The Rock That Is Higher Than I (Psalm 61)

cffblog6.jpgNovember 15, 2017 Wednesday)

David is away from Jerusalem and longs to be there. Perhaps this took place after the years as a fugitive but before his return as king of Israel. He thinks of Jerusalem as a place of safety and security, where he feels the presence of God and finds strength in Him. As he prays, he does so with confidence, because of his strong faith.

Psalm 61
New International Version (NIV)
For the director of music. With stringed instruments. Of David.


1 Hear my cry, O God;
listen to my prayer.
2 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.
3 For you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the foe.
4 I long to dwell in your tent forever
and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.


5 For you, God, have heard my vows;
you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.
6 Increase the days of the king's life,
his years for many generations.
7 May he be enthroned in God's presence forever;
appoint your love and faithfulness to protect him.
8 Then I will ever sing in praise of your name
and fulfill my vows day after day.

The words of the hymn below were given to us by Erastus Johnson, who was born April 20, 1826, in a logging camp in Maine. He died in 1909, in Waltham, Massachusetts. Buried: Jackson Corner Cemetery, Jackson, Maine. Erastus was the third of 13 children of Cyrus and Hepzibah Hunt Page Johnson. At age 17, he became a school teacher and later worked in the oil business in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As ardent Methodist, always interested in religious work, especially in the Y.M.C.A., he was a lifelong student of the Bible, a fluent speaker, and a musician of moderate attainment. He published one book of poems, most of which were of interest only to members of his immediate family. This hymn captures the meaning of "The Rock that is higher than I" in Psalm 61.

The Rock That Is Higher Than I
Words: Erastus Johnson (1826-1909)
Tune: [O sometimes the shadows are deep] (Fischer)

1 O sometimes the shadows are deep,
And rough seems the path to the goal,
And sorrows, sometimes how they sweep
Like tempests down over the soul!

O then to the Rock let me fly,
To the Rock that is higher than I;
O then to the Rock let me fly
To the Rock that is higher than I!

2 O sometimes how long seems the day,
And sometimes how weary my feet;
But toiling in life's dusty way,
The Rock's blessed shadow, how sweet! (Chorus)

3 O near to the Rock let me keep,
If blessings or sorrow prevail;
Or climbing the mountain way steep,
Or walking the shadowy vale. (Chorus)


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