Meditation on Psalm 61
What do you do when your heart is faint? When your heart is weakened and overwhelmed by people or circumstances? Not only that, but what if you also feel that God is so distant from you? What do you do? Simply bear the burden and stress on your own? Just accept it as a brutal fact of life and be depressed? Lash out your frustration and get angry at yourself, at people, or at circumstances? Or just work harder to solve the problems you are facing?
What does David do when his heart is faint and weak, when he is overwhelmed? We read in Psalm 61 that he calls upon God. He starts off the Psalm, “Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer” (v.1). Then he says, “From the ends of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint” (61:2). “From the ends of earth” implies that he feels far from God. Don’t you feel that way sometimes? That God who is “in heaven” seems so far from me and you feel like God does not really care. If he did, why then am I going through this? Why is life so hard? What we can learn and be encouraged from the Psalm, however, is that when we are weak and even when God seems so far from us, we can still pray. In fact, we must pray and plead with God when our hearts are faint.
The Psalm continues by David requesting God to “lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (v.2b). “The rock that is higher than I” is a place that I cannot attain to by my own strength. So David is requesting God to do only what He can do. Basically he is praying, “Lord, you know I cannot do this. I am stuck; I am helpless. Please help me and restore me and lead me by your power to a place of safety, true security and peace.” How could David so boldly ask God? How could he dare to have the faith to pray like that? The next verse provides a reason: “for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy” (v.3). That is, David was able to have the faith and boldness to pray in his present distress, because he has had the past experience of God’s goodness, protection and provision. Remembering the past experience of God’s salvation provided impetus for David to seek God in distress. For us, as followers of Jesus, our experience of God’s salvation in Christ is foundational for our prayer life. When we were yet sinners, Christ came to die for us. He is our refuge from our sin; he is our strong tower against the accusation of the Enemy. First and foremost it is our experience of the great salvation that we have in Jesus that provides impetus for us to seek God. Plus as we remember how God protected and provided for us in our spiritual journey thus far, we are motivated to seek God in our current state of weakness.
As David brings himself to God in his distress and weakness, his prayer focuses on God himself. David does not simply ask God for rescue or salvation; he asks for God himself. In verse 4 he prays, “Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings.” You see the movement in the image: from “the rock that is higher than I” to “refuge” and “a strong tower” then finally to “your tent” and “the shelter of your wings.” “Your tent” is where God’s presence dwells; being “under the shelter of your wings” is the image of a vulnerable baby bird being embraced by the mother bird. Both images capture the reality of intimacy. David doesn’t just want an answered prayer, inner peace, security, or protection from the enemy. What he wants is God’s presence. God Himself. And that’s what we all desire in our life, whether our heart is faint or not. May the Psalms continue to bring our hearts back to God himself more and more each day.
This Week’s Bible Reading Schedule:
|Monday: Psalm 64||☐||Thursday: Psalm 67||☐|
|Tuesday: Psalm 65||☐||Friday: Psalm 68||☐|
|Wednesday: Psalm 66||☐||Saturday: Psalm 69||☐|
Bible Column & Reading Plan by Rev. Chang Soo Lee
Mississauga Camps Lead Pastor