The Satisfaction of Knowing God
O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water. Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise You. So I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.
As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God?
These passages express the goal, the culmination, of the knowledge of God and our theology. Only the Spirit of God can impact us with the greatness and possibility of these themes. We who are bombarded internally by the flesh and externally by trials have no strength to claim satisfaction in God. Yet David was in the wilderness when he wrote this psalm, and so there must be a secret here for us who desire a grasp of the Almighty yet feel intimidated by the loftiness of the call. Dear believer, rest assured that psalms like this are for you, whatever your life circumstance.
David begins with an identity claim: “O God, You are my God.” He set his heart to know God early on, and he found a permanent relationship of grace where God would be his own. When David would pursue the sanctuary of God, he did not have to gain this grace again and again. He went into the sanctuary because God was his God. This is objective. This is unchanging. The spiritual man grounds his pursuit of God on realities greater than himself so that his wilderness experience need not discourage him from approaching God. He welcomes us constantly because He has become our God. He is our God, is He not? Then let us approach Him.
What then, after we are established on this foundation, is the first step to satisfaction in God? It is thirst, something we are all capable of. God blesses the pursuing spirit, not the one who claims to have “arrived.” Satisfaction does not start with a list of spiritual accomplishments. Satisfaction begins when there is no greater object of our hearts than God Himself.
But this is a great challenge, for we cannot experience the joy of God if we have not seen the bitterness of the world. David had to discard any thought of satisfaction with his barren surroundings. He was thirsty but there was no water. He was weary but there was no rest. Thus, God alone could satisfy him. If we do not see the world as barren, we cannot find satisfaction in God. The world, though it has many attractions, gives nothing of impact except to turn man’s heart from God and make his soul bitter. We cannot love the world and love God simultaneously. We cannot.
Yet as David reflects on his past experiences in God’s presence, he is drawn again to return. “Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory.” He marveled at God’s works and God’s Being. He longed to consider what God does and Who God is. The soul satisfied in the knowledge of God must be carried away by lofty thoughts of Him. Perhaps to this you say, “But I have forgotten how to enjoy Him. The bitterness of life has overtaken me.” There is a solution.
The first is to remember and reflect. Remember the heights to which you once soared in God’s presence. Reflect on what you have seen already. If you once reached those heights, why can you not reach them again? Was it not the same God then as now Who attracts you? Oh, that we might return to a thirst for seeing God! Let us reflect and return, for true satisfaction awaits.
The second key is given in verse 3: “My lips will praise You.” David would not allow himself to be overwhelmed by barrenness; no, he had a song. We find a much different scene in Psalm 137, where the poor captives of Babylon hung their harps and could not sing. They could only weep. Let us never forget the importance of singing. It releases us physically and mentally. Get alone with your Bible and a good hymn book, and read and sing them out loud. This is a very practical step to a restored pursuit of satisfaction in God.
But satisfaction only awaits those who would give their lives for this purpose, not in death, but in life. David says so confidently, “Your lovingkindness is better than life.” This leads him to say, “I will bless You as long as I live.” To him, this life was not a worthy pursuit in itself; he lived for something greater. His life was rather a channel to give God His due and find rest in His presence. The unbeliever will see such commitment as a risk, but we have tasted of His love and find all security in abandoning vain pursuits. Better than life itself is His love. This is profound. Truly this, if grasped, will change the life.
What is the result? “My soul is satisfied.” This culminates our knowledge of God. Dear believer, are you satisfied in God? Meditate on this psalm and see if you cannot be restored to a full enjoyment of His presence.
Each moment calls from earth away
My heart which lowly waits Thy call;
Speak to my inmost soul and say,
“I am thy Life, thy God, thy All!”
To know Thy power, to hear Thy voice,
To feel Thy love, be all my choice.
 Psalm 63:1-5
 Psalm 42:1-2