WHEN WE ARE OVERWHELMED
TEXT: PSALM 61:1-2
Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Have you ever felt overwhelmed? Well David did, and wrote this marvelous song to show us what to do when we are overwhelmed. David’s son Absalom tried to overthrow David’s kingdom, but the plot failed. Absalom died at the hands of David’s general Joab in this rebellion. Now David was overwhelmed by what had taken place. He is far away from home, and just wants to get home. He realizes the battle is not over because many more will want his throne. The greatest sorrow David felt was the death of Absalom. He knew his son died without God, and went into eternity without Christ. The word “overwhelmed” means to cover. The covering is not on our bodies like a blanket. The covering is on our hearts. When this happens we are smothered and just cannot function. All we see is our problems. Household chores are left undone because there is no energy to do these tasks. We become living corpses as we are overwhelmed. So what do we do? The psalm divides into two portions divided by the word “se-lah” found in verse 4. When we are overwhelmed we must PRAY (vs. 1-4) and we must PRAISE (vs. 5-8). As we pray and praise God the Holy Spirit lifts the covering over our hearts, and we are able to serve the Lord again. In verses 1-2 we should pray in our present distress. A cry was made by David. The word “cry” means a creaking or shrill sound that can be a shout of joy or grief. We can imagine the cry echoing off the hills and Joab asking David to hold it down so the enemies would not know their position. John Phillips said, “Anyone who had known desolation of soul knows what David’s cry was like.” When a soul is desperate it will seek any help it can find and all denominational walls will fall. You will not care if it is a Presbyterian or a Pentecostal. If they know the Lord you will solicit their help. A concern was voiced as David said he was crying from the end of the earth. Now he was not on the other side of the earth, but in his heart he felt like he was thousands of miles away. He was away from Jerusalem the city of the Great King. He was away from the tabernacle which was a physical representation of God. A covering was on his heart because he was overwhelmed. Thank God, the Chief Cornerstone was accessible through prayer because he said, “lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Jesus is our Rock and Mediator through prayer. He is our Great High Priest that will send our petitions to God the Father. David felt miles away and his heart was covered, yet, he could reach the throne of God through prayer. Amen and amen! Charles Spurgeon said, “It was a wise resolution, for had he ceased to pray he would have become a victim of despair; there is an end to a man when he makes and end to prayer.” So the first key to getting this covering off of our hearts is prayer. Cry out to God and you will find yourself in His presence, and in due time you will feel better. You will then be able to serve Him.
I am overwhelmed with everything that has happened in my life. I cry out to You and ask that You will help me in my present distress. I want to serve You but lack energy. I am trapped and feel like I am miles away. Holy Spirit touch my heart. Jesus You are my Rock and I ask that You help me. Amen.
WHEN WE ARE OVERWHELMED PART 2
TEXT: PSALM 61:3-4
For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Se-lah.
As we have seen to be overwhelmed means there is a covering on our heart that keeps us from serving God. When this happens we are to pray (vs. 1-4) and praise (vs. 5-8). David prayed in his present distress (vs. 1-2). David also informs us to ponder on past answers (vs. 3). David said that God had been a shelter for him in the past. A shelter is a place of peace and safety. David found his peace as he ran to his shelter Jehovah God. In the past God had been a place of protection for his as he declared that God was his strong tower. Beloved, as David pondered on past answers to prayer he realized that God was his place of peace and protection. Had David been in trouble before? Did God help him? Indeed, as a shepherd David killed a lion who was after his sheep. In a similar event David killed a bear. So when David faced Goliath in the Valley of Elah the poor giant was no match. David soundly defeated him with a slingshot and a smooth stone. David drew strength from past help, and said that the God who delivered him from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear would deliver him from this Philistine. Moreover, when King Saul hunted David for some two years to kill him the shepherd king found that God protected him. When his son Absalom rebelled against him God helped him. So David could look back on past answers to prayer, and draw strength for his present troubles. Spurgeon said, “Experience is the nurse of faith.” We should also prepare to receive an answer (vs. 4). David was expecting to hear from God. He prayed, pondered on past answers, and was ready to receive an answer in his present distress. David was far from home, but was confident that he would make it back to the place of the Lord. He said, “I will abide in thy tabernacle.” The tabernacle represented the visible tangible presence of God. David felt like he was on the other side of the world, but he was trusting God to make it back to the place of His presence. David was also expecting to make it back to the place of love. He wanted to be in the covert of God’s wings. The reference is similar to a mother hen who has her little chicks under her wings. This is a place of warmth. This is a place of love and protection. Dear brethren, the Lord Jesus is our Great Mother Hen and this is the place of His love. So when your heart is overwhelmed cry out to God in your present distress. Ponder on how God has helped you in the past. Most importantly, prepare to receive and answer. God will answer you! David expected to be at the tabernacle soon even though he was miles away. He expected to be smothered in the Father’s love. Expect the God of the universe to bring you into His presence and to shower you with His love. As you pray the covering of your heart will lift. It might not happen after the first prayer or the second or the one hundredth. It may take time, dedication, and even fasting, but one day the covering of your heart will lift and you will be able to serve Him again.
I have been overwhelmed, and I am still overwhelmed. Lord I cry to You in my present distress. You have helped me in the past and I believe You will help me now. Lord I expect You to answer me so I can serve You again. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
WHEN WE ARE OVERWHELMED PART 3
TEXT: PSALM 61:5
For thou, O God, hast heard my vows: thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name.
As we continue to examine Psalm 61 we are finding out how to deal with a spirit that is overwhelmed. Many of us are overwhelmed because of poor health, or financial difficulties, or past sins. To be overwhelmed means that our heart is covered, and we cannot serve God like we should. In verses 1-4 the emphasis is on praying when we are overwhelmed. In verses 5-8 the emphasis is on praising God. What is praise? It is the extending of our hands in worship or reverence to God. We praise His Person more than His Provision. We might praise God for all the wonderful things He has done for us, but purest praise is when we adore Him for who He is and not what He has done for us. Many of us do not know how to praise because we were taught that singing and praise was “just a warm up for the preaching.” This is simply not true. Public praise is our chance to show God that we love Him and revere Him. We also have the notion that praise is a public thing when the saints gather together on Sundays. This is also false. Praise can be private in our own homes as well as in the church house. Private praise is just as important as public praise. In our text David praised God because of the heritage that he received. David was king of all of Israel. His inheritance included the Promised Land, the patriarchs, the prophets, the psalms, the palace, and the promises. God chose the Nation of Israel and gave them the Promised Land. Now our heritage is not in Canaan but in Christ. Brethren we have received great and exceeding precious promises in Jesus Christ our Lord. Our heritage is not in the Land, but in the Lord. So we praise God because of this heritage we have in Jesus. David also praised God because God heard his cry in verses 1-4. David said, “For thou, O God, hast heard . . . “ We should praise Him because He hears our prayers. The God of the universe “hast heard” your petition. Notice in the text David made some “vows” to God. In other words, he made some commitments to God. When our spirits are overwhelmed we simply cannot keep our commitments to God. However, as we pray about these things our burdens become lighter. As our heart breaks out in praise the covering over our heart begins to dissipate. Then we have Divine strength to serve Him. Today think of the rich heritage that you have. We are not talking about mere material things. We are talking about the unsearchable riches that we have in Jesus Christ. He is our heritage, so with a humble heart and an extended hand begin to start praising your Savior. Praise Him publicly and privately. A good way to start is to pick a letter of the alphabet and think of all the names associated with that letter. For example, the letter “A”. He is the Author of life, Alpha and Omega, the Anchor of my soul, Author and finisher of my faith, Almighty etc. Then with an extended hand praise His name.
Please teach me how to praise You. I do not want to praise You just to feel good. Lord I want to express my love and devotion to You. Lord, like David, I have made some commitments to You. Please give me the Divine strength to perform those tasks. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
WHEN WE ARE OVERWHELMED PART 4
TEXT: PSALM 61:6-7
Thou wilt prolong the king’s life: and his years as many generations. He shall abide before God for ever: O prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him.
As we continue to examine Psalm 61 we are learning how not to be overwhelmed so we can do the things God would have us to do. We have seen that we need to pray in verses 1-4, and we need to praise in verses 5-8. We saw that we should praise God for the heritage that we have in Jesus Christ. We are His children and because of this He hears us. We did not inherit the land of Israel we inherited the Lord so we praise Him for this. Now we also need to praise God because of the help that He gives us in verses 6-7. He has blessed us! David was looking forward to going back to Jerusalem and he was expecting God to give him many more years of life and service as king. He also looked beyond this life and knew that he would live forever with God. Truly God blesses us here right now and throughout eternity. This fact should cause us to praise Him. Not only had God blessed him He had bestowed some things to David too. In verse 7 we see that God bestows mercy and truth. Mercy is kindness. With God’s mercy we do not receive what we deserve. We all deserve to go to hell and God owes us nothing. In His mercy we do not get what we deserve. Praise God He is also a God of grace. Grace allows us to receive what we do not deserve. Not only has He bestowed mercy He has bestowed truth which means stability or trustworthiness. God is the one that makes our lives stable. Without Him we can do nothing. He is also trustworthy. Sometimes we cannot trust family or friends but we can always trust God. He is truth and He is faithful. He is the anchor of our soul. Psalm 85:10 says, “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” Where do we find this mercy and truth? We find it in the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ. So we praise God because of the help. David was truly blessed by God now and will be blessed throughout eternity. God had also bestowed some things to David; namely mercy and truth. As David prayed and praised God his spirit was no longer overwhelmed. How about us? Are you overwhelmed? Are you praying? Are you praising Him? Lift up your heart by extended hands and begin praising God because of the heritage that You have in Christ. These riches are so deep we will never fully understand them in this life. Praise Him because of the help that you receive. You have been blessed in the past. You are being blessed, and will be blessed throughout all eternity. You have had mercy and truth bestowed to you. Jesus Himself said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. . . .” Decide that you will praise Him. Don’t wait untill you get to heaven to start praising Him. Do you want victory? Begin a prayer life that incorporates praise.
Lord we praise You! You are Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, King of kings, Lord of lords, the Great I AM. You are the Most High God. Hallelujah.
WHEN WE ARE OVERWHELMED CONCLUSION
TEXT: PSALM 61:8
So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows.
King David, like many of us, was overwhelmed with the circumstances of life. He had made some commitments (vows) to God, but his spirit was overwhelmed. As he prayed (vs. 1-4) and praised (vs. 5-8) his spirit was restored, and he was able to serve God again. As we continue to look at praise we praise Him because of the heritage that we have in Christ (vs. 5). We praise Him because of the help that we receive (vs. 6-7). So now we praise Him because of who He is; or what He represents. David said, “I will sing” and sing we must! We should sing praises privately and corporately. David had something to sing about because he was God’s child. In this psalm David describes God as Elohim or the Creator God, the Rock, a shelter, a strong tower, a mother hen, a God who hears, an eternal God, merciful, truth, accessible, faithful, a giver, and a preserver. We too have something to sing about because we know Someone. David also said “I will serve” when he said, “that I may daily perform my vows.” Vows are commitments that we make to God. David had made some daily vows. He also made some durable vows. David’s whole concern was that he wanted to serve God. He found that being overwhelmed kept him from serving God. However, as he prayed and praised the covering of his heart was lifted and he began to serve God again. Psalm 22:3 states, “But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.” God loves it when we praise Him for who He is. When Paul and Silas were in jail at midnight they sang praises to God. An earthquake occurred and all the prison doors were opened. The jailer was saved and his whole household trusted Christ. There is power in praise!
Learn to praise God because He is:
F-Faithful and True
H-The Most High God
J-Joy, Jesus, Jealous
K-King of kings
L-Lamb of God
M- Mighty God
N-Name above all names
Q-Quick “I come quickly”(Rev. 22:7)
X-XMas of the Christ of Christmas. He is the King of King Xerxes
NOTE: Xerxes is the only word in the Bible that starts with an x
So pray like never before and begin praising God daily. Don’t be surprised if your spirit of being overwhelmed is replaced with a spirit of faith and obedience. As you pray and praise the power for living for God will be restored. You will be able to keep your vows or commitments that you have made to Him.