Psalm 63:1

We may imagine the psalmist in the wilderness. It is night. He stands at his tent door. The light of moon and stars falls on a sandy waste stretching into dimness and mystery. He is lonely and sad. The emptiness of all around and the memory of better times breed a great longing in his soul. It is not as if it were something new and strange, rather it is the revival of the deepest and strongest cravings of his heart, that as he muses gather force and intensity, and must express themselves in song. The key verses seem to be vers. 1, 5, 8.

I. THE SOUL'S LONGING. (Vers. 1-4.) When we "thirst for God," we naturally look back and recall the times when we had the truest and fullest enjoyment of his presence. We think of "the sanctuary." It was not the outward glory; it was not the splendid ritual; it was not the excitement of the great congregation; but it was the vision of God that then brought peace and joy to the soul. And that is what is craved again - more life and fuller: "To see thy power and thy glory." There are often circumstances which intensify and strengthen our longings. When we come to know God, not only as God, but as our God and our Redeemer, we feel that it is a very necessity of our being, that it is our life, to see him and to serve him, to love him, to worship him, to rejoice in him as all our Salvation and all our Desire.

II. THE SOUL'S SATISFACTION. (Vers. 5-7.) What alone can satisfy the soul is the vision of God; not God afar off, but nigh; not God in nature, or in the Law, or in the imagination of our hearts, but God in Christ. Here is true and abiding satisfaction, infinite truth for the mind, eternal righteousness for the conscience, perfect love for the heart. Philip said, "Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us;" and the answer of our Lord was, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." The more we meditate on this possession, the more we rejoice and give thanks. We cannot but praise. "As the spirit of the whole Book of Psalms is contracted into this psalm, so is the spirit and soul of the whole psalm contracted into this verse" (Donne). "Because thou hast been my Help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice" (ver. 7).

III. THE SOUL'S RESOLUTION. (Vers. 8-11.) There is mutual action. The soul cleaves to God, and God cleaves to the soul. There is a double embrace - we both hold and are upheld. The result is invigoration - the quickening glow of life through all our being, the free and joyous resolve to cleave to God, and to follow him in love and devotion all our days. Our needs are constant, and God's love never fails. When we are weak, his strength makes us strong; when we are weary, his comforts sustain our fainting souls; when we are ready to sink in the waters, his voice gives us courage, and his strong arm brings us salvation. God ever comes to those who want him. Desire on our part is met by satisfaction on his part. More and more as we love and serve we enter into the joy of our Lord. Our heart is prophet to our heart, and tells of vanquishment of the enemy, of the coming glory and the pleasures which are at God's right hand forevermore. - W.F.

Trust in Him at all times.
Sketches of Four Hundred Sermons.
I. AS INTERESTING FACT ASSERTED. "God is a refuge for us." This is a fact in which all mankind are deeply interested. If God be not our refuge, we are undone, and must finally perish in our sins. But, thank the Lord, He has not left us without help. He "hath remembered us in our low estate, for His mercy endureth for ever."

II. AN IMPORTANT DUTY ENJOINED. "Trust in Him at all times." This is both the imperious duty, and the highest interest of every human being. There is no season in the whole compass of human existence when it is not needful to trust in the Lord.

III. AN ENCOURAGING DIRECTION URGED. "Ye people, pour out your hearts before Him." "Thou, God,.seest me," is a sentiment that should deeply impress our minds at all times; but especially in our addresses to the throne of grace.

(Sketches of Four Hundred Sermons.)

I. THE OBJECT OF OUR CONFIDENCE — GOD. Trust in Him: in His perfections and prerogatives — His power, wisdom, goodness, love. Trust in Him at all times: prosperity, sorrow, etc. Trust in Him at all times. May I? You must. Is it not presumption? Nay; the presumption would be the other way. When your child trusts in your affection, and walks in obedience to your will, regarding your promise as truth, that child is not presumptuous. It is presumptuous when he disputes your authority or truthfulness, and is refractory. Filial affiance, humble love, lowly but perfect confidence, are not presumption, but obedience.

II. This is our privilege, that WE MAY POUR OUT OUR HEARTS BEFORE GOD. Pour out your heart in personal prayer and supplication. God sees the heart; yet open it yourself to Him. Spread your case before Him. It will be your comfort and relief, your solace and your satisfaction.


(J. Stratten.)

I. TRUSTING IN GOD IS A BELIEVER'S DUTY (Psalm 65:5; Proverbs 3:5; Isaiah 51:5; Psalm 52:8; Psalm 78:22).


1. Generally. To trust in God, is to cast our burden on the Lord, when it is too heavy for our own shoulder (Psalm 55:22); to dwell "in the secret place of the Most High;" when we know not where to lay our heads on earth (Psalm 91:1); to "look to our Maker," and to "have respect to the Holy One of Israel" (Isaiah 17:7); to stay ourselves, when sinking, on the Lord our God (Isaiah 26:8); in a word, trust in God is that high act or exercise of faith, whereby the soul, looking upon God, and casting of itself on His goodness, power, promises, faithfulness and providence, is lifted up above carnal fears and discouragements, above perplexing doubts and disquietments, either for the obtaining and continuance of that which is good, or for the preventing or removing of that which is evil.

2. More particularly.(1) The ingredients of trust in God are — A clear knowledge or right apprehension of God, as revealed in His Word and works (Psalm 9:10; Psalm 91:14). A full assent of the understanding, and consent of the will, to those Divine revelations, as true and good, wherein the Lord proposeth Himself as an adequate object for our trust. A firm and fixed reliance of the whole soul on God.(2) Its concomitants — An holy quietness, security and peaceableness of spirit, springing from a full persuasion of our safety. A steadfast, well-grounded hope, which includes —

(i.)A holy and confident expectation and looking out after God's gracious presence;

(ii.)An humble and constant waiting on God's leisure. An humble, holy and undaunted confidence.(3) Its effects. Fervent, effectual, constant prayer. Sincere, universal, spiritual, cheerful, constant obedience. Soul-ravishing, heart-enlivening joy (Psalm 13:5; Isaiah 12:2; 1 Peter 1:8).

III. WHAT IS, OR OUGHT TO BE, THE GRAND AND SOLE OBJECT OF A BELIEVER'S TRUST. The Lord Jehovah is, or at least should be —

1. The grand object of a believer's trust. "Put your trust in the Lord" (Psalm 4:5). In whom should a dying creature trust, but in a "living God"? (1 Timothy 4:10). In stormy and tempestuous times, though we may not run to the bramble, yet we must to this Rock, for refuge (Isaiah 26:4). When the sun burns hot, and scorches, a Jonah's gourd will prove insignificant: no shadow like that of a God's wings (Psalm 36:7).

2. The sole object of a believer's trust. — Holy trust is an act of worship proper and peculiar to a holy God. No creature must share in it: whatever we trust in, unless it be in subordination unto God, we make it our God, or at least our idol. True trust in God takes us off the hinges of all other confidences: as we cannot serve, so we cannot trust, God and Mammon. There must be but one string to the bow of our trust; and that is the Lord.


1. God's almighty arm and power. The Lord hath an arm, an outstretched arm (1 Kings 8:42); a hand, an omnipotent hand; a hand that spans the heavens (Isaiah 40:12), that strecheth them out as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in. On this Almighty arm may believers trust (Isaiah 51:5).

2. God's infinite and free goodness, mercy and bounty. His bowels are as tender as His arm is strong.

3. God's many, choice, exceeding great and precious promises. — These are the flagons that faith keeps by her, the apples [which] she hath hoarded up in store, to revive and quicken in a day of swooning. Who will not trust the word, the promise, the protest of the King of kings? (Hebrews 13:5; Isaiah 43:2; Isaiah 4:5, 61).

4. God's inviolable, steadfast, never-failing faithfulness (1 Corinthians 10:13). God's goodness inclines Him to make good promises, and His faithfulness engages Him to make those promises good.

5. God's most holy, wise, powerful, gracious providence (Acts 17:25, 28; Proverbs 15:3). Faith reflects on former experiences, its own and others; and by the holy skill it hath in the physiognomy of providence, clearly reads and collects what God will do, in what God hath done. It casts its eye on —(1) The experiences of others. — And judges herself to have an interest in those very providences of grace which they enjoyed.(2) Its own experiences (1 Samuel 17:37; 2 Corinthians 1:10).

6. Those dear relations in which the Lord is pleased to stand and own towards His people cry aloud for their trust in Him. Hath He built the house, and will He not keep it up? He that made us will assuredly take care of us. We may safely give up ourselves, our trust our all, to Him, who hath given us ourselves and our all. This relation the apostle makes the ground of trust (1 Peter 4:19).

V. WHAT ARE THOSE SPECIAL AND SIGNAL SEASONS WHICH CALL ALOUD FOR THE EXERTING OF THIS DIVINE TRUST? The wise man tells us there is an appointed time for every purpose under heaven: a time to kill and to heal, to plant and to pluck up, to weep and to laugh, to get and to lose, to be born and to die (Ecclesiastes 3:1, etc.). In all these, trust in God is not, like snow in harvest, uncomely, but seasonable, yea, necessary.


1. In times of fulness and prosperity. When it goes well with us and ours; when the candle of the Lord shines on us and our tabernacle; whern our lines fall in pleasant places, and our God makes us to lie down in green and fat pastures: now, now is a fair opportunity for faith or trust to exert itself, yea, and to appear gloriously. And, indeed, it requires no less than the utmost of faith's skill to steer the soul handsomely in this serene and smooth-faced calm. And so —(1) Faith or trust looks upward, and there fixeth its eye on God. And so holy faith delivers herself, in such expressions as these; namely —(i.) How full soever my large cistern be, it is the Lord, and the Lord alone, that is the grand Fountain, or rather Ocean, of all my enjoyments.(ii.) Since all that I have is received of God, I may not, I must not boast, crack, glory, as if I received it not (Genesis 4:7).(iii.) Inasmuch as all that I have is from God's blessing and bounty, this whole all shall be for His praise and glory,(iv.) Because all my enjoyments proceed from God's free-gift, or rather his loan, therefore they must and shall be readily surrendered to God's call.(v.) Now I enjoy most from God, now, even now, it is necessary that I should trust mostly, yea, wholly and only, in God.(vi.) These outward enjoyments are indeed sweet; but my God, the author of them, is infinitely more sweet. On the things of God. Faith discovers a world beyond the moon, and trades thither; leaving the men of the earth to load themselves with clay and coals, faith pursues its staple commodity, and traffics for grace and glory.(2) Faith or trust looks downward, on its fullest and sweetest temporal enjoyments. — And so it accurately weighs these enjoyments in the balance of the sanctuary, and so makes a just estimate of them as to their worth and value.

2. In times of sadness, afflictions, wants, sufferings, miseries. — When the hand of the Lord is gone out against us, and He greatly multiplies our sorrows; now, now is a time for a saint's trust to bestir itself to purpose.

(T. Lyre.)

You believe in God; that is to say, He has a place in your intellectual notions; you could not on any consideration allow His name to be blotted out of your creed; you are intellectually sure that He lives. Now, be true to your own creed, and trust in Him. You believe that the river runs to the sea, and that the sea is large enough to sustain your ship, — then act upon your faith and launch the vessel. If you keep your vessel on the stocks when she is finished, then all your praises of the ocean go for nothing; better never have built the ship than leave her unlaunched — a monument of your scientific belief, but also a testimony of your practical infidelity. This figure will serve us still further. This faith in God is truly as a sea-going ship. You have this great ship; she is well built; you know her preciousness — but there you are, hesitating on the river, running down to the harbour-bar and coming back again aghast as if you had seen a ghost: have faith; pass the bar; leave the headlands behind; make the stars your counsellors, and ride upon the great sea by the guidance of the greater sun. This is faith: not a mere nodding of the assenting head, but the reverent risking of the loving, clinging heart. To have a God in your belief is to sit in a ship which is chained upon the stocks; but to have a God in the heart, ruling the understanding, the conscience, and the will, is to sail down the river, enter upon the great ocean, and pass over the infinite waters into the haven of rest. Trust in Him at all times. Religion is not to be occasional but continuous. In the daytime our faith is to shine as the sun; in the nighttime it is to fill the darkness with stars; at the wedding-feast it is to turn the water into wine; in the hour of privation it is to surround the impoverished life with angels of hope and promise; in the day of death it is to take the sword from the destroyer and to give the victory to him who is apparently worsted in the fight. In exercising this trust there are two things to be remembered. First — We get some of the highest benefits of life through our most painful discipline. The very act of trust is a continual strain upon the understanding, the affections, and the will. The trust is not an act accomplished once for all, something that was written down in a book long ago and may be made matter of reference and verification; religious trust is the daily condition of the soul, the state in which the soul lives and moves and has its being, the source, so to say, from which it draws all its inspirations, the feast at which it sustains its confidence, and the whole condition which underlies and ennobles the best life. We must remember, too, that the time of full explanation is not until by and by. It is hardly to be questioned that our disappointments may one day come to be reckoned amongst our blessings. We need thus to be taught the lesson of patience, to be chastened, mellowed, and subdued, and to be taught how good a thing it is, not only to wait upon God, but to wait for Him, to wait through long days and weary nights, to stand outside heaven's door and to abide there in the confidence that at His own time and in His own way tim King will come, and do for us exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think. The exhortation takes another turn "pour out your hearts before Him." Though He knows all, yet He must be told all. Make God your confidant. Hannah said, "I have poured out my soul before the Lord." The figure represents the act of giving up the whole of the contents of the heart to God's keeping. It is not a word now and then that has to be spoken, or a hint that has to be given, or a signal that has to be held out; the action is a complete emptying of the heart, the outpouring of every secret thought, purpose, motive, desire, and affection, that thus the man may stand in a right attitude and relation towards his God. Our communion with heaven should be unreserved. The very first condition to true, profound, and edifying worship is that we should cleanse out our hearts of every secret and pour out the whole contents of our being in penitence and thanksgiving before God: then the vision of heaven will shine upon us, then the comforting angels will be seen with gospels from the throne of grace, then new heavens shall beam above us, and a new earth shall spread out all its flowers and fruits for our delight and our sustenance. Our communion should not only be unreserved, it should be long continued: "pray without ceasing." As our breathing is continual so ought our aspiration to be unceasing. The only true analogy about the soul's life in reference to communion with God is to be found in the continual breathing of the bodily life. We breathe without knowing it. When we are in health we are not aware that we have a physical nature at all; everything works harmoniously and smoothly, and without giving any reminder to the man that he is inhabiting a decaying or uncertain dwelling-place. It is even so with the soul. This is a sense in which we may enjoy an unconscious piety that has lived itself out of the region of statute and machinery, scaffolding and external upholding, and that poises itself as on strong wings at the very gate of the morning. This is not carelessness; it may be the very last expression of long-continued spiritual culture. There should be some difference of a most obvious and practical kind between those who believe in God and those who do not. Trust in God should express itself in calmness and beneficence of life. The Christian should live to give. Christianity is expenditure. We have nothing that we have not received, and because we have all things in Christ we are to give and labour with both hands earnestly, leaving God to provide for the future as the future may reveal itself. If we may so say it, we can give God no greater pleasure than to cast all our care upon Him, to entrust to Him every concern and every detail of life with absolute fearlessness and perfect consecration. The very hairs of our head are all numbered. Our down-sitting is of consequence to God, and our uprising is matter of note in heaven; yea, our going out and our coming in would seem to touch the solicitudes of our Father. All this will be romantic to the soul who has had no spiritual experience; but we must not consult the blind upon colours, or the deaf upon harmonies, or the dead upon the duties, the enjoyments, and the sacrifices of life. "Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God." The natural man does not understand spiritual things; they can only be spiritually discerned.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

The emphasis must be put upon the continuousness of the trust. We are called upon to trust God where we cannot praise Him. It is in the Garden of Gethsemane that we can best show the reality and force of our trust in God. Even infidels may laugh at midday, and fools be glad in the time of abounding harvest; only he who lovingly trusts in God can be calm in the darkness, and sing songs of trust when the fig tree does not flourish. Trust of this kind amounts to an argument. It compels the attention of those who study the temper and action of our lives. Naturally they ask how it is that we are so sustained and comforted, and that when other men are complaining and repining we can repeat our prayer and sing the same song of trust, though sometimes, indeed, in a lower tone. We are watched when we stand by the graveside, and if there Christian faith can. overcome human sorrow a tribute of praise is due to our principles. And many men may be prepared to render that tribute, and so bring themselves nearer to the kingdom of God. A beautiful refrain is this to our life-song, "Trust in Him at all times" — in youth, in age, in sorrow, in joy, in poverty, in wealth; at all times, in good harvests and in bad harvests, in the wilderness and in the garden, on the firm earth and on the tumultuous sea; at all times, until time itself has mingled with eternity.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

God is a refuge for us
I. THE REPRESENTATION HERE GIVEN OF GOD. "God is a refuge for us."

1. A secure refuge.

2. An ever-present refuge.

3. An accessible refuge.

4. The only refuge.


1. We are to maintain a continual reliance upon God.

2. We are to make an unreserved disclosure of our wants to Him. "Pour out your hearts before Him."

(R. Davies, M. A.)

Helps for the Pulpit.

1. As it respects man as a sinner, he needs a refuge.

(1)He is guilty, having broken the righteous law of God.

(2)He is condemned, and the object of pursuit (Galatians 3:10).

(3)He is helpless. He cannot give satisfaction (Romans 3:19, 20); he is weak (Romans 5:6); he can give no atonement for the past (Micah 6:6, 7).

2. As it respects the believer,

(1)With his own heart — Satan, his mighty adversary.

(2)Tribulation. "Man is born to trouble as the sparks," etc.

(3)In a dying hour, and at the last day.

(4)The believer needs a refuge on account of his helplessness (2 Corinthians 12:10; John 15:5).


1. God is a refuge for the guilty. Even as the cities of refuge were provided for the guilty manslayer. The most guilty — the vilest of the vile — find refuge and succour (Hebrews 6:18).

2. He is a refuge for His people in conflict. Such lie was to David (2 Samuel 22:1-3; Psalm 142:4-6). He will give grace sufficient to war a good warfare.

3. God is a refuge in tribulation (Psalm 9:9; Psalm 59:16; Jeremiah 16:19).

4. He is a refuge of strength for the weak and helpless.

5. lie will be a refuge in death, and at the judgment day. Then will He be recognized as a God in covenant, and He will save His people.

(Helps for the Pulpit.)

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