Psa. 63:8 – KJV- My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.
Psa. 63:8 – ESV- My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.
David refused to live his life without God’s presence. He knew one thing, God’s presence with him made all the difference. I love the shades of meaning of the Hebrew word dabaq that this verse brings out. In the KJV we see the word translated ‘follows’. David lived his life in the pursuit of God. He knew that his life was defined by God’s presence. David’s singing, warfare, and ability to rule his nation came from God. Without God’s help David would be helpless. The ESV Bible translates this word ‘clings to’. This is the description of the intimate relationship found in marriage, man shall ‘cleave’ to his wife. Adam Clarke describes the importance of cleaving to God in his comments on this verse.
“My soul cleaves (or) is glued after thee.” This phrase not only shows the diligence of the pursuit, and the nearness of the attainment, but also the fast hold he had got of the mercy of his God.”
Matthew Henry focuses on the KJV emphasis of following hard after the Lord. He says that communion is vital and we must follow hard after Him to maintain it.
“My soul follows hard after thee, which speaks a very earnest desire and a serious vigorous endeavour to keep up communion with God; if we cannot always have God in our embraces, yet we must always have him in our eye, reaching forth towards him as our prize. To press hard after God is to follow him closely, as those that are afraid of losing the sight of him, and to follow him swiftly, as those that long to be with him. This David did, and he owns, to the glory of God, Thy right hand upholds me. God upheld him under his afflictions, that he might not sink under them. Underneath are the everlasting arms. In his devotions. God upheld him in his holy desires and pursuits, that he might not grow weary in well-doing. Those that follow hard after God would soon fail and faint if God’s right hand did not uphold them. It is he that strengthens us in the pursuit of him, quickens our good affections, and comforts us while we have not yet attained what we are in the pursuit of. It is by the power of God (that is his right hand) that we are kept from falling.”
Even when we think that we are chasing God, at the end of the day even the pursuit comes from Him. He attracts us and upholds us in our pursuit. As Solomon learned from his father, ‘Draw me and I will run after You’.