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Bible Commentaries

Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

Psalms 61

Verses 1-2

Introduction

Now that the series of “Mikhtam” psalms of David (Psalms 56-60) has ended, with Psalm 61 a series of psalms begins that look back to the period of the great tribulation (Psalms 61-68).

Cry Out to God

For “for the choir director” (Psalms 61:1) see at Psalm 4:1.

It is a psalm that should be accompanied “on a stringed instrument”. See at Psalm 4:1.

For “[a Psalm] of David” see at Psalm 3:1.

David is in distress (Psalms 61:1). He is on the run from the enemy. The enemy is approaching. He cries out to God to hear his cry and to give heed to his prayer. It is not stated who the enemy is. Nor is it said what the enmity is about. It is not about the nature of the distress, but about its effect in the heart of the God-fearing.

David, who in this psalm also expresses the feelings of the believing remnant in the end times, is far from the sanctuary, far from the delight of blessing, at “the end of the earth” (Psalms 61:2; cf. Psalms 42:2; Psalms 42:6). Nowhere does he see a solution to his distress. The pressure of the enemy, of the need, becomes too great for him. His “heart is faint”. He is exhausted and he begins to despair of life. But although he is far from the place where God dwells, he still trusts in Him. Therefore, he cries out to God from this place.

In his trust in God, he asks that God lead him “to the rock that is higher than” himself and that he could never climb in his own strength. He would like God to bring him to the top of the rock so that he will be out of reach of his pursuers. If he is thus brought to safety by God, there is no enemy who can do anything to him anymore (cf. Isaiah 33:16). After all, for God, enemies and threatening circumstances mean nothing.

It is about the contrast between God and the circumstances, not about the contrast between the believer and the circumstances. It is like the ten spies who saw themselves as locusts in the eyes of the adversaries who were like giants to them (Numbers 13:28; Numbers 13:33). They forgot that they were not to compare themselves to the giants, but to compare the giants to God. And what did those giants mean at all in the eyes of God Almighty? The walls seemed as high as heaven. But what do those walls mean for faith? By faith they fall.

Therefore, David no longer looks to the enemies, but to God and wants to be with Him. In the end times, the faithful remnant will also look this way. For the Rock is none other than God Himself (Psalms 18:2; 2 Samuel 22:32). With Him, that Rock, that is Christ (1 Corinthians 10:4), his fainting heart will find rest and restoration of strength. Perhaps he has thought of the words God once spoke to Moses: “Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand [there] on the rock” (Exodus 33:21).

Verses 3-5

God Is a Refuge

God has been a refuge to him before, “a tower of strength against the enemy” (Psalms 61:3; Proverbs 18:10). This is what the believing remnant will say in the great tribulation. They know how God used to stand up for His people again and again (cf. Isaiah 25:4). This past action of God in favor of His people gives them the confidence that God will also act in favor of them in their distress. They know that God will save them.

Then David confidently says that he will dwell “forever” in God’s tent (Psalms 61:4). Here he speaks from the presence of the Rock upon which he stands in faith. He trusts that he will be in the tent of God, which here is the tabernacle, the place where the LORD wants to meet with His people.

God’s tent speaks of hidden dealings or fellowship with Him (cf. Psalms 27:5). Although David is physically distant from God’s dwelling place, he knows that he is on the rock and that the tent is his constant abode. There he also enjoys protection, of which the wings speak (cf. Psalms 57:1; Psalms 36:7Psalms 91:4), from the God of Israel.

David knows that God has heard his vows (Psalms 61:5; cf. Psalms 50:14-Ezra :). He has made them in his distress and lets God know that he has not forgotten them. David, in making a vow, is a picture of the Lord Jesus, Who made the vow to God to do His will (Hebrews 10:7; Psalms 40:7-Ruth :). He did not make His vow subject to any condition, but made it out of love and devotion to His God.

The Messiah perfectly feared God’s Name and perfectly fulfilled His vow. As a reward for that, He received the inheritance that God gives to all those who fear His Name. Moreover, He also acquired the right to the inheritance through His work on the cross (Revelation 5:1-2 Samuel :). All who fear God will receive the inheritance because He accomplished the work on the cross for them. As a result, they have also become heirs (Ephesians 1:10-1 Kings :; Ephesians 3:6).

Verses 6-7

The King Sits Enthroned Forever

David is not primarily asking for himself to prolong the king’s life (Psalms 61:6). He is thinking primarily of God’s King, the Messiah, the Son of David, to Whom this prophetically points.

Here we have the key to trust in God: it is trust in the Messiah. His years never end, but continue as from generation to generation. These are the years added to Him by virtue of His work on the cross and given to Him in the resurrection (Isaiah 53:10). These years have no end; they continue unceasingly (Hebrews 1:10-2 Kings :). This is the fulfillment of “forever” of Psalms 61:4 as a result of the “lovingkindness and truth” of God in Psalms 61:7. “Prolong the king’s life” also means that David’s posterity will be preserved, which is the Lord Jesus and all who belong to Him (cf. Psalms 132:11-2 Kings :).

His reign also lasts forever, “He will abide [or: sit enthroned] before God forever“ (Psalms 61:7; cf. Luke 1:32-Micah :; Daniel 2:44). Never has a king sat on a throne forever, not even David. This can only be said of the Lord Jesus. He reigns forever “before God”. Upon Him God always looks down in favor.

The guarantee of this lies in the “lovingkindness and truth” of God, which He appoints for His King, that is, on the basis of the covenant faithfulness of God, which is based on the blood of the new covenant. “Loyalty and truth preserve the king” (Proverbs 20:28). He exhibits these features in His government and is thereby protected. The people will have no cause to rebel against Him, but will gladly submit to His authority.

His performance in lovingkindness “upholds his throne” (Proverbs 20:28). This is quite different from the thrones of the world which are often founded on tyranny and oppression. These attributes are the foundation of the Messiah’s throne. By acting in lovingkindness and truth, His throne will remain established. When He appears as King, they will be perfectly manifested in His government, making His throne steadfast.

Verse 8

Singing Praise Forever

Suddenly the psalm here changes to the “I” form. Now it turns out that the psalmist and the king for whom he prayed are one and the same Person. The psalm ends with the promise of the King of God, the Messiah, that He will sing psalms for God’s Name forever. Every day of His reign, “day by day”, He will do God’s will in His government. He will return the kingdom to God after a perfect reign of a thousand years (1 Corinthians 15:24). What a joy that reign must be to the heart of God!

Every single day of that thousand years is reigned, just as God wants it to be. His will is done, “on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). And it is done by Him Who has said, “Behold, I have come … to do Your will, O God” (Hebrews 10:7). He has demonstrated this throughout His life. The climax is His work on the cross. There He laid the foundation for the whole will of God. He executes it, also in the establishment of the realm of peace and His government during that time.

We too will not passively spend eternity. We will spend eternity giving Him praise, thanks and worship, singing the new song: “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive …” (Revelation 5:12).

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Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Psalms 61". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/psalms-61.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.