A Pastor’s Ponderings – Psalm 61

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There are so many of the psalms that have given me comfort and encouragement throughout the years.  There is one that I have gone to for help at various times in my life.  The words of Psalm 61 have been a strength for me on more occasions than I could count.  We are told that it is a psalm written by the hand of David.  He is a man who knew what it was to face good times, as well as the bad times of life.  He knew what it was to have someone close to him turn against him.  He knew what it was to have a child to die.  He knew what it was to experience sadness and loss.  He knew what it was to need hope restored.

We aren’t told exactly what experience it was that David had in mind when he penned this particular psalm, although he refers to himself as king in verse 6.  So, it had something to do with the period of time in his life when he was king of Israel.  What we do know is how he feels.  He says in verse 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.

David feels himself at “the end of the earth.”  He seems to be describing a situation where he feels that he has gone about as far as he can go.  When you’re at the end of the earth, where else can you go?  He has been pushed to his limits.  Whatever is pressing on his life has been about all he can handle.  It may be some sorrow of heart.  It may be some struggle of life.  It could be some situation he is facing.  Whatever it is, David feels that it has brought him to “the end of the earth.”

Then he said his “heart is overwhelmed.”  He is saying he feels like a ship being tossed by the waves, then suddenly one wave crashes down violently so that it nearly sinks the vessel.  The idea of the word is being without strength, being muffled or smothered.  Someone said it’s like sitting down at a desk full of papers and not knowing where to start.  Do you ever feel that way?  That is how David describes himself as feeling.

He feels helpless to face what he is facing within himself, but he knows this one thing—he knows that there is a rock higher than where he is.  David knows of a place.  He knows of a refuge.  He knows of a resource. He knows of a shelter and a place of hiding when life is more than we can handle.  The Lord is the Rock that is higher than I.  When the enemy surrounds you.  When troubles camp on your doorstep.  When sorrows like sea billows roll.  When your heart is overwhelmed by life.  When you feel as though you are at “the end of the earth.”  Do what David said, from there I will cry unto thee.  Pour out your heart to the One who will hear and who will help you in your time of need.