From Psalm 61:
“You will prolong the king’s life,
His years as many generations.
He shall abide before God forever.
Oh, prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him!”
This passage jumped out at me in Psalm 61. It seems like a non sequitur; doesn’t really seem to fit. David was a king; was he talking about himself? Perhaps, but he has been talking about himself in the first person, “me, my”, etc, and now he suddenly switches to the third person.
The Psalm has been a cry for help, for defense and preservation by God. It is also an acknowledgement and thanksgiving from David that God has truly been there for him, has been a shelter and a “strong tower” for David against his enemies.
The New Geneva Study Bible makes the point that a strong and good king was certainly a source of stability and safety for a people. When the old king died and a new king began to rule, it would be a time of uncertainty and fear. So the idea that the king would rule forever would be very comforting.
But David died. He did not rule forever. He was followed by Solomon who was a good king in some respects but allowed idolatry to proliferate in Jerusalem. And Solomon’s son Rehoboam was a fool, whose oppression divided the nation.
God had given David a promise in 2 Samuel 7 that his son would sit on the throne of Israel forever. Solomon of course was not this son. It is Jesus who is the son of David, the king who sits on the throne forever. And now the passage makes sense in the context- David is not talking about himself; he is talking about the promised king, the seed of the woman, the Anointed one who would come and inaugurate an eternal kingdom of peace.
What should we take comfort in amid the difficulties of this life? We have a good and righteous king who rules in heaven, protecting us from all our enemies. We have a high priest mediating for us and reconciling us to God. We have a brilliant and effective teacher showing us the truth and teaching us the right way. All three of these offices are held by one perfect Man, Jesus Christ, and He will never die.
In a political era crying for change, crying for something new, so many look for some transcendent figure who will arise and solve all our problems for us. But change was precisely what David was worried about. He knew the turmoil and instability of this life could bring great danger and disaster. But with God’s promises, he knew he was on a rock, on a high tower, from which he could not be budged. With Jesus enthroned in the heavens, we likewise can be confident that all of our needs will be met and nothing that we fear can ever touch us, because nothing can ever touch him.
“So I will sing praise to your name forever,
That I may daily perform my vows.”