Coronavirus has brought a crisis to America, to the world, to our lives. It’s brought disruption, destruction of routines and income. For some it’s even brought death. The murder of George Floyd has brought tragedy of a whole different sort. What perspective can God’s Word give us for making sense of, and making it through, these evil days? Throughout June, we’ll find help through a four-part series from Psalms. Psalms explore the full range of human experience in very personal and practical terms. Psalms explore the inner life and struggle, searching for sense, connecting personal experience with God’s cosmic plan. The book of Psalms, Israel’s song book, will help us “tune our hearts” as well. Today, Psalm 61 shows us how an individual can respond when confronted by difficulties. Psalm 61 tells us of David’s experience. He’d been a shepherd boy, and became a king. He was a skilled musician, a writer of psalms, a warrior and a giant-slayer. But twice he also became a fugitive. Psalm 61 reflects his heart during one of these vulnerable times.
This is our experience too! David was driven to the “end of the earth” (v. 2a)—we’d call it “social distancing”. He was removed from family, friends, resources—at a time of personal weakness (v. 2b). So he prayed (v. 1). I’ll bet we’ve all prayed more in the past month than we typically have! The world says, “Look within for strength; if you can dream it, you can do it”, but like David, we need more than mere human, personal, resources (v. 2b). Thankfully, God is our “rock”, our “refuge”, our “tower of strength” (v. 2b-3). This speaks to strength, stability, and safety. During COVID, we’ve all sought strength, stability and safety, too. Did we seek it in the advice of experts, like Dr. Fauci? In incessant hand-washing and social-distancing? The experts gave their best advice, but they’re only human. When the dangers are real, only a God-sized boulder of stability will do! And when our rock happens to be God, it adds a moral, relational dimension to the situation (Deuteronomy 32:4; Isaiah 44:8).
God not only is our rock, he is our “home” (v. 4). This speaks of warmth, hospitality, relationship—with a lovely promise (Psalm 27:4; 23:6). The Hebrew verb “to dwell” means to sojourn as the weaker, dependent being. God is strong; we are weak. COVID has driven this truth home to us like nothing else! Hospitality requires people—but COVID has cut us off from each other. We’ve each been in our own “tents”—our own houses—looking out at a bunch of other isolated tents. We’ve longed to amble on over and grab coffee with a trusted friend, to extend and to receive the warmth of hospitality. But God has thrown open the flaps to his tent. Have you been going in regularly? He invites us to fellowship with him—have you been answering his invitation, or have you stayed in the wilderness? God gets even more relational: he not only is our “home”, he’s our “hen” (v. 4b)! “Wings”—the image is of a hen, protecting her chicks—are the ultimate in warmth, care, and proximity (Psalm 57:1; 91:4). The Hebrew word “take refuge” emphasizes us going to him. During COVID, what’s been our refuge? Binge-watching Nexflix? Eating a whole bag of chips? Staying in pajamas long after we should have been up and productive? None of these deliver the comfort they promised, but God’s care is perfect: the unbreakable strength of a granite boulder, coupled with hospitality and a welcome into his tent, capped off with the relational warmth of a mother hen!
Verses 5 & 8 talk about “vows”. Vows point to committed relationships (we make marriage vows). God fulfills his vow to receive all who repent and believe in him—have we followed-through on our vows of relationship? God promises to be a stable boulder—do we cling to him? God invites us into his tent— how often do we go in? God offers “mother hen warmth” to us—do we draw near? Psalm 61 reveals a man with an on-going relationship with his God: David sought God in the immediacy of his need (v. 1-2). He went to God in the moment because they had a long past history together (v. 3 & 5). David vowed—and followed through on—future relationship with God (v. 4 & 8).
God is “the rock that is higher than us”. He’s big, solid, stable, powerful; he’s a refuge. But more than that, God is warm and inviting—he invites us into his tent, he invites us under his wings. David experienced stability, hospitality, and relational warmth with God during dark days. We can too—if we will.
APPLICATION / CHALLENGE
• Jesus “opened the flaps” into God’s tent—come to God through Christ. If you would like to trust Christ as Savior, contact us here (connect.tcc.org). After providing your contact information, scroll down to the Ministry Information Request section and mark the first or second checkbox. You can also email us at: BiblicalHopeAndHelp@gmail.com. We look forward to helping!
• Develop the habit of accepting God’s hospitality (and praising him for it).
• God is our rock and our refuge—cry out to him when you’re in trouble.
TAKE THE SURVEY
As TCC leadership and staff continue preparations and planning for gathering in person again, we want to understand how you’re doing and how you’re thinking about this possibility. Complete the survey here!
TAKE ONE STEP
Each week, write down one doable concrete step of obedience, small or large, that you will put into practice this week. (James 1:22: “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”)