Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
To the chief Musician upon Neginah, A Psalm of David. Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.Psalms 61
As it is with many other Psalms so it is with this. If we are to find in the Bible narratives a situation suitable for it we may allow ourselves to conjecture that it was written by David after Absalom's defeat, and before David's return to Jerusalem. The Psalm expresses the feelings of one who is a king in circumstances of great sorrow, who has experienced deliverance, and prays with confident expectation for restoration and long life. It falls into two divisions, each expressing two main thoughts; the second taking up the note with which the first closed. We have in the first anguish of heart leading to prayer, then recollection, from which springs hope. In the second we have hope based on recollection, and faith issuing in thanksgiving.
I. There are two elements in the Psalmist's anguish. 'My heart is overwhelmed,' he says. It faints within him. There is no strength or spirit left in him. The second element is move special to himself. He felt himself at the end of the earth, an exile from God's presence. He called to God as across a great distance. There are times when we too feel far from Him. The very intensity of our need of God may obscure from us the fact of His nearness.
II. In the midst of trouble the Psalmist remembers experiences that give him ground for hope. We see how in his deliverance David was quick to perceive the beginnings of the fulfilment of his prayers; that from being a dispossessed and exiled king he might be restored to his kingdom and throne. God's deeds of deliverance are promises and earnests. To the insight and foresight of faith they mean more than they are.
III. Finally the Psalmist rises into confidence for the future. He expects that his life will be prolonged and his throne established in the presence and favour of God. If we noted God's deliverances, if we daily called to mind and made mention of His goodness, what resources of hope we should have for darker times.
—P. G. Maclagan, The Gospel View of Things, p. 84.
References.—LXI. 2.—Spurgeon, Evening by Evening, p. 268. J. C. M. Bellew, Christ in Life; Life in Christ, p. 120. J. Bolton, Selected Sermons (2nd Series), p. 46. LXI. 3.—Bishop Woodford, Sermons on Subjects from the Old Testament, p. 129. LXI. 7.—Spurgeon, Evening by Evening, p. 43. LXI.—International Critical Commentary, vol. ii. p. 65. LXII. 1, 5.—A. Maclaren, Weekday Evening Addresses, p. 151. LXII. 8.—Spurgeon, Evening by Evening, p. 247. LXII.—International Critical Commentary, vol. ii. p. 68.
From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.
I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.
For thou, O God, hast heard my vows: thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name.
Thou wilt prolong the king's life: and his years as many generations.
He shall abide before God for ever: O prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him.
So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows.