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Q1. Psalm 61

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Q1. (Psalm 61:1-4) What images does the psalmist evoke to communicate his trust in God's protection? How do the first four verses of this psalm make you feel?

From the ends of the earth I will cry to you for help for my heart is overwhelmed; towering rock of safety; safe refuge; fortress; sanctuary; shelter of your wings 

They make me see how I can trust God when I overwhelmed with the things of life. It makes me feel like I can truly trust God with everything I am going through no matter what it is. 

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In Psalm 61 the Psalmist talks about God being a refuge and a strong tower. A refuge is a safe place one can hide and a tower speaks of being in a walled up city or high wall. The Psalmist also talks about God being a rock or a huge boulder that is immovable and impenetrable. A place higher up that a person can be safe from the enemy's attacks. God is the rock because He is immovable and He is bigger and greater than all the Psalmist's enemies and even ours. 

The Psalmist talks about longing to dwell in the shelter of God's wings. Even though God is a spirit, this signifies God's protection and intimacy with the Psalmist. The first four verses make me feel like I can trust and depend on God because He is strong, invincible, protective, and no one can move Him or separate me from Him. Because He is determined to always be with me. That I need not be afraid as long as God is by my side. 

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Q1. (Psalm 61:1-4) What images does the psalmist evoke to communicate his trust in God's protection? How do the first four verses of this psalm make you feel?

The psalmist uses the metaphor of a rock, a rock that is of prominence, who is ultimately the Rock of our salvation Jesus Christ. Then he uses the images that are military in nature. The images are of “refuge” as in a place to flee for protection and “strong tower” which is a tall building in the city wall that encircles a city for protection. God is the source of our protection. The place where we could flee to and be safe and secure from all the plans of the enemy. The next images of protection that he uses are more intimate and gentle in nature. They are “tent/tabernacle” which could stand for the abiding place of the God of the universe and the “shelter of His wings” as in how a mother bird protects her young ones by keeping them in close proximity to herself.  

These verses make me feel cherished, treasured and valued in the presence of God. We are protected just because we belong to Him and He has given His angels to take charge over us. We may not know how many dangers have been averted from our lives in this side of eternity, but knowing that we are precious to Him and truly we are the apple of His eyes, makes me speechless and in awe of my Mighty God, who is my Defender and my Delight.

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Images of protection include:

  • Hidden in a rock in a very high place, probably a place where David can see his enemies coming before they can see him. The image I have is of boulders piled upon each other with David hidden between higher ones.
  • Protected by a impregnable tower, like a medieval tower with huge doors that could shut out David's enemies.
  • Tucked under the shelter of God's wings, like a baby bird under the wing of it's parents, warm and safe.

The first four verses describe a man crushed by the constant barrage of his enemies. He has a persistent fear that never quite goes away. This is the cry of a man who is tired and ready to give up, yet still calling out to God for deliverance. It's the final cry, the cry that seems so far from God that it comes from "the ends of the earth."

David's cry is sadly familiar. It's the cry of a man who has been pummelled too long, one who desperately needs God's strength and protection but isn't quite sure that God will pull through. "My heart grows faint ..." It makes me feel afraid for David, not protected by God. 

But the end of the psalm is hopeful. God heard David's cry! David expects God's presence to be with Him forever, his love and faithfulness to protect him.  He says, that when God protects him, he will praise God endlessly, so grateful is he for being delivered from danger.

"I sing in the shadow of your wings." Note that David still needs protection because he is still being harassed and hounded by Saul. God did not deliver David from Saul. Yet. He let Saul harm him for fourteen years. But though David was endangered, he sang because he knew God would protect him without delivering him.


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