If we are to divide the psalm into three stanzas, marked by the selahs at the end of verses 4 and 8, then the last stanza (vv. 9-12) echoes the first in that each is about both God and man. The first is about God and David's enemies, in that order. The third is about mankind in general and God. So the matter is the same but the order is reversed.

David knew that he was fixed on the rock, and that he would never be shaken. Yes, but still he had to keep trusting, and he knew how variable and weak the faith of a man in God can be. This is what we find emphasized in the second of the psalm's stanzas. David had trusted God. But now he also: 1) encourages himself to continue to trust God (vv. 5-7), and 2) urges the people to trust God too (v. 8).

The first stanza (vv. 1-4) introduces us to the three interacting agents in the psalm: God, the psalmist and the psalmist's enemies. His enemies are trying to throw him down, as I indicated, but David is trusting God who is his "rock," his "salvation" and his "fortress" (v. 2). The critical point is that David is trusting in God only or in God alone.

Do you ever feel like an endangered species? If we are to believe what we read in the papers, there are a lot of endangered species these days, and there are many powerful organizations that have been brought into existence to try to save them. There are endangered whales, endangered seals, endangered plants and animals, even the endangered snail darter that held up a major hydroelectric project in the south for many years. When we are discouraged, depressed or threatened we sometimes feel that we too are one of these endangered species and that we are soon going to be destroyed, wiped out or forgotten.

As we look back over Psalm 61 we are reminded that David began it feeling that he was at "the ends of the earth," that is, far from God. But as he thought about God and prayed to him he drew closer to God and grew in confidence until he ends actually expecting to be established in Jerusalem, his capital, for many days and many generations. That is something to praise God for. And that, quite naturally, is how the psalm ends: “Then will I ever sing praise to your name and fulfill my vows day after day.”