Advent Day 3: Psalm 61:0-8

How do you feel when you have to wait in a long line?

I’m sad to admit it, but a little traffic or a busy checkout line quickly reveals my impatience.

Waiting is difficult.

It is even harder when the stakes are high. When we feel oppressed and overwhelmed.

When we are waiting to be rescued, God hears our cry.

Our third Advent reading is Psalm 61:0-8:

For the choir director: on stringed instruments. Of David.

God, hear my cry;
pay attention to my prayer.

I call to you from the ends of the earth
when my heart is without strength.
Lead me to a rock that is high above me,
for you have been a refuge for me,
a strong tower in the face of the enemy.
I will dwell in your tent forever
and take refuge under the shelter of your wings. Selah

God, you have heard my vows;
you have given a heritage
to those who fear your name.
Add days to the king’s life;
may his years span many generations.
May he sit enthroned before God forever.
Appoint faithful love and truth to guard him.
Then I will continually sing of your name,
fulfilling my vows day by day.

Have you ever felt like the Psalmist? Completely out of strength. Weary. Wondering if God is even listening.

Well, this kind of prayer is in the Bible.

God did hear the psalmist’s prayer. He loved it. We have it today as a prayer that we can pray.

Even in the midst of desperation, there remained a fear of God’s name (verse 5). What is this fear?

In his commentary on this psalm, Tremper Longman says,

To fear God’s name is to recognize that God is the centre of the universe, having great power and thus worthy of reference.

To pray is to intuitively understand that God can handle our problems.

In his need, this psalmist asked for God to bless the life and power of the Israelite king.

And in light of Jesus, we can now see a greater meaning to this hope. Longman writes,

But more to the point of the psalm’s request that the king be enthroned in God’s presence for ever is the truth that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah), the ultimate fulfilment of the Davidic covenant that David would have a descendant on the throne forever (2 Sam. 7:11–16).

As we prepare our hearts for Christmas, we can give thanks that God answered the psalmist’s prayer in the most remarkable way.

The psalmist just wanted a human king to reign with faithful love and truth. At Christmas, God provided himself.

As John 1:14 reads,

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Personal Reflection and Community Discussion Questions:

  1. What are you afraid to tell God? How does Psalm 61 encourage you to share your heartache with him?

  2. Right now, Jesus is reigning and ruling all creation. But, we are still waiting to see his rule recognized and honored by all. How does Advent deepen your hope that one day Jesus, with faithful love and truth, will rule everything?

You are encouraged to share other reflections on these passages.

The introductory post for our Advent 2021 series is here: