BETTER THAN LIFE
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. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.
The love of God is better than life. Actually life is better translated here as lives. What could David have meant? With all the different kinds of lives available to man, how could this statement be true?
Here is what Augustine said about David’s incredible claim.
“God’s mercy is better than lives. What lives? Those which for themselves men have chosen. One hath chosen for himself a life of business, another a country life, another a life of usury, another a military life; one this, another that. Divers are the lives, but better is thy life than our lives. Better is that which thou givest to men amended, than that which perverse men choose? One life thou givest, which should be preferred to all our lives, whatsoever in the world we might have chosen.”
Augustine points out the real choice made available to us. We can have all of the various lives and identities the natural world offers or we can have His life. Augustine sees this passage as, “Your life is better than any natural life”. Why is this true? It is true because God Himself is life and when He comes to live inside of us, life really begins. Before He came, we were all wandering aimlessly throughout this world longing for direction, hungering for peace, searching for “our life”. When He came and revealed Himself to us and in us, everything changed. We understood for the first time what David meant when he sang “your love is better than life”.
Can you sing David’s song? I know you can sing the song, but do these words express the feelings of your heart? In the light of eternity it doesn’t really matter which of the “lives” you choose here. What really matters is that you choose the “steadfast love that is better than lives”.