David claims to have seen God in the Sanctuary... BUT… for all that, David hasn’t been in the sanctuary.
David was a King not a Priest. And only Priests could enter. His descendent King Uzziah would try to do both and be struck down. David was thrilled to watch from a distance.
He was thrilled to read the Scriptures - as a king he wrote out his own copy.
He was thrilled to have the Teaching Priests preach the gospel to him – telling of the meaning of the blood, of the God who is with his people. Holding up the God of love before his eyes. Publicly portraying the cross of Christ for his heart to feed up.
He saw the tent from a distance. He saw the priests go in.
And, perhaps, even like Isaiah in the year King Uzziah died, he saw a vision of Jesus at the heart of the sanctuary?
What does David conclude? v3:
“because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you”.
The parched and suffering king has heard the gospel, the love of God has won his heart, and he knows that this is better than life itself. In fact Jesus said that this was the definition of eternal life is to know Jesus and his Father. To be drawn into the love of God. David knew this life.
Summarise the gospel? The love of God, the God of love.
At the cross God’s LOVE sings loudest, of the ardently cherished promise that men should eventually be delivered by an Incarnate God crushing the head of the evil serpent. Of our hero’s victory! David lifts his hands! Praise overflows from his heart. And he grasps for language to express himself. Having spoken of a parched throat, he turns to the music of love – to food.
V5: “fat and rich food”. Food speaks of gospel reality like almost nothing else. The tangible satisfaction of eating food captures what it means to know the LORD. I remember visiting Cadbury’s world in Birmingham – tasting chocolate that had been freshly made. It didn’t matter what else I ate, or how many times I brushed my teeth – for several days the taste was still in my mouth. David chews over his day, v6, meditating in the night, this David has the taste of the love of God on his tongue, salivating and savouring…
The Beloved King finds life, v7, in “the shadow of your wings” – like Ruth finding a home among God’s people under the shadow of Boaz’ wings, the wilderness wanderer knows that the Sanctuary isn’t just shelter from the midday sun, it’s where you find shelter in the ‘better-than-life’ love of God, in the God of love. The love of God is so wonderful you’d think everyone would stand with King David. But, the God of love has enemies.
Enemies of God's love?
V9, there are those who will “go down to the depths of the earth” and be v10, “given over to the sword” and v11 “the mouths of liars will be stopped”. Today they rejoice but their heads will be crushed. David, the man after God’s heart, rejoiced and danced undignified before God. Saul’s daughter watched him and hated him in her heart. She stood against the One God loved. Would you watch people rejoice in God and murmur in your heart? Surely not.
Instead aren’t you drawn into the story of This David – can you imagine what it would be like to share his relationship with the God of love? What if you could see like he sees? What if you could taste what he tastes?
Now, I wonder if you’ve ever thought about the success of Harry Potter. How has Exeter graduate J.K. Rowling attained a fortune of 1 Billion dollars by writing books? Seems to me that people love Harry Potter because Rowling has told a fairy tale. Her stories have captured the imagination. In her stories Harry spends his summers in the smallness of the Dursley’s house waiting for the next story to begin… And so it is for us – we often live small lives but we long for more. With Marcus Brigstocke and Nina Sayers and Harry Potter we long for more. The beauty of fairy tales is not that they’re escapist fantasies – it’s that they draw us out of ourselves, out of self-love, out of cynicism, out of despair and into the hero’s story. Psalm 63 is telling “The Story of The Beloved in the Wilderness”. A fairy tale that came true. A story that invites us not to settle for less but to hunger for God, for the triumph of God, to see the God of love.