A Word for Today | Psalm 61:3-4
Sometimes when Christians pray, we have to wait to know God’s answer. But in Psalm 61, David prayed and experienced immediate help. We know this because no sooner did he ask to be lifted up to the rock of spiritual safety than he began remembering the ways God had already provided this blessing. In Psalm 63:3-4, David highlights four images by which he knows that God has helped him.
David prays with thanks in Psalm 63:3: “For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.” His first statement speaks of God’s protective care in general: “my refuge.” David knows what it is like to be on the brink of disaster when God answered prayer with help. He therefore adds a second image: “a strong tower against the enemy.” Whereas one my hide in a refuge, a tower enables one to look down in security on his foes. Proverbs 18:10 declares: “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.”
David’s third image of safekeeping is given in verse 4: “Let me dwell in your tent forever.” His thought has now advanced beyond security to the enjoyment of communion with God. J. A. Alexander comments: “To dwell in God’s tent or house is to be a member of his family, to enjoy his bounty and protection, and to live in intimate communion with him.” God’s dwelling on earth was the tabernacle where the ark of the covenant was kept. But John 1:14 reminds us that our true “tent” of dwelling with God is Jesus Christ: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” David Dickson comments: The ground of all spiritual consolations is in the mercy and grace of God offered to us in Christ, represented by the wings of the cherubim stretched out over the mercy-seat; there faith find[s] a rest and solid ground able to furnish comfort abundantly.”
David’s fourth and final image of safekeeping is that of a mother bird covering her vulnerable chicks with her wings: “Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wing!” (Ps. 61:4). Here we have not only safety and communion but also comfort. Drawn close to the mother’s warmth and permitted only to see the shelter of her feathered wings, the baby birds could no longer see the danger outside and their fears were put to rest. Likewise, as we draw near to God and direct our thoughts to him, the terrors of worldly dangers recede and our hearts are brought to peace.
May these four images of safekeeping from Psalm 61 comfort you during our present trial, through which we will learn the lessons of grace that David learned before us, with the same result that he experienced: “So will I ever sing praises to your name, as I perform my vows day after day” (Ps. 61:8).
In Christ’s Love,
 J. A. Alexander, The Psalms Translated and Explained (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1873, reprint, 1977), 267.
 David Dickson, A Commentary on the Psalms (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1653, reprint 1959), 363.