Monday, March 12, 2018

Psalm 61: The Prayer of Kings and Housewives

Our six year old daughter, Kynthia Joy, is in the nightmare stage. It's so strange how some of my children have never once woke me, afraid of what's lurking in their darkened bedrooms, while others struggle with nighttime fear for years. I know better than to let a wiggly six year old into bed with me---once she finally gets settled, all hope of sleep for both of us is gone. After she'd wiggled for a good hour or so this morning, I sent her back to bed, telling her I'd turn on the living room lamp and sit in there reading so she didn't have to be afraid.

Exhausted as I was, quiet time is hard to find around here so I decided to read my Bible for a bit. I'm currently following what I call the "Blue's Clues" method of study. ("Present time, present time, open it up and see what's inside.") I read some of 2 Chronicles, and then flipped over to Psalm 61. Faithful God didn't disappoint.

Psalm 61
To the Chief Musician. On a stringed instrument. A Psalm of David.

"Hear my cry, O God, 
Attend to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I will cry to You.
When my heart is overwhelmed; 
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

For You have been a shelter for me, 
A strong tower from the enemy.
I will abide in Your tabernacle forever;
I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.

 For You, O God, have heard my vows;
You have given me the heritage of those 
who fear Your name.
You will prolong the king's life,
His years as many generations.
He shall abide before God forever.
Oh, prepare mercy and truth, which may 
preserve him!

So I will sing praise to Your name forever, 
That I may daily perform my vows."

Only God can take the prayer of an ancient Middle Eastern king and make it the prayer of a 21st century housewife. Matthew Henry* says, "the Psalm itself is very personal, and well adapted for the private devotion of a single individual." Yes. 

I've read this Psalm over and over this morning. The first part that struck me was the "vows":

"For You, O God, have heard my vows;"
"So I will sing praise to Your name forever, 
That I may daily perform my vows."

Henry says the vows he's speaking of are the vows he's made to God---to worship him, to sing praises. Reading it the first couple times, I thought of the other vows King David had made---to his family, his country, his people. I thought of the vows I've made: to my husband, my family, my friends. The commitments I've made to ministry. All of these are also vows to God. For a Christian, a vow made to man is also an implicit vow to God.

Oh, don't I need God's strength to daily perform my vows? It's in praising him that I find that strength. In worshipful obedience, I am empowered to fulfill all my commitments to him---and with joy, to boot!

The second part of the passage that blessed me was this:

"You have given me the heritage of those 
who fear Your name."

I don't have a super strong Godly heritage on all sides of my family tree---not in recent history, anyway. Yet, through Christ's sacrifice, He has made it possible for me to have the same inheritance of eternal life as all the other saints throughout history---the same inheritance given to Christ, himself! Henry says:

"Saints are described as fearing the name of God; they are reverent worshippers, they stand in awe of the Lord's authority; they are afraid of offending him, they feel their own nothingness in the sight of the Infinite One. To share with such men, to be treated by God with the same favour as he mete's out to them, is a matter for endless thanksgiving."

Amen. What a privilege it is to worship, serve, and obey the Lord.

*Matthew Henry was a 17th century minister who wrote an exhaustive commentary on most of the Bible. His notes and commentary are valuable to the Christian who would want to further understand the Bible, verse by verse. You can find his commentary online --- Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible

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