“Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.”
Running across this verse in my Psalm 63, I had to pause for a moment. Better than life. What an interesting phrase. How can something be better than life?
It’s easy to say that something is better than life, but none of us have actually experienced not having life, so how would we really know? Perhaps then, this means simply that the object that is “better than life” is good enough to die for. That you would rather have it than life. Again, it doesn’t make to much sense in a literal way because if you’re dead, what good could it be to you?
That’s why the object is so important: God’s steadfast love. It is better than life – okay, what does that mean? We don’t have to die to experience it – it isn’t an either or. As if we have to choose. But I think the psalmist, David, is putting it into those terms to try to prove a point. He would be willing to die to gain God’s steadfast love. It is that valuable to him.
And I also think it can mean something else, that he is willing to experience death – in any way, not just physical – and still praise God, because (here’s the main point) he trusts in His steadfast love.
I can’t know for sure what David meant, but I landed on the latter idea as my best guess. No matter what he might be going through, it doesn’t alter his joy. He has the Lord’s steadfast love, and that is better than health, possessions, relationships – even life itself.
Sounds praise-worthy to me!