Psalms 61:0 ¶ To the chief Musician upon Neginah, A Psalm of David.
This is another psalm of David that he sent to the chief Musician to use in worship and praise at the tabernacle that housed the ark of the covenant. Easton’s Dictionary states that Neginah “denotes the music of stringed instruments.” It also points out that the word is singular in form which makes me think it was likely sung to the accompaniment of a single stringed instrument and possibly even sung as a solo—possibly in connection with the king’s early days as a shepherd boy playing on his harp and singing praise to God.
I liked this observation from the New Bible Commentary: “Like many psalms, Psalm 61 opens with prayer and ends with praise. This is a biblical sequence, for prayer begets a confidence in God that expresses itself in praise and is answered by acts of God to which praise is the right response.”
Psalms 61:1 ¶ Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.
Psalms 61:2 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.
Once again, David opens his song calling out to God in prayer and urging Him to answer his cry for help. “From the end of the earth” could make reference to being far away from home or could just be an expression of emphasis to the truth that no matter where he might be, he always turned to God when his heart was overwhelmed or heavily oppressed. He pleads for God to lead him to a place that lifts his spirits high above his circumstances. I think that was actually a cry for God to make His presence felt, since David knew God as “the rock” of salvation and deliverance.
Deuteronomy 32:15 “But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.”
1 Samuel 2:2 “There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.”
2 Samuel 22:32 “For who is God, save the Lord? and who is a rock, save our God?”
Psalms 42:9 “I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”
Beautiful thought from Spurgeon: “Our heavenly Father is not hardened against the cries of his own children. What a consoling thought it is that the Lord at all times hears his people's cries, and is never forgetful of their prayers; whatever else fails to move him, praying breath is never spent in vain!... No spot is too dreary, no condition too deplorable; whether it be the world's end or life's end, prayer is equally available.”
Psalms 61:3 For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.
Psalms 61:4 I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.
David goes on to testify how God has been his shelter and strong tower in the face of his enemy. He was determined to continue taking his refuge in God in complete trust that He would continue to provide the provision and protection he needed.
Notice how David once again pictures God as a mother or father bird protecting their young by covering them with their wings.
Selah – a pause, an opportunity for meditation
Psalms 61:5 ¶ For thou, O God, hast heard my vows: thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name.
As with all prayer, David is not telling God anything He does not already know. He is emphasizing that he knows God has heard his vows (to follow Him in faith and obedience seem to be implied). He has blessed David with a heritage of those that honor and revere God’s name.
I, too, feel blessed to have had a heritage on my mom’s side at least of those that honored God with their lives, especially through music. My children are also blessed with a heritage from their father of those that honored God, including a grandfather that was a pastor and head of the seminary at a Christian college.
Psalms 61:6 Thou wilt prolong the king’s life: and his years as many generations.
Psalms 61:7 He shall abide before God for ever: O prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him.
Psalms 61:8 So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows.
Most translations express verses 6-7 as a request, asking God to give David a long life and a future in God’s presence and to protect him in mercy and truth. I think the reading of the KJV as David’s commitment to God with a prayer for God’s mercy and truth to cover him is just as plausible.
David closes the psalm vowing to sing the praise of God forever and fulfill his vows to him every day.
Another Spurgeon gem: “David had given vocal utterance to his prayer by a cry; he will now give expression to his praise by a song: there should be a parallel between our supplications and our thanksgivings. We ought not to leap in prayer, and limp in praise.”