Wilderness Then and Now

By: Alan Harvey

Posted: November 21, 2014

Category: Daily Devotional

“O God, Thou art my God; I shall seek Thee earnestly; My soul thirsts for Thee, my flesh yearns for Thee, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” Psalm 63:1 (NASV)

For my daily devotions I most often use a New American Standard Bible that was given to me by Miss Christine, whom I mentioned in a previous devotion, more than thirty years ago. This particular psalm has two captions and they are: The Thirsting Soul Satisfied in God and A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah. As you and I read that description, I believe that we can easily visualize the wilderness that David encountered.

The landscape most likely was sandy in many places and the soil clay-like where pools of water might have been before the sun evaporated them. It may also have been rocky with minimal vegetation of a scrub-like quality and only a few palm trees. Water would have been a precious commodity and no doubt was in very short supply, and in this instance, far from where David found himself. We can imagine his great thirst.

Such wilderness areas still exist in our world. They are not as prevalent in this country as they are in the Holy Land and certainly in that region long ago. When our ancestors came to this land, they no doubt discovered many wilderness areas, not so much barren, but forested and wild. They too may have searched for clean fresh water to quench their thirst.

Just because natural wilderness areas are not as common as they once were in this country, it does not mean that they do not exist. In today’s world instead of being barren, the wilderness areas may be cluttered and crowded. We may be led to believe that other things will satisfy the deep longings within us. We may be convinced that we can become what we desire to be through any number of self-help courses. These may be the wilderness areas we encounter and so we find ourselves very much like David long ago … with our souls thirsting for God and our flesh yearning for God. And just as there is nothing like water to slake our physical thirst, so only God can quench our thirst and satisfy our yearning!


O God, the wilderness areas that David knew and that we experience may appear to be very different. What we have in common is the thirst and yearning he and we experience. Grant that we may realize that You alone can slake our thirst and satisfy our yearnings. With that realization, fill our lips with praise and thanksgiving now and evermore. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.