“...Your lovingkindness is better than life...” Psalms 63:3 NASB
This verse that has been a real challenge to me recently. It's easy enough to believe intellectually that this statement is true, and to agree that it is a theologically correct assessment of an objective reality. But what challenges me is that this was not David's theology; it was his testimony. The honest expression of his experience was that the lovingkindness of God was better than anything else in his life. And it's a great challenge to me to see that this old covenant saint -- with no knowledge of Jesus Christ's life, death, resurrection, or ascension, without the indwelling Holy Spirit, without a New Testament -- could make this claim.
And it has stirred a conviction in my heart that it's not enough for me to KNOW that His lovingkindness is better than life theoretically; I want to know it practically. I want to be able to say, in truth, that "God's love is better than everything else in my life, today."
It is tempting to think of God's love as merely a foundational truth, and in so doing, to treat it (even unconsciously) as one of the "elementary truths" that that we are to leave behind as we press on to perfection (Hebrews 6:1). It's possible to hear a message about God's love, and inwardly think how it's only "milk" that we are receiving, and not "solid food" (Hebrews 5:12-14). But I have come to see that that's just what the devil wants, so that we settle for discontented, insecure lives, burdened by our work for the Lord, rather than for the joy, peace, and restful labor that comes with a regular, fresh assurance of God's love.
David goes on in the same Psalm to say,
"My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness...” Psalms 63:5 NASB
David wrote this Psalm while he was fleeing from Saul in the wilderness of Judah. He was likely remembering his time at King Saul’s table when he wrote this expression. On the run for his life, just like in the pastures with his sheep, he must have eaten sparingly, as he did when he was a shepherd; but when he was at Saul's court playing the harp, he probably got stuffed with the vast assortment of meats and delicacies available at the King's table in the palace. And that's what he compares the feeling in his soul to when he considers the Lord and is assured of His love: "it reminds me of those days I ate like a king!" What David is saying here is that God's love isn't just milk for newborn Christians; it's also meat for the mature. What a challenge! It puts me to shame to see how much more he enjoyed God's love than I do.
The thing about eating a good meal is that, no matter how full we get, our bodies get hungry again. And I find it's the same with God's love: no matter how wonderful an assurance we have of His love, we have to keep seeking for a fresh assurance and experience of His love every single day. And just like it'd be crazy to turn down a meal because "I ate like a king a couple of weeks ago," so also should it be unacceptable to go for extended stretches without a fresh experience and assurance of the love of God. David's testimony has encouraged me to seek to be "satisfied with (the) marrow and fatness" of God's great love every single day, to make that my testimony as well.
The Ephesian church was one of the best churches that the Apostle Paul planted. It is the only letter he wrote to a church that didn't contain any correction. In this letter, the Apostle tells the Ephesians that he prays regularly for them. Imagine what he must have prayed for these mature believers, in whom he saw such cause for confidence, what heights of revelation he felt they must be worthy to receive. In Ephesians 3:18, Paul reveals what his great prayer on the behalf of the mature believers in Ephesus was: that God would grant them the ability "to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge."
I have become convinced that seeking for greater and greater revelations of God's love for me, far from being the indulgence of a mere spiritual "infant," is one of the most profitable pursuits a growing Christian can engage. No matter what our spiritual maturity level, God's love must be the source of all of our rejoicing (Luke 10:20), all of our peace (Matthew 6:25-34, Proverbs 27:7), and the spring from which all of our Christian work flows (Matthew 11:29-30, Genesis 29:20).
And I have seen a special promise for those who long to know His love more:
“Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope (or, "wait") for His lovingkindness,
To deliver their soul from death
And to keep them alive in famine.”
Psalms 33:18-19 NASB
As I look to Him to receive the satisfaction of a fresh immersion in His love, I can trust that He is also looking to me to keep me in fellowship with Him (deliver my soul from death), and to keep me spiritually well-fed in these days of spiritual famine (Amos 8:11).