Grace better than life

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. (Psalms 63:1-4, NASB)

When a person has an encounter with GOD he or she finds that a thirst sets in.  Things previously unnoticed come to light.   This psalm has a number of these – pleasant – surprises. The inscription of this song says that David was in the wilderness and he experienced some kind of deliverance from his enemies.  But then he talks about the holy – place – and one thinks that this the sanctuary.  However there is no sanctuary in the wilderness of Judah. 

David is obviously excited about divine holiness, gracious holiness.   The tent was not particularly comforting or satisfying, since it was a place where God makes clear that people are guilty and that only blood will satisfy his demand. The repeated sacrifices every year shows that holiness was never accomplished.  Israel never became clean or free of guilt. To this day they still speak about rebuilding the Temple so they can offer a blood sacrifices. How much of the psalmist’s satisfaction can we say people occupied with the tabernacle had?

The exceedingly wonderful grace of Zion’s king

Pity the person who is still stuck on the golden rule as God’s standard, even after hearing “no greater love…lay down his life” and “not even for a righteous or good man will a person dare to stand in”. Loving oneself does not amount to much. Does not love of self facilitate ignoring others who are in distress, and what might godliness be if it is not caring for others? Grace, as given to us, and dispersed to others is better than life.

What dare I call life that is not rooted in the Beloved?

As far as the believer is concerned the price tag of life begins with his helplessness. “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” (Romans 5:6, NASB). It is not pegged at waking up this morning but glued to rising from the dead with Christ when we first believed. There is no particular assent to a kingdom teaching or demonstration of consistent discipleship necessary. The gift of life is that extreme in value: better than life.