Psalm 61

Hello, my friend.    Many of you were raised in the period of church history when hymns were not only tolerated but loved.  I am amazed how much singing in our little country church in Gothenburg, Nebraska had to do with my early spiritual growth.  It was not fancy, accompanied only by a piano, and there was a very ordinary choir, or singing group, but we loved to sing and even spent some Sunday evenings at someone’s house just for an after-church ‘singspiration’.  One of the hymns I loved goes like this.  “O safe to the Rock that is higher than I, my soul in its conflicts and sorrows would fly;  so sinful, so weary–Yours, Yours would I be.  O blest “Rock of Ages”, I’m hiding in Thee.  Hiding in Thee, hiding in Thee, Thou blest “Rock of Ages”, I’m hiding in Thee.  In the calm of the noon-tide, in sorrow’s lone hour, in times when temptation casts o’er me its pow’r;  in the tempests of life, on its wide, heaving sea, Thou blest Rock of Ages, I’m hiding in Thee.”

And of course that hymn comes from our PSALM 61, for today.  David cries, vs.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.  For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.  I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.”  And on and on this song of praise goes, a refreshing interlude in the midst of other songs laden with despair and discouragement.

There are times when even strong men feel weak and undone.  David admits his weakness–both physically and emotionally. He is probably referring to the Tabernacle, that splendid tent which by its very structure indicated the people were on a pilgrimage.  And times of extreme stress or pressure or difficulty often can be used of the Lord to drive us back to His presence, to a strong tower, protecting us from danger, and a strong refuge, protecting us from crumpling on the journey.

Many years ago, during a time of great trial and disappointment, I read Amy Carmichael’s great poem, called ‘Not in vain’ “Not in vain the tedious toil on an unresponsive soil, travail, tears in secret shed over hopes that lay as dead.  All in vain, your faint heart cries, not in vain, your Lord replies;  nothing is too good to be;  then believe, believe to see.  Did your labor turn to dust?  Suffering–did it eat like rust, till the blade that once was keen as a blunted tool is seen?  Dust and rust your life’s reward?  Slay the thought:  believe your Lord.  When your soul is in distress, think upon His faithfulness.”

“Help us realize, Lord, the need of retreating into your heart, your love, your refuge, when things seem just too much to bear.  Give us the wisdom of just saying no to the calls on us from every side, just to find rest in the refuge of your Tent.  Bless my friend with very special care and comfort, even as we also pray for some at this moment in severe physical and emotional need.  Let us, Lord, sensibly find refuge in you, to be safe in the Rock that is higher than I.  Thank you, Lord.” 

And thank you, my friend, for your prayers and encouragement.  God is able.  Cheerio!

These meditations on the Psalms were written by Village Schools of the Bible Founder, Monty Sholund and first published in book form as Monty’s Musings on the Psalms in 2000. Copies are available for $10 each and can be ordered here.

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Psalm 61

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