Until we started keeping chickens I assumed that all eggs were fairly similar to each other. Yes, I knew you could have white ones and brown ones, and I knew they could be speckled, and you found them graded in different sizes. But at the end of the day an egg was an egg was an egg.
My view changed when we actually started keeping chickens. Because very soon I realised that almost every egg was different in shape or size or texture or colour. Indeed it is often possible to identify the chicken that laid the particular egg in front of you:
What’s this got to do with Psalm 63, the subject of our Lent meditations? Well, it seems to me that people who have no real knowledge of God have only a limited experience of who God is. They fail to understand the richness and the depth of God’s character, and cannot work out why anyone would want to spend so much time studying God or spending time in prayer.
But when you get to know God, you find that your understanding of who God is begins to grow and develop. Indeed you start to grasp just a little of the vastness and the wonder and the majesty of your Maker and Redeemer.
So it is not surprising that as David turns to the Lord in praise and prayer, he uses such rich and powerful imagery to describe his encounter with God. Remember, he is at this time out in the desert. A desert is a place of hunger, and of thirst, and yet he can see a greater spiritual reality:
My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. (Psalm 63:5)
His experience of God’s covenant mercy leads him to break the silence of the desert. Even at night when everything is deadly quiet, and when David might feel most daunted and afraid, he knows that the Lord is a great source of peace and reassurance:
On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. (Psalm 63:6)
And by day where he is exposed to the heat and the searing wind, he can still trust in God as a refuge. Not a distant, abstract entity but almost as a mother bird caring for her young:Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. (Psalm 63:7)
It’s worth spending some time just reflecting on and responding to these images that are so pregnant with meaning.Of course David is still in the desert, and there is still the question of his enemies, and to this we will return. In the meanwhile here are a couple of questions for you to ponder:How rich is your experience of God? David says in verse 8: My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. How have you seen the Lord uphold you recently, or could it be that you are no longer clinging to Him?