You have given me the inheritance
Psalm 61 New 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.
Many of the images spoken by the psalmist are difficult for us today to understand or relate to. Do we really understand the significance of a refuge or a tower of Strength? While most of the time I prefer the traditional translations, today’s text
may be easier for many to relate to in the Passion Translation, which says: O God, hear my prayer. Listen to my heart’s cry.
For no matter where I am, even when I’m far from home, I will cry out to you for a father’s help. When I’m feeble and overwhelmed by life, guide me into your glory, where I am safe and sheltered. Lord, you are a paradise of protection to me. You lift me high above the fray. None of my foes can touch me when I’m held firmly in your wrap-around presence! Keep me in this glory. Let me live continually under your splendor-shadow, hiding my life in you forever. Pause in his presence You have heard my sweet resolutions to love and serve you, for I am your beloved. And you have given me an inheritance of rich treasures, which you give to all your lovers. You treat me like a king, giving me a full and abundant life, years and years of reigning, like many generations rolled into one. I will live enthroned with you forever!
Guard me, God, with your unending, unfailing love. Let me live my days walking in grace and truth before you. And my praises will fill the heavens forever, fulfilling my vow to make every day a love gift to you! While it may be more easily understood and perhaps more easily applied to our own lives, I still feel like the modern translation looses some of the power of the imagery and so some of the intensity of the psalmist’s expression. In the same way that we should not try to make the things of heaven align with earth, but rather it is to be on earth as it is in heaven; I think we can understand the psalmist’s heart and passion better if we try to understand his words than if we change them to ours.
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. Perhaps a soldier could better understand the need and the desire for protection from an enemy who is trying to kill him than most of us. David knew the desperation of battle and the desperation of being the underdog in battle. When he fought and defeated Goliath, he credited God with the victory. We may not be fighting actual enemies who seek to take our lives. Still, 1 Peter 5:8 says: Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. In John 10:10 Jesus says: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. We should consider our spiritual enemy to be as dangerous as the physical enemies of David. The psalmist says: Let me dwell in Your tent forever; Let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings. Along with the strength and the inaccessability of the high place; the tower, the refuge that God provides, there is also an intimacy to Him and with Him. Dwelling together in a tent there is an intimacy that we may not want to share with many people, yet it is an intimacy that we can have with God. In Luke 13:34 Jesus says: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it! That’s the intimacy that the psalmist knows. We have an intimacy with God, through Christ, which not only protects us from our enemies, but also shelters us from the storms and the circumstances of life.
The psalmist says: 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. So I will sing praise to Your name forever, That I may pay my vows day by day. When David spoke of the king, he spoke of Himself. We too should see ourselves as having that same inheritance. Romans 8:14-17 says: All who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ. We too are intended to reign and rule with Christ. In Genesis 1:26 God said: “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” In John 14:23 Jesus says: “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.” In Christ we have the intamacy of being one with the Father and we are restored to what God intended for us; that we would rule and reign with Him. Just as David spoke of his years being as many generations, so too should we have the confidence and the desire to pass our inheritance in Christ to our many generations. David was not the Savior, but it was through his line that Christ came. We cannot be the Savior for other people, but through our abiding in Christ, they may see and know Him.
Hear my cry, O God; Give heed to my prayer.
May Il abide before God forever; Appoint lovingkindness and truth that they may preserve me.
and I will sing praise to Your name forever. Amen.