. That something is God! Read Matthew 5:10 at the top of this psalm. In it, Jesus promised this. Those who want (or are hungry and *thirsty) to see God do what is right will live in God’s *kingdom.
Verse 2: David wanted to see God’s power and *glory in the *Temple in Jerusalem. David calls the *Temple ‘your house’. You can read about the *Temple after Psalm 4. And you can read about *righteousness after Psalm 5 (in Psalms 1-41). The *glory of God is something that shines more than the sun!
Verse 4: When we lift our hands up to God, it means that we give the whole of ourselves to God. It shows people what we feel *like inside.
Verse 5: When the Jews burnt animals to make God happy, they sometimes ate part of the meat. That is the sort of party it means here. A feast is a better word for it, when people eat and drink a lot. David is saying that God has fed his *soul as a feast would feed his body. That is why he will *praise God and tell him that he is a great God!
Verse 6: They used to make the night into separate "watches". These were times of 3 hours for the Jews, 4 hours for the Romans. This verse in Hebrew is 'think of you through the night watches'. This is the best thing to do when we cannot sleep.
Verse 7: The Old Testament gives us a picture of God as a bird! We can then hide under his *wings when we are in danger. Other psalms have this picture of God as a bird. They are Psalms 17:8, 36:7 and 57:1.
Verses 9 – 10: This is what Christians call "A *Prayer of *Imprecation". Read about it in our notes about Psalm 58. "Imprecation" means "praying for bad things to happen to people". We find these *prayers hard to agree with today. This is because Jesus told us to love our enemies and to pray for them (Matthew 5:44). "Deep into the earth" means "into *Sheol". That is where the Jews thought that people’s *souls went when their bodies died. It was a dark place under the ground. These bodies remained on the ground, and wild animals *like jackals came and ate them. They were the bodies of David’s enemies.
Verse 11: The king is David himself. He will *praise God because his enemies are dead. They will not tell *lies again because their mouths are shut.
Something to do
1. When you cannot sleep at night, think of God. It helps to repeat some parts of the Bible. Learn some verses so that you can do this. Verses 3 and 8 in this psalm are good verses to learn.
2. Study again "*righteousness" and "*prayers of *imprecation". You will find the psalms that they are in our notes about verses 2 and 9 above.
Simeon said to Mary, "Look, this child (Jesus) is here so that many in Israel will fall down and then rise up again. And many people will say bad things about him. Yes, and a *sword will cut into your *soul also". (Luke 2:34, 35)
(Our *soul is the part of us that will live on when our body dies. It feels sad or happy when things are bad or good.)