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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Selected Psalms: Psalm 62

(You can read Psalm 62 here.)

The Bible is full of exclusive language.

John 14:6 I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Revelation 15:4 For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.

Acts 4:12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

Deuteronomy 4:39 39 know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.

David uses exclusive language in Psalm 62, but it has a different feel.

1 For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. 2 He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.

The exclusivity that some find to be offensive and intolerant, David finds to be an unspeakable comfort. He understands the intensely practical outworking of there being only one Almighty God: man can have the utmost confidence in Him – He is God and there is no other.

God has made no room for others to be worshiped and He has made no room for others to truly comfort the soul of man. God is an exclusive God and He has built that exclusivity into the heart of man in such a way that there is only One in whom he may find rest and peace and hope and salvation. He alone is worthy of worship and He alone is able to bring true rest.

The foundation of his confidence in God is his conviction of the sufficiency of God: I shall not be greatly shaken. What great confidence in that statement! He knows that he will not be shaken because he knows that God is sufficient. This confidence in the sufficiency of God is contrasted with a complete lack of faith in men.

3 How long will all of you attack a man to batter him, like a leaning wall, a tottering fence? 4 They only plan to thrust him down from his high position. They take pleasure in falsehood. They bless with their mouths, but inwardly they curse. Selah

Over the course of David’s life, he had ample opportunities to witness the depraved nature of mankind. King Saul hunted him relentlessly for some 13 years. Then David himself committed adultery and murder. And his in his own family he found rape, murder, and rebellion. David, in the hour of need, knew that he could not trust man.

We would do well to learn that lesson ourselves. When we are oppressed, rather than trusting in the sufficiency of God alone, we often reach out to man’s wisdom for help. Psychology, philosophy, and man-centered self-help become our tools of choice for dealing with our problems. But none of those things have anything on God Almighty. Not only is God the only trustworthy source of help, He is the only capable one. For David, one look at the sinfulness of men leads him to declare again the exclusivity and sufficiency of God in vv5-7.

5 For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. 6 He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. 7 On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

The Psalmist then moves on to exhort all the godly to put their trust in God rather than men.

8 Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah 9 Those of low estate are but a breath; those of high estate are a delusion; in the balances they go up; they are together lighter than a breath. 10 Put no trust in extortion; set no vain hopes on robbery; if riches increase, set not your heart on them.

Men are but vapors. They are a delusion, he says. Think about that. He did not say they are deluded. He said they are a delusion. They will lead you astray. They will blind you. God alone is our refuge. Trust only in Him.

Having removed the possibility of mortal man as a help in times of trouble, David then moves on to the most worshiped god in our culture, material wealth. Whether ill-gotten or honestly earned, in the end, setting our hope in the riches of earth is just a form of self-reliance. But the Psalmist exhorts us to trust in God. Seek after God. Patiently wait for God. Do not set your hope on riches. Why? God alone is sufficient.

David was a man who lacked nothing. He had great material wealth, numerous wives, and he knew how to handle himself in a fight. In many ways, David could be considered one of the most likely people in history to feel a sense of self-sufficiency.

But he didn’t. He ends this psalm with another statement of his confidence in God:

11 Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, 12 and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love. For you will render to a man according to his work.

God is all-powerful. God is loving. God is perfectly just. That cannot be said of anyone else. He alone is sufficient. He alone is God.

What concerns you today? Whatever it may be, it provides you with an opportunity to trust in the Lord, rest in the Lord, and wait on the Lord as David did in his darkest hour. Men will fail you. Money will fail you. You will fail yourself. But God fails none who trust in Him.

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