Saturday 29 July, 2017

Psalm 61

For the director of music. A psalm of David to be played on stringed instruments. 1 God, hear my cry for help. Listen to my prayer. 2 From a place far away I call out to you. I call out as my heart gets weaker. Lead me to the safety of a rock that is high above me. 3 You have always kept me safe from my enemies. You are like a strong tower to me. 4 I long to live in your holy tent forever. There I find safety in the shadow of your wings. 5 God, you have heard my promises. You have given me what belongs to those who worship you. 6 Add many days to the king’s life. Let him live on and on for many years. 7 May he always enjoy your blessing as he rules. Let your love and truth keep him safe. 8 Then I will always sing praise to you. I will keep my promises day after day.

The first part of this psalm is a cry for rescue from that point of despair where his “heart is overwhelmed” (v2 NLT). I love the imagery he uses:

  • “A rock that is higher than me” that he needs right now (v2). It’s a place of safety high out of reach of his enemies. But it’s not a “safe cave”. It’s a place where he can rest in safety in plain sight of his enemies.
  • The “strong tower” (v3) that he has always known God to be. David’s faith is based on repeated experience of God’s deliverance.
  • Living in his “holy tent forever” that he looks to with faith. This is the place where God himself lives: a place not only of safety but of intimate relationship as a member of God’s family.
  • With that beautiful image of taking “refuge in the shelter of your wings” (v4 NIV). Like a chick running back to the protection and comfort of its mother.

In the second part he asks for the blessing of long life and safety for the king.

I don’t know, but I suspect David wrote this psalm when he was being pursued by Saul. This would mean the king he asks blessing for is the same Saul from whom he needs rescuing. And if the king who pursues David is kept safe and lives a long life, David will sing God’s praises for it.

Some lessons for me: Expecting God to intervene decisively in my life now and into the future to eternity; And not just praying blessings on those who cause me trouble, but looking to see that blessing materialise and praising God when it does.

Oh Father, give me David’s heart towards you and towards those who wish me harm.

Written by David Cornell

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