Psalms 61:2 MEANING

Psalm 61:2
(2) From the end. of the earth . . .--A hyperbolic expression for a great distance. Isaiah (Isaiah 5:26) uses the expression of Assyria, and it would be natural in an exile's mouth, but must not be pressed to maintain any theory of the psalm's date.

When my heart is overwhelmed.--Literally, in the covering of my heart, the verb being used (Psalm 65:13) of the valleys covered with corn, and metaphorically, as here, of "the garment of heaviness," which wraps a sad heart (Psalms 102 title; Isaiah 57:16). (Comp. Tennyson's "muffled round with woe.")

Lead me to the rock . . .--Literally, upon the rock lead me, which is probably a constructio praegnans for lead me to the rock too high for me to climb by myself, and place me there. The elevated rock is a symbol of security, which cannot be obtained without the Divine help. Others take the expression as figurative for a difficulty which it needs God's help to surmount.

Verse 2. - From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee. Eastern hyperbole may call the Trans-Jordanic territory "the end of the earth," but certainly the expression would be more natural in the mouth of an exile in Assyria, Media, or Babylon. When my heart is overwhelmed; or, "when my heart fainteth" (comp. Psalm 107:5). Lead me to the rock that is higher than I; rather, that is too high for me - that I cannot reach unaided. Some regard the "rock" as Mount Zion; but others, more reasonably, explain it as "God himself" (see Psalm 62:2, 6, 7). "Let thy grace lead me to thee" (Kay).

61:1-4 David begins with prayers and tears, but ends with praise. Thus the soul, being lifted up to God, returns to the enjoyment of itself. Wherever we are, we have liberty to draw near to God, and may find a way open to the throne of grace. And that which separates us from other comforts, should drive us nearer to God, the fountain of all comfort. Though the heart is overwhelmed, yet it may be lifted up to God in prayer. Nay, I will cry unto thee, for by that means it will be supported and relieved. Weeping must quicken praying, and not deaden it. God's power and promise are a rock that is higher than we are. This rock is Christ. On the Divine mercy, as on a rock, David desired to rest his soul; but he was like a ship-wrecked sailor, exposed to the billows at the bottom of a rock too high for him to climb without help. David found that he could not be fixed on the Rock of salvation, unless the Lord placed him upon it. As there is safety in Him, and none in ourselves, let us pray to be led to and fixed upon Christ our Rock. The service of God shall be his constant work and business: all must make it so who expect to find God their shelter and strong tower. The grace of God shall be his constant comfort.From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee,.... Where he now was, as is observed on the title; see Gill on Psalm 61:1, though he was distant from his own house, and from the house of God, he did not restrain prayer before him, but continued to cry unto him, and determined to do so; and as the people of God are sometimes forced to flee to distant parts, they have a God still to go to, who is a God afar off, as well as at hand. It may be the psalmist may represent the church in Gospel times, throughout the whole world, even at the further parts of it, in the isles afar off, where men may and do lift up holy hands to God without wrath and doubting:

when my heart is overwhelmed; or "covered" (x); with grief and sorrow for any trouble, outward or inward, and ready to sink, and fail and die. Sometimes the saints are overwhelmed with a sense of sin, are pressed down with the weight and burden of its guilt; their faces are covered with shame and confusion; and their hearts are swallowed up and overwhelmed with overmuch sorrow, both at the number of their sins, and at the aggravated circumstances of them; and especially when they are without a view of pardoning grace and mercy, Psalm 38:4, Lamentations 3:42; and sometimes they are overwhelmed with afflictive providences; the Lord causes all his waves and billows to go over them, and they are just ready to sink; and did he not stay his hand, and stop contending with them, the spirit would fail before him, and the souls that he has made, Psalm 42:6; and sometimes with divine desertions, which cause a "deliquium" of soul, and throw them into fainting fits, Sol 5:6; and sometimes through unbelieving frames; and did not the Lord appear to them, and strengthen their faith, and remove their unbelief, they would sink and die away, Psalm 77:2. And at all such times it is right to cry unto the Lord, and make the following request to him:

lead me to the rock that is higher than I; not the land of Israel, as Kimchi thinks, the psalmist being now in the low lands of the Philistines; nor Jerusalem, and the fort and hill of Zion; he being now at the extreme and lower parts of the land: this sense is too low. Some think that some great difficulty is meant; which seemed insuperable, and like a rock inaccessible, which he could not get up to, and upon, and get over; and therefore desires the Lord would lead him up it, and over it, before whom every rock, mountain, and hill, becomes a plain, Zechariah 4:7; but rather Christ is meant, the Rock of Israel, the Rock of our salvation, and our refuge. He is higher than David, and all the kings of the earth; higher than the angels in heaven, and than the heavens themselves, Hebrews 7:26; and who by his height is able to protect and defend his people from all their enemies; and by the shade he casts to refresh and comfort them; and by the sufficiency in him to supply all their wants; for he is as a rock impregnable, and well stored, Isaiah 33:16. And here gracious souls desire to be led by the Spirit of God always, and especially when in distressing circumstances; and he does lead them to his blood for pardon and cleansing, and to his righteousness for justification and acceptance with God, and to his fulness for fresh supplies.

(x) "quum tegitur", Michaelis.

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