Here we have a remarkably strong statement by the Psalmist. Can we call this hyperbole, an exaggeration for emphasis? Jesus said to people that if their hand causes them to sin cut it off (Matthew 5:30). Did He pass around a sword to help them obey Him? Hardly, what He meant was go to extremes to keep from offending.
Now with the Psalmist can we understand that he is saying that he desires God’s presence so much that any others he loves are very far down the list by comparison? I think so. God desires first place in your life and mine or else He will have no place.
Elsewhere the Psalmist says (Psalm 42:2),
“My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”
Do we have the same experience? Do we even wish the same experience of God? Or are we of a mind set that says we want God in small doses until life gets to be too much and then He can move in significantly?
God has no interest in living at the edge of our existence only to be called in when the going gets tough. Jesus said (Matthew 10:37),
“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me;
anyone who loves his son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.”
This is a very radical commitment on our part to love Jesus that much. Is He really that worthy of our commitment that He can legitimately call for such allegiance? Who is He anyway to make such a radical claim upon our lives?
Jesus’ call for our commitment requires us to look long and hard at His life and what His character demonstrated when He walked among us. Well, for one thing, it says that “the common people heard Him gladly.” (Mark 12:37). Jesus had great appeal to ordinary people. The well educated in many instances despised Him even though they could not fault His logic or learning.
Then we hear Jesus calling on those who are weary in life to come to Him and find the rest they need. He tells them He is gentle and humble in heart (Matthew 11:28-29).
He also notices the people we might think of as on the edge of society like the poor, widows, little children, immoral people, and so on. The Gospel of Luke especially tells of many such being attended to by Jesus. So, if you feel like a minor player in the game of life, Jesus notices you in particular.
Then He claims to be able to forgive sins, and when people wondered who could forgive sins but God only He proved His point by healing the lame man whose sins He had just forgiven (Luke 5:20-25). Their doctors could not heal the man but Jesus’ power was equal to the task. So He made a claim to be God and do what God only can do.
Then we read of Jesus weeping at the death scene of a man called Lazarus (John 11:35-36). The people recognized that Jesus loved people so much that He wept at such times. Many today believe because Jesus is the same that He still weeps with those who weep.
In John 10:11 we read Jesus’ words where He says that His death was for His sheep. Later in the passage He tells the people He voluntarily dies and rises again on behalf of His people. There is no greater love than to die for someone.
There is so much more that we could say about this remarkable Person. These things are said in order to show you that Jesus deserves our utmost loyalty and love for what He does for us.
Are you one of His people? Have you sought Him for yourself? Do you believe that He can save you from your sins and give you eternal life? If you have already come to Him and accepted His offer of life, then take the time to see how glorious and magnificent He truly is. Then you can sing the words of Anne Cousins:
Oh I am my Beloved’s, and my Beloved is mine,
He brings a poor vile sinner Into His "House of wine."
I stand upon His merit, I know no other stand,
Not e'en where glory dwelleth In Immanuel's land.