To the child, the outside world can seem a fearful place full of dangers. In such a place the child finds comfort walking tight against their parents leg and even greater calm when their hand is tight in the parent’s hand. The presence of the parent is sufficient to provide the feeling of safety and strength as the parent and child walk through unfamiliar, and seemingly dangerous, places.
While David lived in the wilderness to escape his enemies he was separated from the comforts of Jerusalem and the tabernacle and those he loved. The comforting thought of God’s presence with him in the wilderness allowed him to endure the painful separation of worship in God’s sanctuary.
Psalm 63 describes the intense yearning David had for a relationship with His father:
He pledged his personal allegiance and relationship with God. He sought God’s companionship early when he awoke and hungered and thirsted for God as a desert traveler thirsts for water from deep within his being (v.1). He sought for God’s presence in the sanctuary so he could see God’s power and glory then praised and blessed God for His wondrous majesty (v.2-5). Just as he hungered for God’s companionship, having enjoyed it he felt as satisfied as one who has enjoyed a filling dinner (v.4). As he sought God’s companionship when he awoke, so also he went to sleep meditating on God and His goodness (v.6).
Even in the dangers of the wilderness, being hunted like a wild animal by his enemies, David could rest in comfort in the shadow of God’s wing because he, like the trusting child, followed close behind his loving Father and held tightly to His mighty hand (v.7-8). David knew that the hand that protected him would punish those who sought to kill him (v.9-10) and would protect all those who sought His divine care (v.11).
If we are feeling lost from God, we need to remember that sin will never provide comfort only alienation. When we have been distracted by sin or just the concerns of this world, we need to seek God in His word and among His people and draw close to Him in prayer. We will know safety and comfort again when we quit wandering around and hold tight to His hand and follow close behind him. We will sleep safely in the shadow of His wing, satisfied with the fullness of His presence and enjoy days that begin and end with thought and praise to Him.