Psalm 61:1-4 “Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.”
Here we find David at an extremely low point in his life, alone, banished and on the run for his life. Yet David does not run from God instead he runs to Him. Not only does he turn to God but he is honest with God, sharing the stark reality of his life. David confesses to God that he is overwhelmed, overtaken by discouragement to the point of despair. A place that we all come too in life, when it feels like the light of life has been snuffed out, and we like a candle are left to smolder in the darkness. It is in these times that we will either be overcome or be an overcomer. David teaches us by example to reach out, prayer always seeks an audience with God, even if we feel like He is a million miles away, “from the end of the earth I cry to you God”. May be today you too feel like God is far away, cry out to Christ and He will hear you. It is in these times when we feel overwhelmed that David teaches us from his own life that there are three things we need to do.
First he calls us in verse two to Recognize the truth: “lead me to the rock that is higher than I”
The great truth here is that there is more than just Me, there is something that is greater than my misery. In the pain there is a place we can go, a place that is higher than the hell we are in. There is an altitude that can overcome any attitude, for as a Christian we are called to a higher life. This does not mean that there will not be trouble, rather that in the problem there is a Higher plan. A place where we can experience peace even in the problems. Regardless of our reality there is a rock we can rest in but we need to be led to it. Notice David said lead me not direct me, you see David understood that he was a sheep and if he was going to get anywhere higher it would take the Hand of the Shepherd to take him there. David was saying, there is a higher life, higher than what I can achieve alone, please take my hand and lead me. Today I want you to know there is a higher life than this life of sin and separation, there is salvation, there is the Fathers forgiveness. We need the Lord to lead us to the Rock of supplication, a higher prayer life. We need Him to lead us to the Rock of sharing our faith, were we live to witness, the Rock of service were we desire to be all in because we realize there is no stopping place in service. As a Christian there is a higher place to live and when we are overwhelmed we need to be lead to the Rock. To get with God and get real, where we c an see that our problem is not our problem its that we try to fix it ourselves instead of seeking the Savior.
Second in verse three he calls us to, Rely of the Facts: “For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe” When we focus on the facts we will see that even when we feel alone our Shelter is greater than any storm. There is a refuge we can run to, if we choose to rest in a relationship with Jesus. Today are you running to the place of refuge or ruin? Focusing on the facts reveals a formidable fortress, a tower that is bigger than your trouble. In David’s day these strong towers were there to strengthen the city walls as well as serve as a lookout for the enemy. Today we too have the same protection and defense, a four sided fortress, providing both sight and protection from every direction.
Thirdly in verse 4 David calls us to Remember the Faithfulness of God. When we are overwhelmed its easy for us to loose perspective and forget His promises, only in the feathers of His faithfulness will we truly find safety. This is a call to closeness, to come under the protection and provision of God. This I believe is where many of us fail today, we desire a God who will change our circumstances instead of the One who desires to covering our lives. It is not a change in circumstances that we need it is the closeness of Christ. What if the cry of our hearts was not for God to change our circumstances but to come and cover us with such a closeness that only sound we would hear was His heart beat and the only thing we would feel was the soothing warmth of His love. Yet I don’t think we Christians want what we truly need, I don’t think we want the closeness of a connected relationship with Christ. I think we want the freedom to roam about, free to exercise our will and our wants. I think we are afraid that living under Christ we will become smothered instead of safe. So we choose to live outside of the feathers of the Fathers wings, faking a friendship so we can be free, only to become trapped in the prison of our own pain. Instead of being close, concealed by the Almighty we try to hid behind our own ability. How many unnecessary storms will we be exposed to because we don’t take refuge under the shelter of God’s wings. Just like the people Jesus laments over in Matthew 23:37, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” Just as a mother bird will not refuse to open her wings to her offspring in times of trouble, so God will not turn those who seek Him away. David chose to rest in the Lord’s protection and as He speaks of this protection he does so in 3 tenses, past, present and future. Past Protection – “For you have been my refuge” difficulty was nothing new for David. He had been protected as a shepherd boy from the bear and lion. He had been protected from the giant Goliath and from the anger and hatred of his predecessor King Saul. Stop right now, take a moment to look back and reflect on the Lord’s past protection in your life. Present and Future Protection – “I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.” David knows that now and in the future only God’s presence will satisfy. This “tent” that David mentions was the tabernacle, where God met with His people. David’s consuming and ongoing desire was to dwell in God’s presence, in Psalm 27:4, David says, “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.” We should never fear to be intimate with God, for He desires to be intimate with us. Its easy to get caught up in our circumstances and become grounded in low living, but the Lord has called us to lofty living. Instead of becoming caught up in our circumstances we become covered by Christ. David ends by promising to praise even in the problems and the pain, this is a beautiful picture of the life of faith. But our problem is that we don’t even praise God in the good times, we take God for granted. Just like electricity only when our power is shut off, do we really appreciate what we had and realize how reliant we were on it. Today do you need to cry out to God, to rest under the faithful feathers of His wings?