Past experiences of the benefit of trusting God implicitly should ever engage us to keep close to Him and encourage us to hope for fresh mercies in the time of stress.
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.
Psalm 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Psalm 61 – Safe under God’s Protection
This psalm was probably composed at the time of Absalom’s rebellion, when David was a fugitive from the Tabernacle that he loved. There are two stanzas.
Prayer, Psalm 61:1-4
The king was only across the Jordan, yet it seemed the end of the earth. He was at the end of human help. In overwhelming floods trouble poured all around, but in the distance he perceived the rock that towered above the waters. If he could but reach it, he would be safe. What rock is this save the Rock of Ages, that was cleft for us! We cannot reach or climb it by ourselves, but need to be led and lifted thither. And God answers, “I will put thee.” See Exodus 33:22.
Confidence, Psalm 61:5-8
The psalmist quotes the great assurance of II Samuel 7:12-16, and turns it into prayer. Faith presents God’s pledges to Himself, and affirms her confidence in their fulfillment. Thus we advance from step to step on the predestined road, knowing that Loving-Kindness and Truth have gone before us, to prepare the way of our steps and to discover themes for endless praise. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Psalm 61:2—Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.
David is in the wilderness, fleeing from Absalom. It seems to him that he is at the end of the earth. “Love and Longing are potent magnifiers of space.” His soul seems wrapped in gloom; then, from afar, he sees the Rock of his salvation, and asks to be led thither, and set thereon.
Can you not see that rock? All the desert is baking like a furnace. The very pebbles burn the hand like cinders. Nothing can abide the scorching glare but the little green lizards that dart to and fro among the stones. Sunbeams strike like swords on the head of the luckless travellers that dare to brave their glittering edge. But yonder there is a rock, rising high above the shimmering sands, and casting a deep black shadow on one side. Little lichens hide in its crevices, streaks of vegetation are enameled on its steep surfaces, and at its foot there are even a few rock-plants growing as best they can in the arid soil. That is the higher rock—the rock higher than the traveler’s stature. He makes for it; or if he is too faint and overwhelmed, he is led to it, and beneath its gracious shadow finds instant respite and repose. The shadow of a great rock in a weary land!
Jesus will be all this to thee, dear heart. Thou hast got to the end of the earth and of thyself; call out to Christ, and He will bring thee, faint and ready to die, to Himself as the Shadow from the heat. The Man of men can be this for thee, because He is higher than thou art. Higher than I, because of his Divine origin; higher, because of his perfect obedience; higher, because of his supreme sufferings; higher, because of his ascension to the right hand of power. Yet his side is scarred and cleft. —Our Daily Homily