David in the Wilderness: Psalm 63 (part 4)

“For your covenant faithfulness is better than life;

my lips will sing praises to you.”

(Psalm 63:4 {Psalm 63:3 in English Bibles})

 

Those of you who know me well know that I sound a bit like a broken record when I get to verses like this, but I would hold that these things are essential for the Christian to understand.  The Hebrew word that is found in the first part of this verse is the word ds,x, (chesed).  This word is translated in a number of ways in our English Bibles, sometimes we see it as “mercy” or “loving-kindness” and sometimes we see it as “grace” or “faithfulness.”  It is a word that carries with it many ideas, but essentially reflects God’s covenant faithfulness in the midst of his people’s covenant unfaithfulness.  And, oh, through history, how God demonstrates his ds,x, (chesed) to his people. 

And indeed, David speaks some very important words here—he says that the ds,x, (chesed) of God is better than life.  Were it not for God’s covenant faithfulness, life would not be worth living, David communicates.  Were it not for the covenant faithfulness of God this world would have been swept away in his wrath over sin.  Were it not for the covenant faithfulness of God, you and I would be condemned to the darkness of eternal judgment.  Were it not for God’s covenant faithfulness, he would have never sent his Son to redeem a people for himself—to redeem you and me.  Friends, do you see just how important this word is to us—this characteristic of God?  Do you see how we could not live without it?  Oh, how often we take God’s covenant faithfulness for granted; let us be reminded by these words of David that it is better than life itself—it is what makes life worth living!

And as a result of God’s covenant faithfulness in your life and in the lives of believers everywhere, it ought to cause your voice to sing praises to God!  The verb that David uses in the second clause is the word xb;v’ (shavach), which means to sing loud praises—to laud another.  Beloved, when you look back at your own life and you see the hand of God at work, does it not make you want to sing!  When you look back through history and you see God’s hand at work in the lives of his people, does it not make you want to praise!  Oh, how often we take the work of God for granted in our lives—oh how often we take the covenant faithfulness of God for granted—as if it were something that was our due pay for services rendered!  Beloved, our infinite praise is God’s due pay for his covenant faithfulness!  So, let us get to work—it is a precious labor to praise our God.  No, we will never repay what we owe, but though we cannot repay, shall we not try?  Shall we not praise him for who he is and for what he has done?  It is a pleasant duty and a delightful task that has been set before us, indeed.

All glory, laud, and honor to thee, Redeemer, King,

To whom the lips of children made sweet hosannas ring!

Thou art the King of Israel, thou David’s royal Son,

Who in the Lord’s name comest, the King and blessed One!

-Theodulph of Orleans

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