Boletim dos Obreiros

Developing intimacy with God

Psalm 63

Intimacy is an essential attitude to the success of any collective undertaking. Lack of intimacy will result in failure to achieve common targets. Intimacy coordinates and fuses the ideas and leads to harmonized and positive results. In the context of the family it is also essential to the proper exercise of intimacy between those who compose it so that it meets its sublime role stipulated by God. In the context of the church the practice of intimacy with God and each other by the members that compose it, as a member of the body of Christ, effects its prime ecclesiastical purpose.

In the beautiful Psalm 63, David gives us a precious lesson on how we may develop intimacy with God. He experienced a phase of his life of great solitude and anguish, in the wilderness of Judah, fleeing from his fierce enemies. It is remarkable to see that it is exactly in such unfavourable and oppressive circumstances that he gives us, with the worthy example of his attitude, the lesson of how to develop intimacy with God.

He places two fundamental assumptions for intimacy with God right at the beginning of the Psalm. He says at the beginning of v. 1, "O God, You are my Almighty". The first assumption is evidenced by the manifest conviction that he belonged to God. We are the exclusive property of God, as His children (1 Peter 2:9), purchased by the precious blood of Christ shed on Calvary (1 Peter 1:18). The second assumption is his active faith, clearly revealed by this conviction expressly announced. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).

A. THE PROCESS OF INTIMACY WITH GOD

1. To seek God - David says: "Early will I seek You". There begins the process of intimacy with God. It is not a sudden attitude but it is of a permanent character. He confesses to his tremendous lack of intimacy with God by saying that his soul thirsted, standing in a dry and thirsty land. How many times we feel like that, as in a desert. The Christian cannot maintain himself like that, deprived and thirsty. The solution to this desperate state of the soul is to seek the Lord. There are many biblical passages that lead us to this essential attitude to live in intimacy with God, so necessary to the success of our spiritual life (Jeremiah 29: 13). As stated by David this ongoing search should be intense (anxiously).

2. To contemplate God - David says in vs. 2 and 3 ... "So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory. Because Your loving-kindness is better than life; my lips shall praise You”.  What a beautiful text! There is no correct intimacy with the Lord without the constant exercise of His contemplation! It has nothing to do with our use of images, representations or figurations. The "contemplation" must be personal and direct. David turned the desert into a sanctuary! In the desert where many times we find ourselves, let us turn the dispiriting picture of spiritual thirst into the blessed privilege of intimacy with God and an encouraging fellowship. There are four experiences of unspeakable spiritual pleasure in this contemplation: a) the experience of the power of God ("to see Your power"); b) the experience of the refulgent glory of God ("and Your glory”), see 2 Corinthians 3:18; c) the experience of the wonderful grace of God ("because Your loving-kindness is better than life"); d) the experience of genuine praise to God ("my lips shall praise You").

3. To meditate on God – David continues in v. 6 ... "When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches". To "remember" God is fundamental to the pursuit of intimacy with Him. It is interesting to note in the text, that when David declares his attitude of meditating on God, he relates it with the attitude of "remembrance". A valid meditation implies our involvement with the deeds, works and the Word of God. To meditate is to present, for deep reflection, the person of God, the word of God and the deeds of God. This exercise encourages us, stimulates us, strengthens us and blesses us, because it makes us aware that we have a real God, always present to reiterate the many blessings already conferred on our experience of life.

B. THE RESULTS OF INTIMACY WITH GOD

1. The Lord’s supply - -in v. 5 David makes a statement that highlights an excellent result of the intimacy with God: "my soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness". The expression "be satisfied" means full satisfaction. The terms "marrow" and "fatness" speak of food that fully satisfies. In Christ we have full satisfaction in all areas of our life, especially in spiritual life. He is the bread of life, the living water, the good Shepherd, in Him we have abundant life and know that without Him we can do nothing (John 15:5). Paul makes a remarkable statement in that regard in Philippians 4:13 ... "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". The Lord Jesus gave ample teaching about the sufficiency of His "supply", when we seek to live in intimacy with Him: "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." (Matthew 6:33). David himself teaches in Psalm 16:11 “At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

2. The aid of the LORD - in v. 7 David declares: "Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice”. David sings in his lovely hymn stating the certainty of broad "aid" or help of the Lord in any circumstance of his life. The reference to "the shadow of the wings" takes us to the beautiful song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32:11-13, illustrating the ever present help of the Lord with the singular figure of the eagle protecting its young. In v. 8 David emphasizes this positive result of intimacy with God, saying: "your right hand upholds me".

3. The victory of the LORD – vs. 9 and 10 provide a description of the assurance of "victory" had by he that keeps intimacy with the Lord. As I said, David was a constant fugitive from numerous enemies that he met. But here's what he says: "Those who seek my life, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth. They shall fall by the sword; they shall be a portion for jackals.” The enemy of our souls does not give a truce. He walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5: 8). But we can have the security of full victory, with the spiritual weapons that the Lord grants us (Ephesians 6:10 -18). This remarkable victory will be ours in the exercise of intimacy with God. Paul states: "In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us" (Romans 8:37).

4. The joy of the Lord - the striking note of this beautiful hymn of David is the mention made of the experience of real "joy" that he has as a result of intimacy with God, despite such adverse conditions. He proclaims: "the King, however, rejoices in God". In Psalm 16:11 stated: "In your presence there is fullness of joy". This joy, fruit of the spirit, is only experienced by those who are filled with the spirit. The Lord Jesus said that will convert our sadness into joy, this joy, no one will, no matter the circumstances that occur, and to be of joy (John 16:20, 22 and 24).

Conclusion:

The expression "my soul," mentioned three times in David`s anthem, makes us realize the expressive mode of the process of intimacy with God:

1. "My soul thirsts" (v. 1) - talks of the "lack" of intimacy with God;

2. "My soul shall be satisfied" (v. 5) - speaks of the "result" of intimacy with God;

3. "My soul follows close behind you" (v. 8) - talks of the "fullness" of intimacy with God.