A Morning Song

Psalm 63

An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 63

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Gordon Churchyard

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Words marked with a *star are described in the word list at the end.

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Jesus said, "Good things will happen to people that are hungry and *thirsty for *righteousness. They will have the *kingdom of *heaven". (Matthew 5:10) (The "*kingdom of heaven" is where God is king. "Righteousness" is when everybody does what is right. Only God is really *righteous, and "righteousness" here may mean "God".)

Psalm 63

  (This is) a psalm of David, when he was in the wild country of Judah.

v1   God, you are my God. I will look for you early (in the morning).
  My *soul is *thirsty for you. All of me wants you.
  (It is *like living in) a dry and *thirsty land where there is no water.

v2   I want to see you in your house,
  I want to see your power and your *glory.

v3   Your kind love is better than life,
  so my mouth will sing your *praises.

v4   Also I will say how good you are all my life.
  I will lift up my hands in your name.

v5   My *soul is full, as if I had eaten a lot at a party.
  My mouth is full of happy *praises to you.

v6   I remember you when I am in bed
  and I think of you through the night.

v7   Because you have given me help
  and I will *praise you in the shadow of your *wings.

v8   My *soul stays very near to you
  and your right hand keeps me safe.

v9   I ask that (someone) will destroy the people that want to kill me.
  Then they will go down deep into the earth.

v10   The *sword will kill them
  and wild animals will eat their dead bodies.

v11   The king will sing psalms (of *praises) to God.
  Everybody that promises to serve God will be very happy.
  (This is) because the mouths of people who tell *lies will be shut.

 The Story of Psalm 63

The Church has used this as a morning song for hundreds of years. This is because verse 1 says, "I will look for you early". The Hebrew word "early" can also mean "in a special way".

Maybe David wrote this psalm when he wrote Psalm 3. Psalm 3 is another morning song. David wrote it when his son Absalom tried to kill him. David ran away to Edom. Edom is east of Jerusalem where David lived. To get to Edom David went through a *wilderness, or a wild place. There was not much water and it was very dry. It made David think that he was very dry. This was not because he was *thirsty for water but *thirsty for God! He could not go to the *Temple in Jerusalem and speak to God. David prays that God will send somebody to kill his enemies. Then he can go back to the *Temple, or the house of God, in Jerusalem.

What Psalm 63 means

Verse 1: As our bodies need food and drink, so our *souls need something. That something is God! Read Matthew 5:10 at the top of this psalm. In it, Jesus promised this. Those who want (or are hungry and *thirsty) to see God do what is right will live in Godís *kingdom.

Verse 2: David wanted to see Godís power and *glory in the *Temple in Jerusalem. David calls the *Temple "your house". You can read about the *Temple after Psalm 4. And you can read about *righteousness after Psalm 5. The *glory of God is something that shines more than the sun!

Verse 4: When we lift our hands up to God, it means that we give the whole of ourselves to God. It shows people what we feel *like inside.

Verse 5: When the Jews burnt animals to make God happy, they sometimes ate part of the meat. That is the sort of party it means here. A feast is a better word for it, when people eat and drink a lot. David is saying that God has fed his *soul as a feast would feed his body. That is why he will *praise God and tell him that he is a great God!

Verse 6: They used to make the night into separate "watches". These were times of 3 hours for the Jews, 4 hours for the Romans. This verse in Hebrew is 'think of you through the night watches'. This is the best thing to do when we cannot sleep.

Verse 7: The Old Testament gives us a picture of God as a bird! We can then hide under his *wings when we are in danger. Other psalms have this picture of God as a bird. They are Psalms 17:8, 36:7 and 57:1.

Verses 9 Ė 10: This is what Christians call "A *Prayer of *Imprecation". Read about it in our notes about Psalm 58. "Imprecation" means "praying for bad things to happen to people". We find these *prayers hard to agree with today. This is because Jesus told us to love our enemies and to pray for them (Matthew 5:44). "Deep into the earth" means "into *Sheol". That is where the Jews thought that peopleís *souls went when their bodies died. It was a dark place under the ground. These bodies remained on the ground, and wild animals *like jackals came and ate them. They were the bodies of Davidís enemies.

Verse 11: The king is David himself. He will *praise God because his enemies are dead. They will not tell *lies again because their mouths are shut.

Something to do

1.  When you cannot sleep at night, think of God. It helps to repeat some parts of the Bible. Learn some verses so that you can do this. Verses 3 and 8 in this psalm are good verses to learn.

2.  Study again "*righteousness" and "*prayers of *imprecation". You will find the psalms that they are in in our notes about verses 2 and 9 above.

3.  *Pray for your enemies. Do not pray that they will die, but that they will believe in God! God will decide when they will die, not you.

Word list

glory ~ (of men) what makes somebody important (of God) a very bright light that shines from inside him.

heaven ~ the home of God.

imprecation ~ a *prayer for something bad to happen to an enemy.

kingdom ~ a country that has a king.

lies ~ words that are not true.

like ~ another word for "as".

praise ~ (noun, or being something) words that say that someone or something is very good.

praise ~ (verb, or doing something) say that someone or something is very good.

praise God ~ say how great that God is.

praises ~ saying good things about someone, and how great they are.

prayer ~ words that you say when you pray.

righteous ~ very very good; only God is very righteous (or has righteousness); doing what is right.

righteousness ~ being very good.

Sheol ~ where the Jews thought that dead people went.

soul/spirit ~ the part of us that lives on after our bodies die.

sword ~ a long sharp knife that soldiers used.

temple ~ a special building where people *worship God.

thirsty ~ wanting a drink (thirsty land is dry land).

wilderness ~ a wild place with not many farms.

wings ~ what a bird uses to fly with.

worship ~ say that someone is very wonderful.

 

© 2000-2001, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words)

July 2001

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