Peter Misselbrook's Blog
May 12 2019 - Psalm 61:1-62:8 – I call as my heart grows faint

In Psalm 61 David cries out for God to help him. We are not given any information about the context of this psalm, but in the schedule of our readings it comes during David's flight from Jerusalem before the rebellion of his own son, Absalom. This may not have been when this psalm was written, but it fits nicely into this context.

David recognises that God has been very good over the years. God had protected him against his enemies and had been his refuge. David longs to dwell again in God's presence, in God's "tent", and to take shelter under his wings – these could be poetic expressions of his longing to be back in Jerusalem. David longs to be restored to God's favour.

But right now, David feels that he is far from God; he calls out in prayer to him "from the ends of the earth" as his "heart grows faint". He is aware of his own weakness and vulnerability and longs to know that he is surrounded by God's strength and protective might. He prays that he would be restored to his throne – that he might be able to reign over God's people for many years to come. If only God would hear and answer him then he "will ever sing in praise of your name and fulfil my vows day after day."

Psalm 62 does not tell us that all David's prayers have been answered but it does express a transition from desperate cries for help to peaceful trust. David has found that he can rest secure in God's care for him. There are still those who are intent on toppling him from his high position, his place of power, and David is content to acknowledge that he has no strength to prevent it; he is a "leaning wall" and "tottering fence" – these might have been scornful descriptions uttered by his enemies, but David is quite ready to adopt them. He knows that his security and hope lie not in himself but in God. David has found rest in God who is his mighty rock, his refuge and his salvation and this gives him the confidence that, "I shall never be shaken" (62:2).

David turns his experience of trusting God in difficult circumstances into testimony to others, urging them also to seek God's face in prayer and discover that God is their refuge also (62:8).

Have you ever faced situations that threaten to overwhelm you? Maybe it is the loss of someone you loved and to whom you had looked for strength and support. Maybe it has been the loss of a job you enjoyed, which provided you with income, friendship and status. Maybe it has been the shattering of your hopes for something you believed that God was going to give you or do for you. Maybe you cried out to God in prayer looking for a resolution to the problems you were facing but nothing seemed to change. Have you ever discovered at such a time that God himself was your strength and refuge, your rock and your salvation? Have you ever found that, though outward circumstances may not immediately change, you have been enabled to rest in God knowing that he will never fail you?

We can trust God, even when everything else seems to be taken away from us, even when our prayers for help seem to go unanswered. He gave his Son for our salvation; he loves us and will never abandon us. We can rest in his care.

Father God, we thank you that we can trust you in all things. Help us to know that our safety and security lie neither in our outward circumstances, which can so easily change, nor in ourselves for we are all too aware of our own weakness, but in you and your unfailing goodness and great love for us. By the power of your Holy Spirit, strengthen our faith, help us to fix our eyes on the Lord Jesus and fill us with joy and peace in believing. Help us to encourage others through our testimony to your goodness and unfailing grace. 

Peter Misselbrook