This Sunday @ RVPC

Communion Sunday, October 7th, 2018

Sunday Morning Worship (9:30 AM)

Sermon Text (Psalm 61)

To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. Of David.

[1] Hear my cry, O God,
listen to my prayer;
[2] from the end of the earth I call to you
when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
that is higher than I,
[3] for you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the enemy.
[4] Let me dwell in your tent forever!
Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! Selah
[5] For you, O God, have heard my vows;
you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.
[6] Prolong the life of the king;
may his years endure to all generations!
[7] May he be enthroned forever before God;
appoint steadfast love and faithfulness to watch over him!
[8] So will I ever sing praises to your name,
as I perform my vows day after day. (ESV)

This Communion Sunday we are looking at Psalm 61. This brief Psalm of David is a Psalm for the faint of heart. David actually describes himself this way in the Psalm, asking God to hear his cry and listen to his prayer (v.1) when his heart was “faint” (v.2).

Have you ever felt that way? Probably so. Well David did too, so you are in good company! (How many Psalms are thankfully just like that!)

Many commentators believe that this Psalm was written by David during a time of persecution, even a time of exile of some kind, where David was forced to leave Jerusalem, and so was cut off from the public worship of the Lord with God’s people.

He cries out to God to listen to his prayer “from the end of the earth” when he called to Him (v.2). We don’t know how far David was from Jerusalem, but there can be no doubt that he felt very far from God.

And so what did David do? He prayed! Now that might seem like the most natural thing in the world to do, but how often do you and I fail to do just that? How often do our circumstances weigh us down and sap our strength, and yet we hesitate to pray?

If anything, this led David to pray all the more earnestly! Our troubles and afflictions often (at least eventually) lead us back to prayer. And if our troubles and afflictions get us once again on our knees crying out to God in prayer, then in the end they will have actually done us much good!

For how often are we lax in our prayer lives when things are going well, and when there is smooth sailing in our lives? It is then that we are tempted to think that we don’t need God as much, or don’t need to pray to Him quite as much. But we need Him always, don’t we? Everything that we have comes from God, and “every good and perfect gift” (James 1:17) comes to us from God alone.

And so David cries out to God, “Lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (v.2). David could not even begin to find the rock of salvation and safety in his God unless God led him to it. Do we pray that same way? Do we recognize our weakness and helplessness on our own? We should. And trials certainly help us in that regard!

Here in the Psalm David also reminds himself of God’s past mercies upon him, that God had  been his “refuge” and ” a strong tower against the enemy” (v.3). And so he prays that God would let him dwell in His tent (or tabernacle – the place of worship and a picture of heaven!) forever and “take refuge” under the shelter of His wings (v.4).

He then does something that may seem strange to us at first. He switches to speaking in the third person, saying,

“Prolong the life of the king;
may his years endure to all generations!
May he be enthroned forever before God;
appoint steadfast love and faithfulness to watch over him!” (v.6-7)

Is he speaking of himself here? Possibly. But it is much more likely that he spoke in the third person because he was speaking of the Messiah, the Son of David – even the Lord Jesus Christ who was to come.

For he is not just saying the equivalent of “Long live the king!” No, here he speaks of the king not only whose days would be added or multiplied by God, but also whose years would be added “to all generations” (v.6). This could also be rendered as “from age to age.”

Not only that, but he prays that this King would sit “enthroned forever before God” (v.7). And that is precisely what The Lord had promised to David back in 2 Samuel 7:12-16, where He made a covenant with him and told him that He would raise up his “offspring” (or seed) after him and establish his kingdom (v.12), and that He would “establish the throne of his kingdom forever” (v.13).

And David here also asks God to “appoint steadfast love and faithfulness to watch over him!” (v.7). The steadfast love of God – that is the very thing that the LORD told David He would not take away from the Son of David.  In 2 Samuel 7:15 He says, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you” (ESV).

When David asked God to lead him to the rock that was higher than himself (v.2), God did exactly that, didn’t He? For even here in the Psalm itself David’s thoughts turned to the Lord Jesus Christ who was to come! The Lord Jesus Christ was the Solid Rock on which David stood!

And this led David to pay or fulfill his vows to God. And how would he do that? By singing praise to God’s name forever (v.8)! David’s heart was faint (v.2), but when his thoughts turned to the Rock of his salvation, the Lord Jesus Christ, his heart was now full!

We hope that you will join us for worship this Sunday, as we hear the Word of Christ preached to us from this great passage of Scripture!

***No Sunday Night Bible Study this Week***