Encourage0gram May 23, 2018
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Twice a month Brian Smith and I conduct a Bible Study and hymn sing at the Brookdale home for Senior Citizens. This is a blessing for us and we hope for the residents. Today, Brian shared some thoughts from Psalm 61. It turns out that Brian’s oldest son is in Madagascar sharing the gospel for the next six weeks. Brian shared how the perspective of David praying for his son Solomon blessed him in his prayers. It seemed to me that this psalm could ignite passion in all of us who pray today.
The pictures David uses to describe his trust in the Lord are clear and really hit home.
NAS Psalm 61:1-4
For the choir director; on a stringed instrument. A Psalm of David .
Hear my cry, O God; Give heed to my prayer.
2 From the end of the earth I call to Thee, when my heart is faint; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. 3 For Thou hast been a refuge for me, A tower of strength against the enemy.
4 Let me dwell in Thy tent forever; Let me take refuge in the shelter of Thy wings. Selah.
The word “selah” at the end of this strophe call us to stop and think about what you just read or sung. So, let’s pause to reflect on the pictures of comfort that David gives us.
Verse 1. This is a clear illustration of the king calling out to the KING. He requests that God will hear and of course answer his requests. In Christ we are confident that our Father in heaven hears and answers all the prayers of His children. Isn’t prayer rich? This is especially true of intercessory prayer. Every parent should be the number one intercessor for their children.
David confesses that his heart is faint. Fainting can be physical and spiritual. A person who grows faint spiritually is in a spiritual wrestling match with their faith. They want to believe but struggle with a feeble faith. Like the father in Mark we often cry out, “Lord I believe help me overcome my unbelief!” Today you may be struggling with God to believe the best for a friend or even your child. Do not let fainting keep you from praying. Pray through your struggle of faith.
Picture one: “The Rock that is higher than I” Rock is used 52 times in the Psalms. It is cliff to hide under or a rock to stand on. This Rock is Jesus! He is faithful to support and protect us as we trust in Him. David is honest enough to cry out – “lead me” to this Rock. Are we so honest? Do we run to the Rock even when our faith is weak? If not, why not? Surely this Rock is higher than I! Yes, He is! When you are downtrodden – Look Up! When you are overwhelmed in doubt – Look Up! When you are confused – Look Up! When you are blessed, Look Up!
Picture Two – You have been a refuge for me. Immediately we see the connection with the rock. How hard is it to take refuge? Not hard at all. But in our stubbornness, we try to fix things ourselves without God’s help. How foolish! David’s memories are good ones. He has experienced the protection of God many times and now in the crisis runs again to Him. Refuge appears in the Psalms 12 times. See 142:5 and 94:22.
Picture Three: A Tower of Strength against the Enemy. It is one thing to hide under a rock and another to sit high in a tower over an enemy. The two are similar but this second picture gives David more strength. He is looking down on the enemy by God’s strength. We all have enemies and the Lord gives us victory to see and defeat them! I believe that telling tower sitting victory stories to each other is essential. We need to hear how God delivers us and defeats our enemies.
Picture four: dwell in your tent forever. Immediately, I am struck by the warm hospitality of our Lord. He wants us to dwell in his tent! He will provide all we need to live with Him. He calls us to abide in Him as He abides in us! Imagine the comfort, peace, provision and love of living in His Tent. It is a warm picture indeed.
Picture five. The last one in this strophe is refuge in the shelter of His wings. This may be the most intimate of the pictures. David sees the Lord as a strong bird sheltering him. The wings of the Bird are strong and he pulls us close to His heart. The blessings here are innumerable. Rest today under His omnipotent wings.
Together these pictures communicate the depth of David’s faith and breath of God’s care. Each one is precious to ponder. They give us hope and persevering faith. Perhaps this explains why David wrote “selah” stop and ponder these thoughts.
May God bless each of you this week! Keep praying for others and use these pictures in your prayers.
Your servant for Jesus sake,