'Praying when Overwhelmed' is the title and theme of this Psalm of David, a song which was played upon stringed instruments or 'Neginoth'. Urgency is evident in the first words: 'Hear my cry' which come from the inner depths of a deeply distressed man. This plea for the listening ear of God underlines the emotional condition of David and calls for immediate help from the LORD.
'Attend unto my prayer' continues the force with which David's appeal is set forth. He needs the attention of his God Who alone can bring him relief from these depths of perplexity. There is no answer unless the LORD gives His attending care to David's needs, and David fully recognizes this fact, therefore, he does not let up in his appeal for help.
In (v.2) he uses descriptive and somewhat extreme language to convey his message: "From the end of the earth will I cry unto Thee, when my heart is overwhelmed". This word picture illustrates the lengths to which he would go in order to reach the LORD while he is in the midst of this desperate condition.
But, his third request shows he has the solution to the problem: "lead me to the Rock that is higher than I" The Rock refers to the Lord Jesus Christ as He is the only One able to minister to even the most extreme heart troubling malady as His personal invitation to all reveals: "Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly of heart and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light". (Matthew 11:28-30).
The three requests David makes in (v.1,2) are based upon this statement in (v.3) "For Thou hast been a Shelter for me, and a Strong Tower from the enemy." His testimony to the past protection he received from God when He was David's place of refuge tells us exactly why he now puts his faith in Him to do it again.
Therefore, he pledges to continue counting on his God in the future: "I will abide in Thy tabernacle for ever, I will trust in the covert of Thy wings. Selah." (v.4) Long before the command of the Lord Jesus Christ was given to His eleven disciples in John 15, David understood the necessity of being connected to the Vine in full and complete intermingling communion which he accomplished by faith while he relied upon God's supernatural protection 'abiding under the shadow of the Almighty'. (Psalm 91:1).
'Selah' emphasizes the necessity to consider what has just been revealed by the Spirit of the Lord in the previous text. Meditation upon these facts will undoubtedly bring the needed message the Lord wants to give as we focus our whole being upon the Word of God.
This compact series of truths found in (v.1-4) are rich in edification for the believer demonstrating to us that even when overwhelmed by the circumstances of life, God has delivered us in the past and will continue to provide His protective care as we faithfully abide in Him.
The second half of this Psalm continues with the testimony of David: "For Thou, O God, hast heard my vows: Thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear Thy name." (v.5) He calls attention to his recent pledges made in (v.4) giving credit to those God-fearing men, father Jesse, grandfather Obed and great-grandfather Boaz, who supplied him with his firm foundation in the faith.
"Thou will prolong the king's life: and his years as many generations. He shall abide before God for ever." (v.6,7a) His confidence in God swells based upon his understanding of the Lord's past working in his family. His promise to 'abide' reveals his heart's desire to be in the presence of his God demonstrating one of the reasons that he was 'a man after God's own heart'.
However, he fully realizes his need for God's help: "O prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him." For without 'David's Dynamic Duo' of mercy and truth from God, there will be no abiding for ever. David uses the combination of mercy and truth (Psalm 25:10, 57:3, 57:10, 85:10, 86:15, 89:14, 100:5, 115:1) throughout the Psalms recognizing that they are indispensable for his spiritual success.
The final verse finds David on the mountaintop: "So will I sing praise unto Thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows." His recognition of the necessity of praise in order for him to 'perform my vows' shows the high regard he held for praising God as a vital act of obedience. This fact alone should drive the believer to praise and worship the Lord as we "offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name." (Hebrews 13:15)
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