Bible Study: Wide Open

Depending on God brings the fulfillment we long for.

Have you ever seen a nest of baby birds crying to be fed? The helpless offspring of the Northern Cardinal squeak insistently and stretch their beaks as far as possible to be filled with whatever their parents have for them. Just imagine, this is what God expects us to do with Him. The mighty King David recognized his complete dependence on the Lord—and the amazing bounty he received when he did the same thing.

Read

Psalm 63:1-11

 

Background

David deeply loved God but was beset with trials throughout his life. He probably wrote this psalm on the run from his son, who was trying to kill him and seize the throne.

 

REFLECT

Only that which is empty can be filled. 

  • Psalm 63 describes intense longing. In verse Psalm 63:1, David says his soul “thirsts” and his flesh “yearns.” Strong’s Concordance says the Hebrew word used here means “to faint,” suggesting David is so empty he is near to collapse—not for physical sustenance, but spiritual. It might surprise us that God let David become so empty. Why might this be? Has it ever happened to you?

  • David says the land is “dry and weary” and there’s no water (v. 1). Everyone experiences longing, but many don’t realize when it’s for God. They try to fill the emptiness with other things or people. Yet part of being filled by God is recognizing nothing will satisfy our hunger the way He can. Have you ever tried to get sustenance from a “dry and weary land”? What was the result?

  • David is described as the apple of God’s eye and a man after His own heart (Psalm 17:8; 1 Samuel 13:14). Much of the book of Psalms records his close relationship with the Lord. Does this suggest to you a connection between nearness to God and hunger for Him? Does that seem contradictory, or do other “hungers” operate the same way?

 

CONTINUING THE STORY

Our Father fills the hungry with good things.

  • Psalm 63:1-4 suggests that to be filled, David had to recognize his emptiness, turn away from anything his surroundings could offer, cry out to God, remember His glory and love, and praise Him with uplifted arms. In Psalm 63:5, what does David say the result was?

  • Part of being filled by God is recognizing nothing will satisfy our hunger the way He can.

  • “Marrow” (v. 5) refers to the fat used in sacrifice and indicates “the best part of something.” For David to use this phrase suggests he felt he was receiving back the very best he’d already given God—and more (“fatness”). We at times resist giving something to the Lord for fear we’ll be in need, but He assures us He is a God of plenty. Think of a time you sacrificed something for God and received back more from Him in return. How does this affect your feelings about giving—whether money, time, love, or anything else? Is there something He’s asking you to give—or give up—for Him today?

  • In Luke 1:53, Mary says of God, “He has filled the empty with good things, and sent away the rich empty-handed.” Psalm 63 suggests David received not just one thing, but many because he reached out to God, crying to be fed. Thinking of both practical and emotional needs, what can you find in verses Psalm 63:3-11 that God gave the king?

 

REFLECT

God is willing to fulfill our every need, even our need to hunger for Him.

  • Psalm 63:3-5 seem to indicate that one way David quenched his thirst for God was through song. What would quenching look like in your life? If you’re unsure, ask for God’s leading. And if you honestly don’t feel very hungry for the Lord, He’ll provide for that as well. Ask Him to give you a desire like David’s.

 

GOING FURTHER

Consider how this study applies to your life.

This psalm of David is a passionate description of a man whose emptiness (pain, longing, lack, fear, helplessness, frustration) was filled by the Lord (with joy, comfort, love, protection, strength, and vindication). But as wonderful as that is, it’s only the beginning. This filling by God does not just satisfy our hunger; it also provides the fuel that makes us capable of great works for Him.

Under the New Covenant, our Father has provided amply for this, beginning at Pentecost, when the disciples first experienced His great plenitude. Read Acts 2:1-40, noticing that as Jesus’ followers were filled with the Holy Spirit, they were overcome with the power and ability to move mountains in His name.

  • After receiving God’s Spirit on the day of Pentecost, Peter addressed the crowds and gave a rousing sermon—he explained what was occurring, quoted prophecy, and clarified all that had happened to Jesus. Acts 2:40 says, “With many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them” to be saved through belief in Christ. All God’s gifts are ultimately given to glorify Him and point to Jesus. Think about what God has given you recently. How are you using it to praise His name?

  • Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Staying close to Jesus increases both our longing for Him and its fulfillment—as well as our impact in the world.

 

Illustration by Adam Cruft

Related Topics:  Reading Bible

Related Stories

What happens to my notes

1 O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water.

2 Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory.

3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise You.

4 So I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.

5 My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.

6 When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches,

7 For You have been my help, And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.

8 My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.

9 But those who seek my life to destroy it, Will go into the depths of the earth.

10 They will be delivered over to the power of the sword; They will be a prey for foxes.

11 But the king will rejoice in God; Everyone who swears by Him will glory, For the mouths of those who speak lies will be stopped.

8 Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of Your wings

14 But now your kingdom shall not endure. The LORD has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you."

1 O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water.

2 Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory.

3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise You.

4 So I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.

5 My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.

53 HE HAS FILLED THE HUNGRY WITH GOOD THINGS; And sent away the rich empty-handed.

3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise You.

4 So I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.

5 My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.

6 When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches,

7 For You have been my help, And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.

8 My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.

9 But those who seek my life to destroy it, Will go into the depths of the earth.

10 They will be delivered over to the power of the sword; They will be a prey for foxes.

11 But the king will rejoice in God; Everyone who swears by Him will glory, For the mouths of those who speak lies will be stopped.

3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise You.

4 So I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.

5 My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.

1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.

2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.

4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

5 Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven.

6 And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language.

7 They were amazed and astonished, saying, Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans?

8 And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born?

9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,

10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,

11 Cretans and Arabs--we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God."

12 And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, What does this mean?"

13 But others were mocking and saying, They are full of sweet wine."

14 But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words.

15 For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day;

16 but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:

17 AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,' God says, `THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS;

18 EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT And they shall prophesy.

19 AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW, BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE.

20 THE SUN WILL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD, BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME.

21 AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.'

22 Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know--

23 this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.

24 But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.

25 For David says of Him, `I SAW THE LORD ALWAYS IN MY PRESENCE; FOR HE IS AT MY RIGHT HAND, SO THAT I WILL NOT BE SHAKEN.

26 THEREFORE MY HEART WAS GLAD AND MY TONGUE EXULTED; MOREOVER MY FLESH ALSO WILL LIVE IN HOPE;

27 BECAUSE YOU WILL NOT ABANDON MY SOUL TO HADES, NOR ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY.

28 YOU HAVE MADE KNOWN TO ME THE WAYS OF LIFE; YOU WILL MAKE ME FULL OF GLADNESS WITH YOUR PRESENCE.'

29 Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.

30 And so, because he was a prophet and knew that GOD HAD SWORN TO HIM WITH AN OATH TO SEAT one OF HIS DESCENDANTS ON HIS THRONE,

31 he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that HE WAS NEITHER ABANDONED TO HADES, NOR DID His flesh SUFFER DECAY.

32 This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.

33 Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.

34 For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: `THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND,

35 UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET."'

36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ--this Jesus whom you crucified."

37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do?"

38 Peter said to them, Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

39 For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself."

40 And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, Be saved from this perverse generation!"

40 And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, Be saved from this perverse generation!"

5 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

Background Color:
Light
Aa
Dark
Aa
Font size:
A
A
A