The Abandoned Place (Psalm 63:1-8)
Reflections on Psalm 63:1-8
The Abandoned Place
In this life, we will feel broken, empty, and abandoned. These can be the consequences of our own mistakes or consequences unjustly imposed on us by the mistakes of others. Whether we are the perpetrator or the victim, these painful spaces spirit away the life from our lungs. These are the deserts of life, or as the original Latin word for desert meant “the abandoned place.” In that arid area, we feel utterly alone.
A Holy Sanctuary
King David, reckoned as Israel’s greatest king and the archetype for the Messiah, languished in Judah’s desert for many years. During his sojourn in the abandoned place, he penned Psalm 63. With these words he opened his poem, in defiance of the desert’s soul scorching heat:
“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” (Psalm 63:1).
Though the future monarch was a fugitive fleeing for his life, he clinged to God as his only hope. For him, the desolate space became a holy sanctuary because it drew his attention to his thirst for the Lord.
The desert makes us aware of our thirst for the Father as well. It catalyzes our need for living water; apart from God, we find no sustenance in the abandoned place. “I cling to you,” David declares, “your right hand upholds me” (Psalm 63:8). Though we walk in emptiness, the Lord will fill us if we turn our thirst to him. In those moments, we can boldly sing:
“Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you” (Psalm 63:3-5).
Footsteps—putting feet on our faith
1. What does the desert of life look like for you?
2. Why is it so difficult?
3. How has it pushed you closer to God?
Dear God, I’ve been wandering through the abandoned place. My soul feels weary, empty, and broken. I thirst for living water only you can provide. Let me drink deep of your love and presence today. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.