Each week we LIVESTREAM the Lord's Day Sabbath School at 10a, Lord's Day morning public worship at 11a, and Lord's Day p.m. singing (3p) and sermon (3:45), and the Midweek Sermon and Prayer Meeting at 6:30p on Wednesday

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

2022.07.26 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 61

Read Psalm 61

Questions from the Scripture text: Into whose hands was this Psalm committed (superscript)? Who wrote it? What is its first request (Psalm 61:1a)? What is its second (verse 1b)? From where is the psalmist doing what (Psalm 61:2a)? How does his heart feel (verse 2b)? What does he ask God to do when this happens (verse 2c)? What two things has God been for him (Psalm 61:3)? Where does he hope to abide (Psalm 61:4a)? For how long? In what shelter will the Psalmist take refuge (verse 4b)? Who has heard what (Psalm 61:5a)? What has God given him (verse 5b)? To whom does this heritage belong? What will God do for him as king (Psalm 61:6a)? For how long (verse 6b)? How long will he abide where (Psalm 61:7a)? What two things does he ask God to prepare (literally “count out”) for him (verse 7b)? What would this covenanted love and faithfulness do for him? What will the psalmist do (Psalm 61:8a)? For how long? For what purpose (verse 8b)?

How does having an overwhelmed heart lead to overwhelming praise? Psalm 61 looks forward to the opening portion of morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these eight verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that God Himself helps our hearts find refuge in Him, so that we will both realize the permanently great security we have in Him and therefore commit to permanent praise of Him.

Present predicament. The first line in Psalm 61:2 suggests that the circumstance of this Psalm was one of the many times that David was on the run, or perhaps in the midst of a difficult military campaign like with Psalm 60. But the occasion of the Psalm has more to do with his heart: he is overwhelmed (feels like fainting). When have you felt like this, dear believer? Be comforted that not only did David and the Lord Jesus (Who is prophesied by this Psalm) experience the same, but one of the reasons that they did is so that the Holy Spirit could give you this to pray and to sing. The Lord knows both your circumstances and your faintness, and He makes provision for you.

Personal (and permanent) preservation. Ultimately, that provision is Himself. The shelter is not a place but a Person. Not only is the Lord Himself the rock/refuge/tower/tent/hideout (Psalm 61:2-4), but He Himself leads us there (verse 2c)! Many a believer has had this experience—not being able to see any light or hope, but then the Holy Spirit Himself brings to mind the Lord Whom you have known from His Word and in your life. Now if God Himself is helping you find God Himself as your help, how long will that last? Forever!

By referring to himself as “the king” in Psalm 61:6a, David alerts us to the fact that the hope and heritage of this Psalm belong by right to Christ. Certainly, the Lord Jesus had much occasion to cry out to God, including the greatest occasion ever. And it is He who conquered death in His resurrection and intercedes for us now by the power of His indestructible life (Psalm 61:6-7a, cf. Hebrews 2:14, Hebrews 7:16). When God is your shelter, you will abide there forever (Psalm 61:7a). And when it is in the forever-King that you have shelter, it will be forever.

Permanent praise. Psalm 61:5a, Psalm 61:8b frame in the second half of the Psalm with the idea of vows. Already, the psalmist has realized how permanent his preservation will be since it is God Himself. So, he turns his attention from what he needs from God to his response to God, and he commits to praise that corresponds to the Lord’s preserving of him. 

The “inheritance” in Psalm 61:5 is being counted out (the literal word, translated “prepare” in our version) in Psalm 61:7b. What is that inheritance? The mercy (ḳessed, covenant love) and truth (emmet, faithfulness) that is keeping him even now. Every day, forever, he will be praising God’s Name for these (Psalm 61:8a–b). 

And since this is already a day in which he has them, he will praise God’s Name for them now. In the space of just eight verses, the Holy Spirit has brought him (and us!) from an overwhelmed heart to overwhelming praise.

When has your heart been overwhelmed? Who can help you to your shelter then? To what shelter does He lead you? What do you find there? For how long? How do you respond? For how long?

Sample prayer:  O God, lead us to Yourself as our Rock. Make us to know that our safety is not in a place but in a Person. Open our eyes to know You and Jesus Christ Whom You have sent. For, this is eternal life. Count out for us the inheritance of Your covenanted love and faithfulness. And, provoke our hearts to respond with committed and everlasting praise, for we ask it through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP61A “O God, Hear My Cry” or TPH61B “O Hear My Urgent Cry”


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