Dabbling In God

Dabble, dab·ble verb \ˈda-bəl\, “to take part in an activity in a way that is not serious”

Ours is a nation of pedestrian pursuits. Xbox enables this. Today I can slip behind the wheel and race a McLaren P1 super car, a Ferrari F12berlinetta, or a Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4. When I tire of matching wits with speed freaks, I can suit up for a game of Fútbol and play to the roar of thousands . . . or step back in time to do battle for Rome . . . or rocket into the future for an assault on a heavily armored metallic Titan.

This is great! I don't have to devote time to a driving class or get in shape. It doesn't matter if I'm too limp-wristed to brandish a sword or that I couldn't tell the difference between R2D2 and Lassie. Serious engagement is not critical to my success. I can race, play, fight or fly; I can do all this while comfortably sitting on the couch.

It's not just nimble-fingered millennial gamers who dabble. We all probably dip our toes in something: antiques, photography, painting, writing, computers, stocks, decorating . . . .

At times I wonder if we dabble in God.

Not David! In Psalm 63 we find David in an all-out pursuit of the Holy. This song is his declaration of desire, a passion that is both worked up in words and worked out in devotion. This psalm is all the more critical because David, like many of us, was in a very tough spot in life.

1 O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. 2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. 3 Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. 4 So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.

5 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, 6 when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; 7 for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. 8 My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.

Psalm 63

David's soul is parched. He is a desert nomad whose only oasis is God. He can't survive without Jehovah. His cry is no Sunday morning lip service. It is a Monday through Saturday ache for the Almighty:

  • "Earnestly I seek you."
  • "My soul thirsts for you."
  • "My flesh faints for you."

These are not the words of a dabbler. Dabbler's are curious, not passionate. They dip their toes in the water, but don't ask them to take the plunge.

What makes David different? 

I think verse eight gets to the heart of the matter: "my soul clings to you." The Gesenius' Hebrew Lexicon to the Old Testament uses the words "to be glued" as a synonym for the word, "clings." 

Dabblers don't cling. They prefer Velcro to glue. They don't want to be attached to anything for too long: not the church, not the Bible, not God's people, and not God. To dabblers, there are too many adventures in life to experience to get "tied down." But David knew differently. He knew that he needed God at every juncture in life. David knew that any journey without God -- where he lived, worked, or played -- was a trip through a dry and weary land where there is no water.  

So he was clinging to God. He was sticking to God like glue.

When I read Psalm 63, it is as if God is saying to me, "How about you, Tommy? Are you going to 'dabble' today, or are you going to stick to me like glue?"

I know the right answer, but how do I stick to God throughout the day? Going back to Psalm 63, I see seven things that David did that I can do:

  1. Acknowledge my need for God: "O God . . . my flesh faints for you"
  2. Dwell on the power of God at every juncture of my day: "beholding your power and glory"
  3. Compare the surpassing love of God to everything I hold dear: "your steadfast love is better than life"
  4. Verbally give praise to God: "my lips will praise you"
  5. Go to bed thinking about God and return to those thoughts when I can't sleep: "I remember you on my bed and meditate on you in the watches of the night"
  6. Acknowledge the specific help of God: "for you have been my help"
  7. Rest in God: "your right hand upholds me"

David wrote Psalm 63 in the wilderness. That's critically important. When I am going through tough times and God seems far away, I may be tempted to "dabble in God" and sample something else to "satisfy my thirst." David reminds that "roaming in the wilderness" is the time to run to God not from Him. Only God can fill that hole in my soul.