Psalm 61

May 04, 2021

To the chief Musician upon Neginah, A Psalm of David.

1 Hear my cry, O God: attend unto my prayer.

2 From the end of the earth will I cry unto Thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

3 For Thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.

4 I will abide in Thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of Thy wings. Selah.

5 For Thou, O God, hast heard my vows: Thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear Thy name.

6 Thou wilt prolong the king’s life: and his years as many generations.

7 He shall abide before God for ever: O prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him.

8 So will I sing praise unto Thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows.

The Point:

We are confident in God’s salvation and we know that one day we will spend eternity with Him.

How do we feel in the recitation of this psalm?

We feel as secure as a baby in his mother’s arms or a chick under its mother’s wings, even when we are surrounded by enemies. This psalm describes a relationship with God that is based upon total confidence and trust in Him. Isn’t it natural for our children to trust their parents to feed them and defend them from evil men that might try to break into our home? In a similar way we may trust that our heavenly Father will take care of us.

What does this psalm say?

Verses 1–4. This beautiful psalm is a prayer but it is also a confession of faith. Occasionally, we stand up before God or before others and we testify to our faith in God. When we confess our faith in public, we find that such confessions actually serve to increase our faith.

David says that he calls to God from the end of the earth. Even when he feels as though he is as far from God as he can possibly be, he will still call out to God with a confidence that He will hear and respond. Sometimes our trials come upon us like a tsunami wave and our hearts are overwhelmed. We are absolutely convinced that these trials are too big for us, and there must be somebody bigger than us to get us over these gigantic trials. At times like this we cry out to God, “Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Whereas the Old Testament saints did not see the Savior in the person of Jesus Christ, they definitely saw their Savior as God. They spoke of God as a Rock, a Shelter, and a Strong Tower. In the old days, cities and nations would use castles and towers to defend themselves from marauding enemies. When the enemy would attack, the people from the surrounding countryside would crowd into the castles equipped with high walls that protected the people from the cruel reprisals of the enemy. That is the picture David uses here for God’s protection from our enemies.

Verse 5. How does David know that he is one of God’s chicks and that he is welcome under the shelter of His wings? There are two reasons why he is confident in this relationship. First, he has made vows or solemn promises before God that he would walk with Him—vows he takes seriously. In our churches we make public confessions of faith, sometimes called “covenant vows.” We confess faith in Jesus Christ and solemnly vow to submit to his Lordship and walk in His ways according to His Word, by the grace of God. We also commit to submit ourselves as accountable to the pastors or elders in the church. As long as we stand by these vows and live by them, we have assurance that we are under God’s wings. Of course, we must believe and obey our confession of faith if we are truly God’s children.

Now the second assurance that upholds David is found in his participation in an earthly covenant. He is part of a body of believers that fears God’s name. He receives this heritage by virtue of his membership in a godly family and by virtue of his membership in the church, with a long history of faith found in men like Gideon, Joshua, Moses, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. A child takes confidence in his father’s care because he is part of his father’s family. Being part of the covenant family gives us confidence that we have the privileges and benefits of that family.

Verses 6–8. This psalm of faith continues with the confession of David’s firm conviction that he will live forever. By the time of the New Testament, we find a Jewish sect called “the Sadducees” that denied the possibility of any resurrection after death. Although this does show the faithlessness of 1st century Judaism, such beliefs were not reflected in the confessions of the Old Testament saints. Truly, David believed that he would live to praise God’s holy name before Him forever.

How do we apply this psalm?

1. We ought to perform our vows. If we stood up before God and His people in the church and said, “We believe in God the Son as our Savior, and we will walk with Him,” then we had better keep that vow. Walking with God does not imply that we will be perfect and never sin, but it does mean that we will humbly confess our sin and repent of it on an ongoing basis. Let us daily perform those vows that we made when we stood up in public and committed ourselves to a lifetime of walking with God.

2. One mark of a faithless and rebellious people is that they have no intention of keeping any commitment or vow that they make. That is why so many people leave the church upon the slightest irritation, and it is also why there are so many divorces in our time. People who break commitments are not faithful people. Conversely, the strongest Christians about us are always those that keep their vows. Therefore, it is incumbent on those who have been less than faithful to the commitments they have made that they repent before God and begin today to keep the vows. As a family, let us commit to be a promise-keeping and covenant-keeping people.

How does this psalm teach us to worship God?

1. Worship must first be based in faith. Obviously, those who do not believe in God and those who do not believe that He has saved them cannot worship Him. Therefore, the man of faith worships God using strong statements of faith such as those found in this psalm: “God, You are my strong tower. Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.”

2. Although this may sound strange to some ears today, our worship services should include the making of vows, the keeping of vows, and ongoing verbal commitments to these vows. This establishes integrity in our worship.

Questions:

1. What sort of things does David say in this psalm that illustrates his faith in God?

2. What is a strong tower?

3. Give several examples of Faith psalms.

4. What is a vow and what sort of vows do we make?

5. How do we know that David believes in the resurrection?

Family Discussion Questions:

1. Are we the kind of people that keep our promises and vows? Are we faithful people that work through conflicts, or do we leave a church at the slightest irritation?

2. Do we trust that God will take care of us just as our children trust that we will provide them their next meal? Who is more trustworthy?