Verses 1–4

In these verses we may observe,

I. David’s close adherence and application to God by prayer in the day of his distress and trouble: “Whatever comes, I will cry unto thee (Ps. 61:2), --not cry unto other gods, but to thee only,—not fall out with thee because thou afflictest me, but still look unto thee, and wait upon thee,—not speak to thee in a cold and careless manner, but cry to thee with the greatest importunity and fervency of spirit, as one that will not let thee go except thou bless me.” This he will do, 1. Notwithstanding his distance from the sanctuary, the house of prayer, where he used to attend as in the court of requests: “From the end of the earth, or of the land, from the most remote and obscure corner of the country, will I cry unto thee.” Note, Wherever we are we may have liberty of access to God, and may find a way open to the throne of grace. Undique ad coelos tantundem est viae—Heaven is equally accessible from all places. “Nay, because I am here in the end of the earth, in sorrow and solitude, therefore I will cry unto thee.” Note, That which separates us from our other comforts should drive us so much the nearer to God, the fountain of all comfort. 2. Notwithstanding the dejection and despondency of his spirit: “Though my heart is overwhelmed, it is not so sunk, so burdened, but that it may be lifted up to God in prayer; if it is not capable of being thus raised, it is certainly too much cast down. Nay, because my heart is ready to be overwhelmed, therefore I will cry unto thee, for by that means it will be supported and relived.” Note, Weeping must quicken praying, and not deaden it. Isa. any afflicted? Let him pray, Jas. 5:13; Ps. 102:1.

II. The particular petition he put up to God when his heart was overwhelmed and he was ready to sink: Lead me to the rock that is higher than I; that is, 1. “To the rock which is too high for me to get up to unless thou help me to it. Lord, give me such an assurance and satisfaction of my own safety as I can never attain to but by thy special grace working such a faith in me.” 2. “To the rock on the top of which I shall be set further out of the reach of my troubles, and nearer the serene and quiet region, than I can be by any power or wisdom of my own.” God’s power and promise are a rock that is higher than we. This rock is Christ; those are safe that are in him. We cannot get upon this rock unless God by his power lead us. I will put thee in the cleft of the rock, Exod. 33:22. We should therefore by faith and prayer put ourselves under the divine management, that we may be taken under the divine protection.

III. His desire and expectation of an answer of peace. He begs in faith (Ps. 61:1): “Hear my cry, O God! attend unto my prayer; that is, let me have the present comfort of knowing that I am heard (Ps. 20:6), and in due time let me have that which I pray for.”

IV. The ground of this expectation, and the plea he uses to enforce his petition (Ps. 61:3): “Thou hast been a shelter for me; I have found in thee a rock higher than I: therefore I trust thou wilt still lead me to that rock.” Note, Past experiences of the benefit of trusting in God, as they should engage us still to keep close to him, so they should encourage us to hope that it will not be in vain. “Thou hast been my strong tower from the enemy, and thou art as strong a ever, and thy name is as much a refuge to the righteous as ever it was.” Prov. 18:10.

V. His resolution to continue in the way of duty to God and dependence on him, Ps. 61:4. 1. The service of God shall be his constant work and business. All those must make it so who expect to find God their shelter and strong tower: none but his menial servants have the benefit of his protection. I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever. David was now banished from the tabernacle, which was his greatest grievance, but he is assured that God by his providence would bring him back to his tabernacle, because he had by his grace wrought in him such a kindness for the tabernacle as that he was resolved to make it his perpetual residence, Ps. 27:4. He speaks of abiding in it for ever because that tabernacle was a type and figure of heaven, Heb. 9:8, 9, 24. Those that dwell in God’s tabernacle, as it is a house of duty, during their short ever on earth, shall dwell in that tabernacle which is the house of glory during an endless ever. 2. The grace of God and the covenant of grace shall be his constant comfort: I will make my refuge in the covert of his wings, as the chickens seek both warmth and safety under the wings of the hen. Those that have found God a shelter to them ought still to have recourse to him in all their straits. This advantage those have that abide in God’s tabernacle, that in the time of trouble he shall there hide them.