Saturday, May 21, 2016

Psalm 61 - The Ends of the Earth

O afflicted one, passed back and forth, and not comforted, Look! I am about to set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires. Isaiah 54:11
Listen to my cry for help, O God. Pay attention to my prayer. From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help 
When my heart is overwhelmed lead me to the towering rock of safety, for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.
Let me live forever in your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of your wings!
O God, you have heard my vows. You have given me the inheritance that belongs to those who fear your name.
Add days upon days to the life of the king. May his years endure throughout every generation.
May he sit enthroned in the presence of God forever. May mercy and truth protect him.
Then I will make music to praise your name forever, as I keep my vows day after day.

In Psalm 61, David is in serious prayer mode to God. Some believe that this chapter records a time when he was in exile from his son, Absalom, who in his rebellion and greed for power, sought to subvert the throne of David, his father, and take it for himself. 

As in many instances, its not necessarily the circumstances David is in but his dire need to know that God is with him. 

Many things can cause hearts to be overwhelmed: the loss of loved ones, trouble within the family or at work, financial problems, the loss of a job, the loss of health. What do I do? When I get to the end of the proverbial rope, when I have no place else to turn, where do I turn?  Sometimes weekly, I have been driven by circumstances to this end-of-the-road type of experience, where I feel rung-out, exhausted and oh-so-weary. Like being in a pressure cooker. 

Where I turn at this point is so important. Some turn to pills, some turn to alcohol or drugs, some  turn to even more desperate measures and just try to end it all. "When my heart is overwhelmed," David said so eloquently.

There is a place of refuge, there is a place of strength, there is a place of security that I can have in Christ, the Rock that is higher than I. The place where I can be sheltered from the storm. Sheltered from the enemy. Protected. A rock is a symbol of strength in the Bible. The Bible says concerning Jehovah, "He is our Rock," (Deuteronomy 32). In I Corinthians, chapter 10, Paul said concerning the rock from which the water flowed in the wilderness, and that rock was Christ. That life-giving source. The rock. Smitten from where life flows to all men.

So, O my dear Lord, when my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to You, the Rock that is higher than I. 

It is so comforting to know that at my extremity I can turn to God. There is a song, "He Gives More Grace," that beautifully describes it. "When I have exhausted my store of endurance, when my strength is gone, the day is half-through, when I have reached the end of my resources, my Father's full giving has only begun." 

"His grace has no limits, His love has no measure, His power has no boundary known to man. For out of His infinite riches in Jesus, He gives and gives and gives again."

And when I've come to the end, when I am overwhelmed, and I cry unto Him, that Rock that is higher than I. At that point of my extremity, God has just begun His glorious work within my life.

And so David ends the psalm with these paraphrased words of confidence: "God, You are going to take care of it. You are The Rock that is higher than I and You will see me through. You will bring me back. And I will dwell in Your tabernacle. But even now --in the midst of my overwhelmed-ness-- I dwell in You."