The Rock that is Higher than I
“Hear my Cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Ps. 61: 1,2
David is one of the foremost personalities in the Scriptures. God had promised that the Messiah would be a descendant of David, and Jesus was of David’s lineage, both through His mother Mary, and His legal father Joseph, thus fulfilling that promise. But David was many things: he was a shepherd in his youth, a musician – skilled enough to be asked to play before the King, he was a soldier and warrior – remember that he defeated Goliath, he was General who lead the Israelites into battle with many successes, he was the leader of a band of misfits and outcasts, making them a powerful fighting force, he was King of Israel who brought the nation of Israel to greatness, he was a prophet who prophesied about the Messiah, and David was a poet, who wrote most of the psalms from the book of Psalms.
In his psalms, David combined his musical and writing skills with his prophetic abilities. Psalm 22 is the most famous, as it prophesies the suffering of Christ. There are many other of his prophesies; some are quoted in the New Testament by Jesus and the Apostles.
Poets have the ability to paint a picture using words, and also, to combine words skillfully in a unique way to create a form of beauty for the reader. We can only experience a small amount of the original artistic beauty and craftsmanship of David’s psalms since they were written in Hebrew and then translated to English, and also they were originally put to music. I would love to have heard the musical score that accompanied these psalms, even in the Hebrew version, just to experience the communication of emotion and atmosphere that music conveys.
David used the experiences of his life to be the inspiration for the many psalms that he wrote. For example, one of his psalms, Psalm 51 is about his sorrow and remorse following his admission of sin with Bathsheba, when Nathan the prophet had confronted him. Even in the English translation, the words are amazing: “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear joy and gladness, that the bones You have broken may rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.” Ps 51:7-9
I have been reading and meditating on Psalm 61 this past week, another of David’s psalms. I felt that the Holy Spirit wanted me to read this psalm because there was something there for me. As I read through it, nothing jumped out at me at first, but as I prayerfully re-read it, I noticed the verse that says, “…lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” This was part of David’s prayer that had a very interesting wording, but what did it really mean?
As I thought about it, I realized that David must have been in a place where he was in need when he wrote these words. In the first part of the verse he says that his heart is “overwhelmed” (or faint in another translation). I can certainly identify with being in this place. Many of life’s circumstances bring you into a state of being overwhelmed, where you feel that the situation is beyond you, much more than you can possibly handle and beyond your capabilities. When he found himself in this spot, David prayed that God would take him to a place that was higher than he was – a solid place that he could stand secure upon – a rock that was higher than him. David had been a soldier and understood the strategic advantage of being at a high point. I think this was a part of the picture he was painting with this analogy. He knew that being at a low spot was a bad place to be in a battle. You can’t see the enemy, nor do you know the overview of the territory, so you can’t move quickly or plan your attach.
I do a lot a bike riding. This is my form of exercise. I recently moved into a new area that I am not familiar with. As I ride around, I sometimes need to go off the main road to avoid traffic, or sometimes just to do some exploring. I can easily get lost or in a place where I’m not sure where I am or if I’m heading for a dead end or even heading in the right direction. Fortunately, I can use my cell phone to get a GPS location on Google maps to get a “highpoint” view of my location.
So David is using a physical analogy to represent a spiritual truth. Sometimes he needs God to take him to a place in the spirit where he sees things from a higher perspective. He needs to be elevated to a higher place in his spirit and he needs God to lead him to that place. His prayer may have been: “Lord, I am overwhelmed by my situation. I can’t see any possible solution. This is certainly beyond me. I am powerless. I need You to take me to a solid place that is high above where I am now, so I can see with Your eyes, so I can understand and trust that You have a plan and are in control, so I can trust Your ability and strength and wisdom and love towards me.” David is praying, “Lead me to a solid place that is above where I am right now, where I can stand firm and see this situation from an elevated vantage point.”
Recognize that this approach is the opposite of what you will be hearing from the world when you are overwhelmed. The world will be telling you that you have the power within you, and that the “hero” in you can work this out and solve the situation, that you just need to work harder at it, or just find the strength within, or think harder to figure it out. And we wonder why people are overstressed and depressed.
Christianity requires a mind shift. We must shift from being self dependant to becoming God dependant. We are so used to figuring out our situations and trying to fix things ourselves, but what usually happens is that we make things worse. How can we fix what we don’t know about? We don’t have all the information; we don’t have the complete view; we don’t know everything we need to know; we forget things easily and we can only hold so many facts in our mind. Don’t listen to the lies that we are only using a small percentage of our brain power. It doesn’t matter even if it were true, we still have limited knowledge and limited power. It is much wiser to trust God and let Him fix things or people or situations. He will do what we ask Him (or what is best for us) and He desires for us to come to Him for help, just as any loving father wants to help their children.
David continues in Ps. 62 with the affirmation that God had been his strength in the past: (vs. 3 & 4) “For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in your tabernacle (or tent) forever; I will trust in the shelter of your wings.” Here again, David uses his poetic ability to paint a picture of how he trusts the Lord.
What a beautiful prayer this is: “Lord, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
Sometimes you can’t find that place, and you need the Lord to lead you there. Just like He will show you the rivers of water in the desert, and the roadway in the wilderness or jungle, He will also lead you to this high rock. Just like the shepherd leads the sheep to green pastures, and has them lie down besides still water, He can also show you this high rock for you to stand firm upon with a spiritual overview of His plans. We need to see with spiritual eyes and it is the Lord who can open these eyes for us.
This is a prayer that I will be praying often in the future. I hope you also find the beauty of these words a blessing as well as the results of when God answers and takes us to that place.