Theme: Praising God Continually
In this week’s lessons we are reminded that God is a rock to which we can turn, a rock higher and wiser and stronger than we are ourselves.
Scripture: Psalm 61:1-8
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.”
Shouldn’t that be true for you as well? It is not only David who had such a great God, or those who lived with him in this Old Testament period. His God is our God, and it is our privilege to know him even more intimately than David did, for we know him in the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the rock that is higher than we are, infinitely higher. He is “very God of very God,” as the fourth century Nicene Creed says. He is the Rock of Ages. But he is also the rock that has been a cleft for us, crucified, that we might be saved from sin. As one of our great hymns expresses it: “Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee.”
Jesus is our refuge, but not only a refuge from human enemies and foes. He is a refuge from the wrath of God to be poured out at the final judgment. He is our tower that we can run into and be safe. He is our tabernacle. The Apostle John used this very word when he wrote, “The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us” (John 1:14). In the Greek the words “lived for a while” are literally “tabernacled.” He is also the one who said of the city of Jerusalem, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing” (Matt. 23:37). But he has gathered us to himself.
Sometimes we need to feel we are at “the ends of the earth” before we can discover how wonderful Jesus is. That is what the great Augustine was thinking of when he wrote, “They that are godly are oppressed and vexed in the church or congregation for this purpose: that when they are pressed, they should cry; and when they cry, that they should be heard; and when they are heard, that they should laud and praise God.” We will be happy Christians if we learn to do just that.1
1C.H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, vol. 2a, Psalms 58-87 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1968), p. 46.
What significant difference is there between the beginning and ending of this psalm?
How can we know God more intimately than David did?
In what two ways is Jesus our refuge?
Application: How has Jesus shown himself to be a cleft in the rock for you?
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