Series 41


by Francis Dixon
Key-verses: “My soul followeth hard after thee.” (Psalm 63:8, KJV)
“Never be lacking in zeal.” (Romans 12:11)

The 63rd Psalm has been called ‘The Morning Hymn’. According to the early fathers it was the custom for Christians to sing this psalm publicly every day, and on the Lord’s Day it was the first song they sang. It is a psalm of David and the key is in verse 8, where we have the idea of eagerness and zeal for the Lord. It is possible to be one of His followers, but not to be zealous. We should therefore ask the question: How earnest and zealous are we in our Christian living and in our service for Him? Let us look at the picture we have in this psalm of the zealous soul, and notice the marks, the characteristics, of the Christian who is following hard after the Lord.


1. The zealous Christian acknowledges a personal relationship with the Lord

Notice the words in verse 1: “O God, you are my God…” David did not speak of God as “a God”, though that was true; he did not speak of Him as “the God”, though that was true; but he used the personal pronoun “my”, followed by the Hebrew word for God, which is Elohim, a plural word which expresses the mystery and wonder of the Trinity. Like Thomas of old, therefore, David was able to say from his heart, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). Do you know God the Father as your heavenly Father, God the Son as your personal Saviour and God the Holy Spirit as your indwelling Comforter?


2. The zealous Christian confesses a deep longing for fellowship with the Lord

We get this in verses 1-2. David said, “earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land, where there is no water.” Look up and compare Psalm 42:1-2; Psalm 84:2; Psalm 143:6; John 7:37; John 12:21. Do you long for the Lord and for deeper fellowship with Him? – look up Philippians 3:10. What a glorious thing it is to be possessed by a burning zeal for the Lord Himself!


3. The zealous Christian is filled with praise and prayer to the Lord

We get this in verses 3, 4 and 5, and we should compare Philippians 4:6! Lifting up the hands denotes petition, supplication. Speaking generally, we are not nearly thankful enough; we do not praise the Lord enough – look up and see the challenging word in 1 Thessalonians 5:18. The zealous Christian will be filled with praise and thanksgiving – look up Acts 2:46-47, and notice that in our psalm David vowed that he would praise the Lord and bless His holy name – see Psalm 63:3-5 again.


4. The zealous Christian finds full satisfaction in the Lord Himself

In verse 5 we find David saying, “My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods.” What was it that satisfied this man? Was it possessions, pleasures, earthly joys? No, basically he was satisfied with the Lord Himself. He could have said with Wesley, ‘Thou, O Christ, art all I want; more than all in thee I find.’ Go through this 63rd psalm and underline the pronouns which refer to the Lord. The more zeal we have for the Lord Himself, the more we shall be weaned away from earthly things to find complete satisfaction in the Lord Jesus. His blessings will fill us with joy; but unless we know the Giver we shall be unsatisfied – look up Colossians 3:1-4.


5. The zealous Christian has developed the holy art of meditation

Here we turn to verse 6. Today there is rush and restlessness on every hand. How often do you sit down and meditate? How often do you really sit quietly with the Word of God and with the prayer that He will open your eyes to see Him in His Word? David was not referring to any so-called transcendental meditation here! He was referring to that meditation in God’s Word where the Spirit of God, who is the author of the book, shines light on the Word; and he was referring to meditation on the Person of Christ, His glory and majesty and greatness, and the love, mercy and grace of Christ. Do you know anything about meditation like that? – look up and compare Psalm 104:34 and Psalm 119:97.


6. The zealous Christian is confident and joyful about the future

Verse 7 is a great word of confidence. Spurgeon says in reference to it, “Past deliverances minister to present trust and assure us of future joy.” When we are rejoicing and hiding under the shadow of God’s “wings” (Psalm 17:8), we have no fears about the future. David is not saying here that he will have no troubles or trials, but he is saying that in and through them all the Lord will make him victorious. Please notice verse 11, and underline the word “but” – and then compare Psalm 91:1-7. There is much in our world to make us fearful, but we can hide in the Lord Himself as our refuge – look up Nahum 1:7.


7. The zealous Christian proves the present strength of God upholding him

No-one can follow the Lord in his own strength or energy. None of us can follow hard after Him unless we “cling” to Him, as our key verse suggests. Think of being upheld all day, every day, and moment by moment, by the mighty hand of God!

Perhaps we have been following at a distance – look up Luke 22:54. Pray for grace and make a vow to the Lord that with His help we will follow hard after Him and be His zealous followers.