Dependence in the Wilderness
Living out of Psalm 63
All of God’s dear children experience suffering,
whether ordinary difficulties or extreme hardship.
And when suffering comes, our hearts long for our
final destination: the presence of God. If only we
could skip the journey and arrive instantly at that
glorious destination. Psalm 63 invites us to recognize the value of the journey along with the greatness of the destination.
Several summers ago my family took an extended vacation—an opportunity to get away and truly disengage. Sherry
and I quietly planned a two-week trip packed with family, fun,
and learning. Eventually we let our children, then ages 11 and
9, in on the surprise. As the children’s celebrating died down,
reality began to take hold. All of our destinations looked great,
but to reach them we would be in the car for a very long time.
Both children wanted the fun of the trip without the effort of
the journey. In truth, I understood and agreed with them.
I see a connection between the desires of my children and
our desires as Christians traveling on the path to Glory. We
often dislike the road that leads us to God’s glorious presence.
Sometimes the road into the wilderness seems mildly bearable;
at other times it becomes increasingly arid, bitter, and even
In Psalm 63 we find David fleeing from his son Absalom
into the wilderness of Judah. David’s dependency on God in
the wilderness provides us with a model to follow. He committed himself to three essential pursuits. You and I can commit ourselves to these same pursuits.
David’s thirst for God
David said, “O God, You are my God; early will I seek You;
my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You.” David expressed
his dependence on God in the midst of the wilderness by hunting for God. Just as an animal forages for food in the wilderness,
David searched diligently for God. He longed for God in the
same way that a man dying of dehydration and starvation aches
to have his thirst quenched and appetite satisfied. He bound
himself to God in a wilderness where he was tempted to despair.
Christ’s dependence on the Father
In this psalm we see the most bitter wilderness journey
of all foreshadowed: Christ said to His disciples, “My soul
is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death” (Matthew 26: 38).
The Lord Jesus Christ, our High Priest, traveled through the
dark wilderness while demonstrating complete dependence
on His Father in Heaven. Such faith is not easy, tranquil, or
happy. Luke 22: 44 says, “And being in agony, He prayed more
earnestly.” In His grief, Christ’s weight of sorrow drove Him
to seek His Father in prayer. As His disciples drifted off to
sleep, Christ bound himself to His Father in Heaven, and with
singleness of heart He clung to the Father in prayer.
Your trust in God
What do you seek after, thirst for, and yearn for in the
wilderness of life? To what do you bind yourself? Two questions can help you consider your desires during the tough
times. First, are the objects of your desires sinful? Pornography
and illicit sex? One more stiff drink? The next high? Another
by JEFF NEWMAN