Psalms 61:1 - 8
ESV - 1 Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer. 2 From the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
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This Psalm is a lament. It is attributed to King David. Obviously he feels far away from God. He needs God. He calls out to God in deep sadness. When we are suffering God wants us to call on Him. He will comfort us with the reassurance that our cries and not in vain. This Psalm reinforces our faith and trust in Our Heavenly Father. We can tell Him how we feel. We can even yell and declare that we feel abandoned. We can express our feelings, whatever they may be. Our hope is renewed when we realize, God has not gone away. We only think He has. He does not break His promises.
In PSALM 61 Harold Wilmington outlines the opening verses for us. David prays for protection and long life and praises God for hearing his prayer. I. LEAD (Ps 61:1-5): David asks God to lead him. A. The rock of God (Ps 61:1-2): God is his towering rock of safety. Ps 61:2: "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." In seasons of grief, To my Lord I'll repair, When my heart is overwhelmed, With its sorrows and cares To the ends of the earth, To my God I will fly, Lead me to the rock, That is higher than I. Higher than I, Higher than I, Lead me to the rock, That is higher than I. When Satan the tempter, Rolls in with a flood, To drown my poor soul, From its fountain of good I will cling to the Savior, Who humbly did die, Lead me to the Rock, That is higher than I. Higher than I, Higher than I, Lead me to the rock, That is higher than I. Ricky Skaggs B. The fortress of God (Ps 61:3): God is his refuge and fortress. “for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.” (NLT) Wiersbe says “Tower/Fortress” symbolizes God’s Name (Prov. 18:10 which says in the New Heart English Bible, “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe”, and God Himself (Ps. 61:3) is also symbolized by ‘Tower’” –Index of Biblical Images C. The wings of God (Ps 61:4-5): David wants to dwell in the shelter of God's wings. Psalm 61:4-5 says, 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.” And Deuteronomy 32:9-10 with Wings symbolizing Protection, says, 10 “He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. 11 As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings:” Wings symbolize Security according to Wiersbe’s Index of Biblical Images. II. LENGTHEN (Ps 61:6-8): David asks God to watch over him and add many years to his life. David prayed about a foe (Ps 61:3), protection for his life (Ps 61:6), and the security of his throne (Ps 61:7, where “abide” means “be enthroned”). The psalm opens with David crying out in distress but closes with him singing praises to God. WWW III. LISTEN (Ps 61:8): David promises to praise God and fulfill his vows if God answers his prayer. https://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1015&context=outline_chapters_bible
I would say that David's request was a recognition of God's ability not only to lead, but to protect, which was the status to which David was asking (no matter how remotely or faintly) for God to lead him -- that is, lead him to a place where God would protect him from those who were seeking to harm him -- which is an action that God can still perform today for those who seek it.
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