Lead me to the rock that is higher than I
Psalm 61 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Confidence in God’s Protection. A Psalm of David.
Hear my cry, O God;
Give heed 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 a refuge for me,
A tower of strength against the enemy.
4 Let me dwell in Your tent forever;
Let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings. Selah.
5 For You have heard my vows, O God;
You have given me the inheritance of those who fear Your name.
6 You will prolong the king’s life;
His years will be as many generations.
7 He will abide before God forever;
Appoint lovingkindness and truth that they may preserve him.
8 So I will sing praise to Your name forever,
That I may pay my vows day by day.
I’m sure we have all heard and perhaps even spoken the expression regarding someone who is struggling in sin, particularly in addiction; that they have to hit bottom before they can come up. I believe that idea, that philosophy is one of the greatest and most dangerous lies of the devil. The truth is there is no end, no bottom to the depths that one can fall in sin, in this world. Romans 6:23 says: The wages of sin is death… There is no bottom, no end in this life to the depths of sin. It ends in death, in an eternity without God. Romans 6:23 ends saying: but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Jesus Christ is the only escape from the death spiral of sin. Jesus is not found at the bottom, but rather He is found when we look up. Jesus says: “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." (John 12:32) In Luke 21:28, Jesus speaking of the difficult times that will come says: "But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." The bottom in the life of each person is not a place where they can go no lower. It is instead a place where they choose to go no lower. It is a place where they choose to grab hold and look up.
In Matthew 14:22-31 there is an account of Jesus walking on water. It says: Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him . The bottom for Peter would have been at the bottom of the sea. He cried out to Jesus, looking into His eyes and immediately Jesus saved him. In today’s text the psalmist says: 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; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a refuge for me, A tower of strength against the enemy. Jesus is indeed our rock, but we won’t find Him at the bottom, He is the rock that is higher, we will find Him when we look up. Peter cried out Lord save me and immediately Jesus reached out to him. Likewise, for each person the bottom is reached when they/we too cry out. The psalmist says he cries out from the ends of the earth. It doesn’t matter where we are or how far down we have gone He will hear our cry and give heed to our prayer.
The psalmist says: Let me dwell in Your tent forever; Let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings. For You have heard my vows, O God; You have
given me the inheritance of those who fear Your name. You will prolong the king’s life; His years will be as many generations. He will abide before God forever; Appoint lovingkindness and truth that they may preserve him. David,
the psalmist knew from experience that the protection and security found in God was better than anything the world could offer. In Psalm 91 David assures us that the security he experienced can be ours as well. He says: He
who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
My God, in whom I trust!” For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper
And from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark. You will not be afraid of the terror by night, Or of the arrow that flies by day; Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon. A thousand may fall at your side And ten thousand at your right hand, But it shall not approach you. You will only look on with your eyes And see the recompense of the wicked. For you have made the Lord, my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place. No evil will befall you, Nor will any plague come near your tent. For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands, That you do not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread upon the lion and cobra, The young lion and the serpent you will trample down. In these difficult, fearful and even violent times we live in it is good to know and trust the security of God. Of course some will say that bad things happen to God’s people too. The psalmist’s words answer this too. He says: You have given me the inheritance of those who fear Your name. In Psalm 23:4 he says: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me. The inheritance we have in the Lord is that both in life and in death He is with us. Because we have eternal life through Christ, death is merely a shadow. It has no power over us, no ability to separate us from God, His love and our inheritance in Him. Psalm 91 ends with the promises not spoken by the psalmist, but rather by God Himself: “Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name. “He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. “With a long life I will satisfy him And let him see My salvation.”
The psalmist says: I will sing praise to Your name forever. God’s response to our cry for help is that immediately He will reach out to us. He is our bottom, the end to our difficulties, but He is not found at the bottom, looking at how far we might fall. He is found looking up. He is the rock that is higher than we are. We don’t need to struggle to climb to Him. He pulls us up. May our response to His love, His protection and the inheritance He gives us be as the psalmist.
Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit. I will praise Your name forever! Amen.