Life-Study of Psalms, by Witness Lee

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Psalm 61 is about the psalmist’s enjoyment of God in His house.

A. Enjoying God as His Refuge
by Dwelling in the Tent of God

In verses 1 through 5 we see that the psalmist enjoyed God as his refuge by dwelling in the tent of God under the covering of His wings. Verses 3 and 4 say, "You are a refuge to me,/A strong tower before the enemy./Let me sojourn in Your tent forever;/Let me take refuge in the covering of Your wings." This indicates that the psalmist enjoyed God in His house to such an extent that he wanted to dwell in God’s tent forever. This shows us that the psalmist was close to God.

Verse 5 continues, "For You, O God, have heard my vows; /You have given me the inheritance of those who fear Your name." Here the psalmist’s thought is that since he was one who feared Jehovah, he had a share of God’s inheritance. He feared God’s name, and God gave him a portion of the inheritance.

B. Asking God to Add Days to His Days

In verses 6 through 8 the psalmist asks God to add days to his days. "You will add days to the days of the king;/May his years be like generation after generation./May he dwell forever before God;/Appoint lovingkindness and faithfulness, that they may preserve him" (vv. 6-7). It is not easy to translate the Hebrew word for "appoint" in verse 7. The American Standard Version says "prepare," and Darby says "bestow." The psalmist is asking God not simply to give but to appoint lovingkindness and faithfulness that they may preserve him.

"So will I sing psalms to Your name forever,/As I repay my vows day by day" (v. 8). The psalmist’s word here seems good, but it actually involves a kind of commercial transaction between him and God. God appoints lovingkindness and faithfulness, and then the psalmist repays God by singing psalms to His name. This means that the singing of psalms to God’s name is the psalmist’s "payment" for the "purchase" of God’s lovingkindness and faithfulness. Here the psalmist is acting somewhat like a businessman.

In principle, we may do the same thing today. For example, we may pray, "Lord, we praise You, for You love us so much." This praise is a kind of commercial transaction. What would we do if, to our impression, God did not love us so much? Real love is a matter not of receiving but only of giving. If we love with the expectation of receiving something in return, that is not genuine love—it is trade, business, commerce. Peter had such a commercial concept in Matthew 19. After the Lord Jesus had spoken about the way for a rich man to enter into the kingdom, Peter said to Him, "Behold, we have left all and followed You. What then will there be for us?" (v. 27). Peter, like the psalmist, was thinking in commercial terms. If he had said, "Lord, no matter what happens, I will still love You," that would have been real love.

(Life-Study of Psalms, Chapter 25, by Witness Lee)