David wrote the 61st Psalm at the inspiration of God – even though he felt like he was at the end of the earth – and God was thousands of miles away. Actually, David was not more than 50 miles from Jerusalem. The problem was that he felt like he was at the ends of the earth from God Himself. He was running from his son Absalom, who wanted to kill him and be king in his place. So the “ends of the earth” statement is more a spiritual description – or maybe an emotional one. Regardless of this David felt a world amount of distance from God. Who did David turn to at this point? He turned to God.
One of the first things we need to remember when we “feel” a million miles from God is that this is how we “feel” – it is not a hard, cold fact. So the best thing to do is to tell God in prayer how we feel. That is what David did. He cried out to God and called to him – even though he felt like he was calling from the ends of the earth. If we allow emotional reasoning to keep us from God, we are going to wind up feeling even more hopeless. But, on the other hand, if we don’t own up to how we feel, I seriously doubt we will get much of anywhere with God.
Let’s be honest. God is omniscient. It is not like He is clueless as to our thinking. So what we need to start with is to cry out to Him, letting Him know honestly where we are at the moment. That is what David did.
“Hear my cry, O God; Give heed to my prayer. From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint . . . “
He said he felt like this when his heart was “faint.” The Hebrew word here refers to something that is covered over and around and under. David’s heart was so covered with his situation that he could not see. But even if he was at the end of the earth – he was going to call on God.
His next statement is the source of many Christian songs. “Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” What a beautiful prayer. He knew at the “ends of the earth” he was not going to get to God on his own. So he cries out for God to lead him. God is the rock that is higher. God was stability and strength. He was higher and infinitely more stable than David. So David asked for God to bring him to where the Rock was located.
In the next several verses of Psalm 61 David begins remembering Who God is. This is not the first time he’s been in a difficult situation – and God has come through every time. He remembers that God is his refuge – his tower of strength – his shelter. So David asks for God to bring him to His “tent.” This is a reference to the tabernacle – the place in Jerusalem where God dwelt between the Cherubim on top of the Ark. God was not limited to there – but in the history of Israel – God was more than able to take care of Himself and His stuff from there. When men rebelled against God and Moses – God wiped the entire group out as fire went out from His presence and killed every one of them. When a couple of drunken priests wanted to defile the worship place of God with their drunken stupor – God struck both of them dead with fire that consumed them. The lesson learned for all time – do not mess with God in the tent! David asked to be brought there – forever! This was also the place where God’s presence dwelt – and so what David was truly asking for was to be in God’s presence forever – for he knew that was the safest place on earth – or honestly – anywhere!
As David prayed . . . as David meditated on Who God is . . . his heart was no longer smothered over by his circumstances. He was no longer a slave to his feelings and emotional reasoning. This was replaced by Biblical reasoning. David stops and writes, “selah” which means basically – stop and consider what I’ve said. From this point – the entire psalm changes in perspective and in attitude. David speaks for the rest of the psalm about how God has heard him and what God is going to do.
God has heard me! God has given me the inheritance of those who fear Him! These are David’s first cries of joy! What a delight to know God has heard us – especially when we formerly thought God was a million miles away. And – since we have feared God and turned to Him in the midst of wanting to give up – God is going to bless us with a wealth of blessing. At this point David begins to speak boldly of what God IS going to do! David says, “I’m going to live!” But then David begins speaking in ways that are beyond what a mere man could receive.
David is speaking by the Holy Spirit’s inspiration – and at this point the Holy Spirit begins speaking of the Messiah. He will live forever. He will remain before God forever. Grace and truth will be preserved through Him. These are all blessings that will come through Jesus Christ. John said in his gospel that grace and truth would be realized through Jesus!
David closes the psalm by saying he wants to praise God forever – and to live before God in obedience day by day. That is where God brings us when we turn to Him. He brings us to Himself – and to His grace. He brings us to promises that have been made in the Word of God. He brings us to His ultimate promise which is the Messiah – Jesus Himself. What a blessing.
Some may wonder why God would allow us to be in such a place. But I have a bigger statement to make. God leads us to such a place! He has purposed for us to come to the point where we feel a million miles away. His purpose in it is not to damage our faith or our spiritual walk – but to enhance it. Read these words God led Paul to write about God’s work in him and his associates.
”For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us, you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many.” 2 Corinthians 1:7-11
What is God’s purpose in allowing us to get to where David was? It is so that we will despair in our own living where we trust in ourselves and instead trust in God who raises the dead. It is so we will look to God to be the One who delivered us – who will deliver us – and who yet will deliver us! His other purpose is to not only engage in prayer the one who is dealing with the problem – but so that many persons will be engaged in prayer as well. Then as we watch God do what only God can do – we will praise God Who alone should be the One to be praised.
Feeling a million miles from God? Yeah – God has you right where He wants you. Its where He had David – and look what He did in him?