Uncle Zaki was more than a friend to scholar Kenneth Bailey; he was his trusted guide on challenging excursions into the vast Sahara. By following Uncle Zaki, Bailey says that he and his team were demonstrating their complete trust in him. In essence, they were affirming, “We don’t know the way to where we are going, and if you get us lost we will all die. We have placed our total trust in your leadership.”
In a time of great weariness and heartache, David looked beyond any human guide, seeking direction from the God he served. In Psalm 61:2 we read, “From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” He longed for the safety and relief of being ushered afresh into God’s presence (vv. 3–4).
God’s guidance in life is desperately needed for people the Scriptures describe as sheep that have “gone astray” (Isaiah 53:6). Left to ourselves, we would be hopelessly lost in the desert of a broken world.
But we are not left to ourselves! We have a Shepherd who leads us “beside quiet waters,” refreshes our souls, and guides us (Psalm 23:2–3).
Where do you need His leading today? Call on Him. He will never leave you.
Listen to Psalm 23: A Psalm of a Good Shepherd at discovertheword.org/series/a-psalm-of-a-good-shepherd.
Historical context for Psalm 61 isn’t provided in the superscription, so the only thing we know about the background for this psalm is that David is being pursued. Fleeing from Jerusalem, he prays, “From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint” (v. 2). We’re not told who was pursuing him; however, some scholars believe there may be a clue in verse 6: David asks for God to prolong “the king’s life.” This seems to indicate that this is a different time period than when he was pursued by Saul to prevent him from becoming king. In this psalm, David is already king, which would more likely place it during the time he fled from the attempted coup orchestrated by his son Absalom.