As of this morning we’re now more than halfway through our Psalm summer for this year, so I’d like to do a brief check up on how you’re doing with them. As I look back over the Psalms we’ve covered this summer two large themes seem to be presenting themselves again and again to us. The first theme is confidence. Not confidence in ourselves, confidence in our own stability, or confidence in anything we can do to make our lives better or more secure, but confidence in God despite what’s going on around us. The second theme is a crossroads or a fork in the road. Time and time again the Psalms this summer have brought us to a point of decision, where we must choose how we’re going to live. Are we going to live lives that honor and obey the Lord or live lives that dishonor and disobey the Lord? The Psalms have pressed in on us, driving that reality home.
Here’s the brief check up for you this morning to see how you’re doing with all of this. This year, despite all that’s unknown and all that’s going on these days, has your confidence in the Lord increased this summer? Have you found God to be to you what He was for David? Rock, Refuge, Stronghold, Salvation, Rescuer, Satisfaction, and Sustainer? And then, has your resolve to follow the Lord grown sturdier? Has your obedience increased? Has your love for His ways and His Word flourished? Or I can ask one large question overall: have you come to more clearly see and more deeply savor Christ, as the answer and remedy to all the cries present in your soul?
I ask these things today because all preaching in general and preaching the Psalms in particular isn’t just for kicks and giggles, it aims at the heart, at the soul. It aims to do far more than give information, it aims at transformation.
As you hear these questions it is my prayer that you can answer these questions in the affirmative and that you’re growing in these ways and more during this Psalm summer.
As for today. We’ve arrived at a Psalm that comes with a companion. Psalm 62 is before us, and as beautiful as it is on its own it’s not meant to be taken on its own. Psalm 63 follows it intentionally. Both get at the same two grand themes we’ve seen all summer. Trusting God in all things and obeying God over all things. So Psalm 62 can be titled My Soul Waits, and Psalm 63 My Soul Thirsts. Waiting on God and thirsting for God, two things that sum up so much of our lives as Christians.
Let’s lean in to Psalm 62 and see what God has for us.
Trust in God Alone (v1-4)
“TO THE CHOIRMASTER: ACCORDING TO JEDUTHUN. A PSALM OF DAVID. For God alone my soul waits in silence; from Him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken. How long will all of you attack a man to batter him, like a leaning wall, a tottering fence? 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”
As the Psalm begins we see the heading tell us this Psalm is not just to be reflected on and read or studied, but sung and prayed. That it’s for the choirmaster, the worship leader of Israel, that’s it’s to be played according to the tune ‘Jeduthun’, and that David wrote it. v3-4 gives us a hint that he’s being pressed on or attacked by enemies and yet in v1-2 what do we see? A heart that is still under stress. A soul that is silently content to wait on God. Why? God is David’s rock, his salvation, and his fortress. Which makes him feel so secure in God that he concludes he will not be greatly shaken. He says these things despite feeling like wall leaning too far over, or like a tottering fence about to fall to the ground. His enemies might be well mannered on the outside with their flattering blessings but inwardly they delight in what is false, they curse him, and they plan to thrust him down. All the while David silently waits on God, because he trusts in God alone.
To these things you might be saying a hearty yes and amen, but notice how David says he trust in God alone, that God alone is these things to him? For God alone he waits in silence, God alone is his rock, God alone is his salvation, God alone is his fortress, and God alone keeps him from being to shaken? Are you still saying amen? I think this is where we today have trouble. Sure we trust God to save us, we trust God to forgive us, we trust God to hold onto us, but do we trust Him alone? Or do we trust God alongside something else? Do we trust God as long as our health stays up? As long as our finances are secure? As long as our families stay intact? As long as our children know and love the Lord? As long as life goes the way we want it to go? As long as the seas we’re sailing on are smooth and calm? I do think we trust God, for sure, but I think we struggle with this word alone because we ever tend to add something in there alongside our trust in God as if we’re hedging our bets. ‘Yes I trust God…but just in case that doesn’t work out for me I can fall back on….’ what? That ‘what’ reveals where our true hope is. Whatever it is, it’s an idol if you’re trusting in it alongside God. David shows nothing of a divided heart like that here, his whole trust is in one place alone, in God.
The protestant reformers of the 16th century used this word alone many times in their explanations of what they were doing. The famous five solas is the clearest example of this. The widespread belief of their day was that God accepts us through a combination of His grace plus our effort, of His work plus our works, and if we fall away from God we can do other works to get back to Him, but if we don’t continually do our work for God rightly God casts us to hell forever. In response to these foul beliefs the reformers drew up five statements to teach what Christian faith is and what Christian faith looks like: Sola Scriptura, Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Solus Christus, and Soli Deo Gloria. Or…the Christian faith begins, grows within us, and is ever founded on Scripture alone, by Grace alone, through Faith alone, in Christ alone, and to the glory of God alone. Such was David’s trust in Psalm 62. The Rock of Ages was his rock, the Most High was his high place, God above was his fortress here below.
What did his trust in God alone do to him? Church, don’t miss it. His trust in God alone made him still, calm, and quiet under stress and strife. Trust in God alone, that’s v1-4, now see…
Trust in God Only (v5-8)
“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah”
At first it might seem v5-6 are just a restatement of v1-2. But there are differences to see. Before David spoke of salvation in v1, now he speaks of hope in v5. Before David spoke of not being greatly shaken in v2, now he simple speaks of not being shaken at all in v6. I do think there is much restatement of the same theme here that he’s introduced already, just as all good songs have repetition, but I also think there is progression to be seen in v5-6 too. As if David has become more settled, maybe even more convinced in his heart about these rock solid truths personally. In the first section after v1-2 David went on to mention his enemies in v3-4. Now though, after making a similar declaration in v5-6 he expands on what God is to him and invites others into the same joy in v7-8. The language used is similar as v1-2. God is his salvation, God is his rock, and God is his refuge. But this time God is not just a rock to him, He’s a mighty rock. A rock stout and sturdy, a rock never to be moved, a rock so firm David can not only rely on but rest in. Do you see that this idea of ‘rest’ is a new addition in v7-8 that wasn’t there before in v1-2? God is so secure, God is so immovable, so faithful, and so unchanging that David can say all he hopes in can rest on God. So much so that David uses the word glory here (weight in Hebrew). His glory is God and his glory rests on God.
Church, are any of you too shaken right now? Are any of you seeing the rising numbers of Covid cases and feeling a sense of dread? Are any of you shuddering at what the future may bring? May you rest easy in the God who is never shaken, who never dreads, and who never shudders but sits in the heavens secure and stable, evermore! Happy is the man, the woman, the child, who places all their hope in God.
Naturally then, v8 comes. How do we respond to a God this strong and trustworthy? “Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.” As natural as breathing is for the body, as natural as parched ground soaks up the falling rain, as natural as the flower opens under the sun’s warmth, so too the believer opens their heart to God. Pouring out our hearts to God means bringing all that’s in our hearts before God: burdens, grief, shame, guilt, fear, anger, hope, desires, expectations, joys, delights…whatever is going on in us, our Father desires to hear it all. A few years ago Ross Floyd and I were hiking a portion of the Appalachian Trail in north Georgia. All was going well until we came to a section of switchbacks. The trail went up and down and side to side for so long and for so many miles that our legs, our hips, and backs were so tired and worn out that we, many times, just sat down right on the trail to get a quick breather. These switchbacks continued on for so long that when we finally got to camp and took off our packs and felt the weight of it leave our bodies, it felt as if a great burden had been lifted. I think we just sat there and did nothing for about 30 minutes while we recovered. This is something of what David is getting at here in v8 about pouring our hearts out to God.
Perhaps Charles Spurgeon said it better, “You to whom God’s love is revealed, reveal yourselves to God. His heart is set on you, lay bare your hearts to Him. Turn the vessel of your soul upside down in His secret presence, and let your inmost thoughts, desires, sorrows, and sins be poured out like water. Hide nothing from Him, for you can hide nothing. To the Lord unburden your soul…to keep all within is to hoard up wretchedness. The stream will swell and rage if you dam it up: believer give it a clear course…” Or more simply the hymn writer Joseph Scriven put it like this, “O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer.” See how v8 ends? Those that pour out their hearts find God to be what? A refuge.
This is what it looks like to trust in God alone and to trust in God only. Finally now, see…
Trust in God Truly (v9-12)
“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. Put no trust in extortion; set no vain hopes on robbery; if riches increase, set not your heart on them. Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, and that to You, O Lord, belongs steadfast love. For you will render to a man according to his work.”
After such a vibrant description of who and what God is for us, notice the contrast in v9-10. God is truly worthy of our trust, man truly isn’t. Both men of low and men of high estate. David said in v7 that on God rests his glory (word meaning weight in Hebrew) now we find man to be lighter than a breath in substance. We’re meant to see the difference in weightiness and substance. But, why is man so untrustworthy? Look at the waters men so often swim in: extortion, robbery, and riches. No wonder why David says what he says here. All their ways and their words and their possessions might seem to be lasting and might seem to make great boasts in this world, but in reality they’re lighter than a breath on the scales. We get this.
But I must say, our translation here in the ESV of v9 is a bit strange to be honest. It refers to two kinds of men. “Those of low estate…” and “…those of high estate…” We understand the meaning, it’s referring to all mankind here with these terms. But you should know the Hebrew does something different. It literally says, “The sons of Adam” are a breath and a delusion. So in Hebrew the original hearers and readers of Psalm 62 would’ve immediately seen something we miss because of our translation. Who were Adam’s first two sons? Cain and Abel. Do you know what Abel means in Hebrew? A ‘breath’ or a ‘vapor’ or a ‘mist.’ And Abel literally lived that out, he was introduced in one verse and murdered by Cain in another. Abel was truly, a breath. Do you see then what David is saying here in v9? All the sons of Adam are Abels in reality, all men, low and high alike, are but a breath. And more so, because of our sin and fall, all men are also Cains, made by God and made for God but bent against God. Therefore, v10 says it clear, our trust should not be in men, or in what men commonly give themselves to: extortion, robbery, or riches.
Where then should our trust be? In God. But see how David answers that question in v11-12. He says God has spoken once, and that he has heard it twice. He doesn’t mean to teach that he had two great experiences of God, no. He does mean to teach us that what God has said to him and revealed to him is so great he has come back again and again to remember it and reaffirm it. What has God said to David that he finds so important? What has God said to David that he heard the echo of again and again? That power belongs to Him, that steadfast love belongs to Him, and that God won’t be deceived by men of low estate or men high estate, but will one day in the end lay all accounts bare as He judges men by their works. In the Psalms of David, his confidence in God often ends with God’s judgment, I think because David knew that in his own life there is much that doesn’t happen as it should, much that goes awry, much that hurts and wounds us, but in the end a day will come when all would be revealed and made right by God who sees all and knows all.
So, for David, his trust is in God alone, his trust is in God only, and he trusts in God truly. I think we can say, the worst has once again brought out David’s best.
Church, as we end, think back to our beginning checkup today and ask, ‘Where is my trust?’ ‘Is it in God alone, or have you added something alongside God?’ When the storms of life come, where our trust is, is often revealed. So, is your confidence deeply rooted on and greatly resting in God as your Rock that you’re willing to wait on God? Jesus would later use this imagery to teach one of His most memorable lessons. In Matthew 7:24-27 He says, “Everyone then who hears these words of Mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
Storms will come and bring rain and floods and winds, yes. But one day in the end the Storm of God’s judgment will come. Whether tonight or 10,000 years from now it will come. When His wind blows and reveals all things, one ‘house’ will stand and one ‘house’ will fall. Jesus isn’t speaking architectural wisdom here, He’s speaking about us, about you and me. Those who hear His words, see His saving work, and place their trust in Him will stand in the end because they stand on the Rock, on Christ. And those who hear His words, see His saving work, and refuse to place their trust in Him will fall in the end because they stand on sand, on themselves.
Church, may our trust be built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness, not trusting in the sweetest frame but wholly leaning on Jesus’ name. On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.
 Derek Kidner, Psalms 1-72 (Downers Grove, Illinois: IVP Academic, 1973) 239.
 Richard D. Phillips, Psalms 42-72 – Reformed Expository Commentary (Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P&R, 2019) 209.
 Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible – vol. 3 (Hendrickson Publishers, 1991), 380.
 Charles Spurgeon, Treasury of David – vol. 2 (Mclean, Virginia: MacDonald Publishing, reprint) 50.
 Spurgeon, 51.
 Spurgeon, 51-52.
 William S. Plumer, Psalms (Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Banner of Truth, 2016), 626.
 Kidner, 242.
 David Platt, Matthew – Christ-Centered Exposition (Nashville, Tennessee: B&H, 2013) 100.