Read: Psalm 61:1 – 2; Isaiah 40:28, 41:9, 45:22, 52:10
The historical context of this psalm was very likely David’s exile from Jerusalem during Absalom’s rebellion. Whatever the circumstances, when David wrote this psalm he was feeling far from home and in dire need of God’s help.
Think About It: What in my personal experience has felt like “the end of the earth”? How do the passages from Isaiah relate to David’s dilemma?
Prayer: Thank God that He is present even to the ends of the earth.
Read: Psalm 61:1 – 2; Lamentations 3:29 – 58
In his deep distress David cried to the Lord. Jeremiah cried in similar circumstances, as recorded in Lamentations. Worldly wisdom says “real men don’t cry,” but David and Jeremiah were “real men” by any standard. Their example suggests that crying – to God – is the right thing to do when deep trouble comes.
Think About It: What function is served by David’s asking God to hear his prayer? Do tears make our prayers more compelling to God? What is the function of strong emotion in prayer?
Prayer: Let God hear about what most deeply distresses me right now.
Read: Psalm 61:4; Isaiah 25:4, 33:16; Proverbs 18:10; 1 Corinthians 10:4; Hebrews 7:26
The rock in the wilderness provided shade from the sun, protection from predators, and refuge from marauders. The rock is a picture of Jesus, our shelter in the time of storm.
Think About It: Why does David ask God to lead him to the rock? Why can’t he simply go to the rock? How does this relate to coming to faith in Christ (John 6:44)? From what storms and dangers do I need a refuge?
Prayer: For God to lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Read: Psalm 61:4; Psalm 23:6; Psalm 84:10
David’s request to dwell in God’s tent was an expression of his longing to be in God’s presence, and especially in that place where God’s presence was manifested most intensely, in the tabernacle. There, in the shelter of the wings of the cherubim, David longed to take refuge.
Think About It: Where do I long to take refuge? Where is the “shelter of His wings” for me? Do I long to worship God?
Prayer: Thank God for His sheltering wings.
Read: Psalm 61:1, 5; Isaiah 65:24; Jeremiah 29:12, 33:3; Luke 11:5 – 13.
Psalm 61 began with David’s crying to God to hear him; by verse 5 David affirmed that God heard and answered him. Remembering God’s past faithfulness is a great encouragement to present faith.
Think About It: What is the greatest answer to prayer I have ever experienced? How has God answered my prayers recently? What is the most urgent request on my present prayer agenda?
Prayer: Thanks for answered prayer; ask for what I need now.
Read: Psalm 61:5; Ephesians 1:3 – 14
The passage in Ephesians provides a full commentary on the meaning of “the heritage of those that fear Thy name.”
Think About It: What is my spiritual heritage according to Ephesians 1? How do I go about claiming my inheritance from God?
Prayer: Thank God for my spiritual heritage.
Read: Psalm 61:6 – 8; 2 Samuel 7:8 – 17; Psalm 108:4
David ended Psalm 61 by affirming his faith in God’s covenant. David was confident that his reign would endure Absalom’s rebellion, that his throne would be established, and that the Messiah, the eternal King, would arise from His descendants.
Think About It: God’s answer to David’s cry involved a much bigger scope than David’s immediate crisis. Does it help me to get a bigger perspective on my troubles? How can I do that? David prayed to be preserved by God’s mercy and truth. Why is this important? Who is the source of mercy and truth?
Prayer: For a Heavenly perspective on my life; for God’s mercy and truth to preserve me.