is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I."
The Psalmist felt overwhelmed. Yes, the writers of Scripture, were men of flesh and blood emotions. You can also see feelings of alienation (from the ends of the earth,) discouragement (seeking for a strength higher than his own,) bewilderment (he wants someone to lead the way, "take me...,") and insecurity (need for safety, "a strong tower from the enemy.")
Psalms 61:3 "For you have been a shelter for me, and a strong tower
from the enemy."
Being a wise man, and a child of God, though self-admittedly feeling lonely and discouraged, he realizes that God is his Rock and Strong Tower who can ease his discouragement and renew his strength. He goes directly to the source of comfort. He turns to God's abode, to the sheltering wings of God. He turns to the Church. His words are poignant:
Psalms 61:4-5 I will abide in your tabernacle forever: I will trust
in the shelter of your wings. Selah. For you, O God, have heard my vows: you
have given me the heritage of those that fear your name.
The man remembers that he has made some vows (plural) to God. He remembers that vows are a mutually contractual arrangement between two parties. Vows never are issued by one person alone. If you have vows that stand before God, then God is bound to His end of the promise. And, here the Psalmist names that end; a heritage with the people of God. What a reward! What a bargain! I will be faithful to you, the King of Kings, and you will give me a heritage with your people, in your Kingdom. Faithfulness means being full of faith. Do you believe in God? Can God believe in you? If so, you are faithful.
A man with vows, and a heritage, and a kinship is not so much alone or lost, after all. Here in his vows he discovers his sense of kinship, courage, direction, and security. He is reminded of all this in the church...God's dwelling place.
Song of Solomon 1:7-8 Tell me, O you whom my soul loves, where you
feed, where you make your flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that
turns aside by the flocks of your companions? If you know not, O you fairest
among women, go your way forth in the footsteps of the flock, and feed your kids
beside the shepherds' tents.
Here the question is asked, "Where can God be found?" We are reminded to follow the flock to the Shepherd's tent. Looking for God, our Shepherd? Then you will find Him in church. Courage, kinship, security, and direction are not found in visiting church once a month. These emotions are built up in increments from the repeated exposure to the Word.
Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not
believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how
shall they hear without a preacher?
A few thousand years later, we still can not find a sense of security or direction when we neglect the Word. The Word of God is the Bread of Life. It nourishes our souls like food does our bodies. Most babies tire quickly of being spoon fed, and quickly become self-feeders. I would hate to only be able to feed on God's Word a few times a week. That doesn't mean the self-feeding child fails to show up at the table where meals are being served. But, imagine if you couldn't read your Bible between services.
Jeremiah 15:16 Your words were found, and I did eat them; and your word
was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart: for I am called by your name, O
LORD God of hosts.
Yet, sometimes we still find ourselves needing God to do for us what we can't do for ourselves. We need God to lead our feet in the path that they do not know. Have you ever walked unfamiliar paths without a guide? It is not a comforting occupation. But, we will find Jesus' grace abundantly sufficient for all our paths, if we only realize our personal weakness and cry out to Him. Look at the Psalm as a whole and notice the progressive pattern of the "I wills.
Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.
From the end of the earth will I cry unto you,
when my heart is overwhelmed:
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been a shelter for me,
and a strong tower from the enemy.
I will abide in your tabernacle forever:
I will trust in the shelter of your wings. Selah.
For you, O God, have heard my vows:
you have given me the heritage of those that fear your name.
You will prolong the king's life: and his years as many generations.
He shall abide before God forever:
O prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him.
So will I sing praise unto your name forever,
that I may daily perform my vows.
Walking the unfamiliar paths will not happen by accident. Only by purpose and determination can we walk when the way seems unclear, and the work overwhelms our soul. These are commodities; like pride. Determination and purpose are things to be valued in and of themselves. Where some people find themselves impoverished of pride, others are poor in determination and purpose in life. This becomes clear when you see that rich and poor men alike can have either an abundance or a dearth of pride. Nowhere can we find a clearer picture of what it feels like to be overwhelmed, than in a ship tossed at sea. The view of a lighthouse is definitely a comforting strong tower for the ship lost in the storm. Consider the storm at sea...
Psalms 107:23-30 "They that go down to the sea in ships, that do
business on great waters; These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in
the deep. For he commands, and raises the stormy wind, who lifts up the waves
thereof. They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their
soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a
drunken man, and are at their wit's end. Then they cry unto the LORD in their
trouble, and he brings them out of their distresses. He makes the storm a calm,
so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they are quiet;
so he brings them unto their desired haven."
As John Wayne would say, "Where are you heading pilgrim?"