Unlike the provincial deities of the ancients, Yahweh is not limited by geography. David boldly prays—desperate, yes, but bold—”from the ends of the earth,” and even when his boldness outstrips his strength (“when my heart is without strength”) he is still heard. Neither Tarshish nor Nineveh is beyond the LORD’s reach or earshot.
David then prays the prayer God loves to hear: I can’t, but You can; You lead the way.
Lead me to a rock that is high above me,
for you have been a refuge for me,
a strong tower in the face of the enemy (61:2-3 CSB).
David can’t get to the rock himself; God must take him there. God alone has been a refuge and a strong tower. God is the rock higher than David. The next verse makes this even clearer:
I will dwell in your tent forever
and take refuge under the shelter of your wings (61:4 CSB).
The allusion in Psalm 57 is more explicit here: God’s tent is the tabernacle, and the shelter of His wings would be beneath the cherubim and the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies.
The connection between the rock and the tent, then, is this: David can’t go into the Holy of Holies himself. God must come to him and lead him there. That’s precisely what He has done in the Incarnation: Jesus has come as the Great High Priest in Melchizedek’s line to rend the curtain and lead us into the New Jerusalem—Revelation’s Holy of Holies.
David celebrates the “heritage” given to every God-fearer. What is this heritage? It’s the king’s own inheritance, for we are “heirs of God and coheirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17 CSB)!
What king is this? The one whose “years span many generations,” who sits “enthroned before God forever” (61:6-7 CSB). This King who is God sits before God; the Word was with God and was God (John 1:1).
The King’s bodyguards are faithful love and truth. You have to go through them to get to Him. John also says that’s exactly how Jesus comes: full of grace and truth (John 1:17).
This King is Jesus, Emmanuel, the curtain-tearing High Priest who leads us into the shelter of the cherubim’s wings. This King is the one we serve, the one we sing of, and the one we sing to.
Joy to the world, the Lord is come!