The other night, I was laying in bed thinking about how good God has been to me over the years. I praised him for his mercy, grace, longsuffering, and forgiveness and couldn’t help but thank him for all the blessings he had given me in spite of myself. Then this verse came to my mind, which I meditated on for awhile:
Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Psalm 63:3
For a couple of days, the verse was stuck in my head, so I had to investigate all the aspects of God’s lovingkindness and how it could be better than life itself. Psalm 63 was written at a challenging time in David’s life when he was fleeing the revolt of his son Absalom. In the midst of the despair he must have experienced, David still had the presence of mind and of the Spirit to lift up praises to God. The Psalm was his personal declaration of confidence that God, who had delivered him countless times in the past, would deliver him yet again.
So what is lovingkindness? It is a mixture of God’s mercy, love, favor (grace), and special blessings all wrapped up together for the sake of those who trust in him. Look up all the appearances of this word in the Bible and you will find that it is never given to unbelievers. God only extended it to people that he knew would accept it with humility. It was so important that Jeremiah said, “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee,” Jeremiah 31:3.
How and why is lovingkindness better than life? Since it is God’s gift to us as the result of our everlasting covenant with God through the Lord Jesus, it is better than life because it extends past our temporary life on this Earth into eternity. It is better than life in that it is the impetus for why, at times, “When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell,” at the Lord’s rebuke.
It is the reason why the Lord allows us to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. Lovingkindness is why Jesus went to prepare a place for us, that where he is, we may be also. In short, his lovingkindness is the motive for everything the Lord has done from creation to giving us his word so we could find out how to be with him to the reason why he will return for us soon. Lovingkindness transcends this world and is more powerful than this world and everything in it. That’s why it’s better than life.
Since lovingkindness is better than this life, one of our goals should be to consider it as more important than our temporary worldly goods, more important than our being accepted by our peers, more important than the threats of our enemies, and ultimately more important than our very lives. That being the case, isn’t it better to fear our Lord who possesses this lovingkindness than it is to fear men, who can kill the body but are powerless to kill the soul that receives the Lord’s lovingkindness?
–Harry A. Gaylord–