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Psalm 63: A Psalm of David, Longing for Fellowship With God

O God, you are my God,
and I long for you.
My whole being desires you;
like a dry, worn-out, and waterless land,
my soul is thirsty for you.
Let me see you in the sanctuary;
let me see how mighty and glorious you are.
Your constant love is better than life itself,
and so I will praise you.
I will give you thanks as long as I live;
I will raise my hands to you in prayer.
My soul will feast and be satisfied,
and I will sing glad songs of praise to you.
As I lie in bed, I remember you;
all night long I think of you,
because you have always been my help.
In the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.
I cling to you, and your hand keeps me safe.
Those who are trying to kill me
will go down into the world of the dead.
They will be killed in battle,
and their bodies eaten by wolves.
Because God gives him victory, the king will rejoice.
Those who make promises in God’s name will praise him, but the mouths of liars will be shut.

This is one of the most beautiful and stirring Psalms in the entire Psalter. Rumor has it that David directed this Psalm to be heralded at least once a day, every day. John Donne (1571 – 1631) barrister, poet (Note 1), and cleric said of it: “The whole Book of Psalms is oleum effumm, (as the spouse speaks of the name of Christ) an ointment poured out upon all sorts of sores, a cerecloth that supples all bruises, a balm that searches all wounds; so are there some certain Psalms, that are imperial Psalms, that command over all affections, and spread themselves over all occasions, catholic, universal Psalms, that apply themselves to all necessities. This is one of those; for, of those constitutions which are called apostolical, one is that the church should meet every day to sing this Psalm. And accordingly, St. Chrysostom (347 – 407) testifies that it was decreed and ordained by the primitive fathers that no day should pass without the public singing of this Psalm.”

Shall we do likewise.

Note 1. “… for whom the bell tolls,” Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions

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