Welcome to the beautiful Judean Wilderness! It stretches for many miles out from the Dead Sea. There is little to no vegetation – a few small plants are all you see in this picture. And this desert is not covered in sand – it’s covered in rocks. Not boulders, but not exactly pebbles. The ground is littered with rocks about the size of a loaf of bread. Just big enough to twist your ankle if you are not careful.
This desolate wasteland is where David fled on multiple occasions. On one such getaway, David and his army are on the run from David’s own son, Absalom, whose name ironically means “Father of Peace.” Absalom had politicked his way to the top, going behind his father’s back to gain a following in Israel. After four years, Absalom amassed an army, marched into Jerusalem, and usurped his father’s throne. David and his armies escaped just in time, and fled to the Judean wilderness, along the Jordan River just north of the Dead Sea.
And it’s here in this wasteland, on the run, in hiding from his own son, fearing for his life, and suffering from dehydration, he pens the words of Psalm 63:
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.
and beheld your power and your glory.
3 Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
But here’s David – in the middle of nowhere, on the run for his life, betrayed by his own son and most of his country – professing his love for God. In the desert, far from any water source, his soul thirsted for God. David is seeking shelter not in fortresses or even caves, but in God. In fact, David pours his heart out with the words, “Your love is better than life.” In other words David would rather be dead than to be separated from God’s love. Without God’s love life would not be worth living. Moreover, it’s only God’s love that is keeping David going at this point.
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
God, the Almighty Creator of the galaxies and your respiratory system, is crazy about you! His love for you is stronger than even the bonds of death. Life would not be worth living without His love, but we have the assurance that even when life itself fails us, we still have that love.
Think about it.