The Psalmist begins this song of ascending to the Mountain of the Lord with a cry for help.

Well, how appropriate you might think, but not always true for those who are in trouble. It is true that the best place to run when you need help is the presence of Adonai, hiding under his wings (Ps.17:8) or in his strong tower of safety (Provs.18:10), but we don’t always do what is best when we are hurting.

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Here David begins his cry for help with “mi-ma-ama-kim”; ‘mi’ meaning ‘from’, or ‘out of’, and ‘ma-ama-kim’ are waters of great depth, so the Psalmist is feeling overwhelmed and drowning in his trials and entanglements of depression; not an enviable place, to be sure!

Then he asks the Lord to listen to his cry for help, even though he is aware of his own sin that would separate him from Adonai. But he is taking the right course, he is ascending the hill to ask forgiveness and mercy from Adonai in the House of the Lord.

David continues his prayer by confessing that his soul longs for the presence of the Lord even more than a watchman (shomer) would wait for the dawn. Imagine how a watchman would rejoice at the rising of the sun. The long, cold, lonely night watch is finally over; the sun chases the shadows and warms the chill from the cold night air. David says, even more than the exhilaration of a new day, my soul waits in anticipation for the coming of the Lord.

David finishes his song with the hope that all Israel will return to Adonai and be saved, for only with the God of Israel is there forgiveness, mercy and salvation. All other gods are but sticks and stones with no eyes to see, or ears to hear, or arms to save; O that Israel would put their trust in the Lord and be saved!

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