Psalm 61 (Good News Translation)
1 Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer!
2 In despair and far from home I call to you! Take me to a safe refuge,
Psalm 61:2 (King James Version)
When my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Most of us know what it is to be overwhelmed in heart, emptied like when a man wipes a dish and turns it upside down, submerged and thrown on our beam-ends like a boat mastered by the storm. Discoveries of inward corruption will do this, if the Lord permits the depth of our depravity to become troubled and cast up mire and dirt. Disappointments and heartbreaks will do this when billow after billow rolls over us, and we are like a broken shell thrown to and fro by the surf.
Blessed be God, at such seasons we are not left without a sufficient solace: Our God is the harbor of weather-beaten sails, the hostel for forlorn pilgrims. He is higher than we are, His mercy higher than our sins, His love higher than our thoughts. It is pitiful to see men putting their trust in something lower than themselves; but our confidence is fixed on an exceedingly high and glorious Lord. He is a Rock since He doesn’t change, and a high Rock because the tempests that overwhelm us roll far beneath His feet; He is not disturbed by them but rules them at His will. If we get under the shelter of this lofty Rock, we may defy the hurricane; all is calm under the lee of that towering cliff. Sadly, the confusion in which the troubled mind is often cast is such that we need piloting to this divine shelter.
Hence the prayer of the text. O Lord, our God, by Your Holy Spirit, teach us the way of faith; lead us into Your rest. The wind blows us out to sea—the helm does not answer to our puny hand; You alone can steer us over the bar between the sunken rocks and safe into the fair haven. We are totally dependent upon You—we need You to bring us to You. To be wisely directed and steered into safety and peace is Your gift, and Yours alone. Tonight be pleased to deal kindly with Your servants.
–Charles Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg
3 for you are my protector, my strong defense against my enemies.
4 Let me live in your sanctuary all my life; let me find safety under your wings.
The Minstrel of Toulinguet performs a traditional gospel melody, “Under His Wings,” at the Northeast Church Museum, Twillingate, Newfoundland, Canada.
Under His wings, under His wings,
Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings my soul shall abide,
Safely abide forever.
Under His wings I am safely abiding,
Though the night deepens and tempests are wild,
Still I can trust Him; I know He will keep me,
He has redeemed me, and I am His child.
Under His wings, what a refuge in sorrow!
How the heart yearningly turns to His rest!
Often when earth has no balm for my healing,
There I find comfort, and there I am blessed.
Under His wings, oh, what precious enjoyment!
There will I hide till life’s trials are o’er;
Sheltered, protected, no evil can harm me,
Resting in Jesus, I’m safe evermore.
5 You have heard my promises, O God, and you have given me what belongs to those who honor you.
6 Add many years to the king’s life; let him live on and on!
7 May he rule forever in your presence, O God; protect him with your constant love and faithfulness.
8 So I will always sing praises to you, as I offer you daily what I have promised.
Psalm 62 (Good News Translation)
1 I wait patiently for God to save me; I depend on him alone.
2 He alone protects and saves me; he is my defender, and I shall never be defeated.
3 How much longer will all of you attack someone who is no stronger than a broken-down fence?
4 You only want to bring him down from his place of honor; you take pleasure in lies. You speak words of blessing, but in your heart you curse him.
5 I depend on God alone; I put my hope in him.
WHERE IS YOUR HOPE?
It is the believer’s privilege to use this language. If he is looking for anything from the world, it is a poor hope indeed. But if he looks to God for the supply of his needs, whether temporal or spiritual blessings, his hope will not be in vain. He may constantly draw from the bank of faith and get his need supplied out of the riches of God’s loving-kindness. I know this: I would rather have God for my banker than all the Rothschilds.
My Lord never fails to honor His promises; and when we bring them to His throne, He never sends them back unanswered. Therefore I will wait only at His door, for He always opens it with the hand of abundant grace. At this hour I will turn to Him afresh.
But we have “hope” beyond this life. We will die soon; and still our “hope is from him.” May we not expect that when we face illness He will send angels to carry us to His bosom? We believe that when the pulse is faint and the heart is weak, some angelic messenger shall stand and look with loving eyes upon us and whisper, “Come away!” As we approach the heavenly gate, we expect to hear the welcome invitation, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” We are expecting harps of gold and crowns of glory; we are hoping soon to be among the company of shining ones before the throne; we are looking forward and longing for the time when we shall be like our glorious Lord–for “We shall see him as he is.”
Then if these are your hopes, O my soul, live for God; live with the desire and resolve to glorify Him from whose grace in your election, redemption, and calling you safely “hope” for the coming glory.
–Charles Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg
6 He alone protects and saves me; he is my defender, and I shall never be defeated.
7 My salvation and honor depend on God; he is my strong protector; he is my shelter.
8 Trust in God at all times, my people. Tell him all your troubles, for he is our refuge.
9 Human beings are all like a puff of breath; great and small alike are worthless. Put them on the scales, and they weigh nothing; they are lighter than a mere breath.
10 Don’t put your trust in violence; don’t hope to gain anything by robbery; even if your riches increase, don’t depend on them.
Matthew 6:19-21 (English Standard Version)
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
11 More than once I have heard God say that power belongs to him
12 and that his love is constant. You yourself, O Lord, reward everyone according to their deeds.
Scripture taken from the Good News Translation – Second Edition, Copyright 1992 by American Bible Society.