Psalm 61

The Psalms

Psalm 61
Feelings, facts, and eternity

Psalms index

Psalm 61

1 For the director of music. With stringed instruments. Of David.

Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. 2 From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. 3 For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. 4 I long to dwell in your tent for ever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings. Selah

5 For you have heard my vows, O God; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.

6 Increase the days of the king’s life, his years for many generations. 7 May he be enthroned in God’s presence for ever; appoint your love and faithfulness to protect him. 8 Then will I ever sing praise to your name and fulfil my vows day after day.


Psalm 61 – Feelings, facts, and eternity

(Verses 1-2) Happily, David does not rely on feelings. They can go up and down for no apparent reason, as well as in response to some calamity or opposition. But he does know that he needs to cry to God. He asks God to ‘listen to [his] prayer’. What a privilege that our infinite and almighty God is loving and listening to His people. If you really have turned from your sin and committed your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive you, bless you, guide you, and help you, then you will know that you have a prayer-listening God who will answer you. Do pray to Him morning and evening each day. Although David feels distant from God—which is why he feels he prays ‘From the ends of the earth’—he still calls out to God. So many of his psalms are examples of how to pray in different circumstances.

Unlike some, who wrongly ease up on praying when they do not feel up to it, he calls on God ‘from afar’ and as his ‘heart grows faint’. He recognises that God is his Rock—solid, settled, reliable—and that He is ‘higher than’ David. Many people who feel glum and weak let their heads drop and do not pray as they ought, each day. David looks up to God, his Rock ‘that is higher than I.’ Do not look down, look up! Do not trust your feelings—but trust Jesus. He will never let you down.

(Verses 3-4) The recurring theme in other psalms is here again. God has often been a ‘refuge’ and ‘a strong tower against the foe’ for David. We do like to feel safe, secure, and protected on a long-term basis. That is why the eternal Son of God, Jesus, died for us to take the penalty for our sins in His body on the cross, and then rose again. When you turn your back on your sins, thank Jesus for dying for you, and receive Him into your heart as your living Lord and Saviour, you are placed in Christ as your ‘refuge’ and ‘strong tower’. He protects you throughout eternity. Like David, once you experience that, you look forward to dwelling with the Lord Jesus Christ ‘forever’ and taking eternal refuge in Him, just as a newly hatched little chic hides under its mother hen’s wings. You are safe then ‘forever’ in Him in Heaven.

(Verse 5) David has vowed to God to be faithful to his wonderful spiritual heritage, as a man fully committed to God. Similarly, now, each person who truly knows and loves our loving Saviour possesses a godly fear for His name. That name must always be upheld and shared with others.

(Verses 6-8) These verses refer to David’s kingdom and to the eternal kingdom of the coming Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. It continues in God’s ‘presence forever.’ By Christ’s loving faithfulness, if you trust in Him to save you, you will be there! Until then keep faithful in daily living for Him.