O God, My God!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "O Jesus I Have Promised"1 (Lyrics)

Psalm 63:1 – O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. (NIV 1984)

Psalm 63:1 – You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. (NIV 2011)

I love the psalms! They express for me what I am unable to — thoughts and feelings that I would not think of putting into words — like disappointment, restored joy, abandonment, thanksgiving, grief, trust in God, or a cry for justice. I admit that often I find myself in the psalms simply because it's where my Bible falls open. Yet here, I must pause, for this is the place where the Scriptures and my soul open up together. By inviting me into the experience of the psalmists, the psalms are able to penetrate through my entire being. They raise my hidden burdens to the surface. And from that lowly place, the psalms lift me God-ward. Meditating in the psaltery is like breathing deeply — in full, cleansing breaths.

Who but God could have stirred frail humanity to create such magnificent poetry? Who but God could have ensured its preservation?

I'm convinced that my God is still watching over the sacred text to preserve its message, for the wellbeing of His dear ones. Consider today's passage from Psalm 63: specifically the words, "my whole being". Could it be that God guided the translators of the NIV 2011 to replace the NIV 1984 words, "my body" with "my whole being" to better reflect the psalmist's view? After all, ancient people never separated the human being into parts as we do, such as inside versus outside, soul versus flesh, spirit versus the physical. For them, being was all one. The phrase, "my soul thirsts for you", is the same as saying, "my whole being longs for you". It's two expressions for one idea, and together, they strengthen that thought. We do well to consider this. After all, our bodies are intricately interwoven with what happens within our thoughts and emotions. The psalms, indeed, give vent for our entire being.

The word "soul" often appears in the psalms. When I see that word, I no longer imagine this "soul" as a remote part within the psalmist, fragmented from the rest of his being. No. In his entirety, he is experiencing life as it happens — in every fibre, in every bone. The psalmist's whole being reaches heavenward with cries such as, "O God, my God".

As Christians, we can be grateful to God for inspiring such helpful, expressive thoughts that strengthen our faith and connect us back to Him. We can look up to the Lord in thanksgiving for the privilege of trusting Him to work through us.

Beloved friends, I invite you to join with me in this prayer: "O God, my God, no thoughts, no words, no actions can fully express my gratitude to You for Your gift of the psalms. Here is where I can connect my experience with that of another human being. And I am assured that every facet of my being matters to You — just as it did to the psalm writers. Amen."

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About the author:

Diane Eaton <d.eaton@bmts.com>
Paisley, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Well said Diane.

    Diane – That was a powerful message! Thanks for writing it.

    My deep and sincere thanks for this message. It describes my innermost feelings perfectly. Blessings.

    What helpful comments. It was good to mediate on the phrase, “my entire being”.
    I always appreciate your devotionals.

    I find your devotional this morning very beautiful and expressive and helpful. I am going to read a psalm now. I especially thank you for the prayer you sent.

    Hello Diane,
    Thank you!
    THANK YOU! wonderfully well expressed.

    Thank you Diane,
    Indeed there are no loose ends in the Kingdom; Everything dovetails with a perfect fit, held in place eternal by Father’s loving presence.

    We have had this conversation of body versus soul in our own church. Many if not most of us, myself included, believe the soul is immortal, that though the present body perishes upon death, the soul lives on awaiting Jesus’ second coming. When Jesus comes again, we shall rise with new bodies, and our souls will be united with our new bodies to await judgement.

    Thank you so much for your written devotional. Psalms is where I turn too when I need God to speak to my heart, soul, being. Since childhood, Psalms have been my favourite. In grade school we were each given a small Bible from the Gideon’s. It was through reading this small book, my most precious gift, as a child…that I gave my heart and soul to our Lord.
    Psalms 139 is my favorite. I write poetry and I have been told that I right similar to Psalms…poetry for and of the common man and the struggles physical and emotion and spiritual. Thank you again, I enjoyed your devotional very much.

    You’ve done it again, Diane. The Psalms are so beautiful, and I love the latest interpretation “my whole being longs for you.” How true that is when we have given our best to live close to the Lord. So, thank you so much for giving another blessing to my day.
    Blessings on you.

    Hi Diane,
    Thank you for the devotional on the Psalms. Recently I led a discussion at the local Nursing Home on the Psalms, a fair number of them. I really enjoyed doing them and the residents did too. We found that some of them were songs, others were prayers, some were written under normal circumstances and others were from in caves when David especially feared for his life.
    I agree with you they are wonderful to read and study.

    Thank you for your praise of the Psalms. You have put it so beautifully and clearly … Exactly how I feel whenever I read the Psalms.

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