We come now to Psalm 62 today. A Psalm whose main theme is something we simply hate doing. Waiting. I guess I should ask, does anyone like waiting? I thought so. Let’s ask a different question now, why do we so dislike waiting? Do we hate waiting because it simply annoys us and throws the rest of our perfectly scheduled day into a mess? Maybe at a surface level that’s true. To push a bit deeper maybe we hate waiting because makes us feel powerless, as if the act of waiting itself alerts us that someone else is in control of our time and schedule rather than ourselves? Maybe. Or perhaps we hate waiting because everything around us has conditioned us toward instant gratification? We have fast food, microwaves, streaming apps on our TV’s, and phones that give us access to anything we want whenever we want. Surely this can’t be good for us. Maybe it’s a combination of all these things swirling within us and more that makes us hate waiting.
Yet, Psalm 62 is here in our Bibles and is good for us. But this Psalm isn’t just about waiting generally, no, it’s all about waiting on God. “For God alone my soul waits…” is the repeated call. What is it this kind of waiting? What does it look like for our soul to wait on God? What moves us to wait on God without grumbling or complaining? Or perhaps a better question is: what is it about God that so settles the souls that makes us happy and content to wait on God?
The short answer is this: when we know who God is, our souls find rest in Him, and being at rest in Him, we are content to wait on Him in all of life. That’s the short answer, and that’s the big idea of Psalm 62. But for the longer answer, let’s work through these 12 verses to see that for ourselves.
My Soul Waits on 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.”
As the Psalm begins we see the heading tells us this Psalm is not just to be reflected on and read or studied, but sung and prayed. That’s why it’s for the choirmaster, the worship leader of Israel, this Psalm is to be played according to a certain tune ‘Jeduthun’ and be sung regularly by the people. Though we don’t know when or what circumstances gave rise to it, we learn here that David authored Psalm 62. v3-4 gives us a hint that David’s in trouble, being pressed in on ant 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? Because God is David’s rock, God is his salvation, and God is his fortress. That God is these things for David makes David feel so secure in God that he concludes he will not be greatly shaken. He says these things despite feeling like a 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 flattery and religious speech 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 did you 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, his salvation, his fortress, which keeps him from being too shaken? I think this is where we have trouble today. 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? 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 remain smooth and calm? I do think we trust God, but I think we all struggle with this word alone because we seem ever bent on adding something 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?’ Or ‘Yes I trust God…but just in case that doesn’t work out for me at least I still have…what? That ‘what’ reveals where our true hope is. And whatever it is, it’s an idol if you’re trusting in it alongside God. David’s heart here has a singular focus, his whole soul rests 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 of the Reformation 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 this the reformers gathered around five statements to teach what Christian faith is and what Christian faith looks like: Sola Scriptura – Scripture alone, Sola Gratia – Grace alone, Sola Fide – Faith alone, SolusChristus – Christ alone, and Soli Deo Gloria – to the Glory of God alone.
Something of that singular focus is present in David’s heart displayed for us here 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. When our souls are looking to, resting on, and trusting in other things than God we’ll have a restlessness about us. v1-4 shows us here a trust in God alone made that stills, calms, and quiets us even under stress and strife and trouble.
My soul waits on God alone, that’s v1-4, now see…
My Soul Waits on God My Refuge (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.”
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 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, but I also think there is progression to be seen in v5-6 too. It’s as if David has become more settled, 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 doesn’t speak of enemies but speaks of 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 it will never move. 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. This is so potent for David that he says “On God rests my salvation and my glory…” The word glory (meaning weight in Hebrew) describes all that David is, and that all of it is resting on God.
Church, are any of you shaken right now? Are any of you shuddering at what the future may bring? What are you looking to? What are you resting in? God is never shaken, never dreads, and never shudders. He sits in the heavens secure and stable, evermore! Happy is the man, the woman, the child, who places all their hope and glory in God.
How do we respond to a God this strong and trustworthy? v8 shows us, “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 it is natural for the believer to pour out their heart to God. Pouring out our heart to God means bringing all that’s in our hearts before God: burdens, grief, shame, guilt, fear, anger, frustrations, hopes, desires, expectations, joys, ambitions, delights. Whatever’s going on in us, God desires to hear it all, thus, we ought to bring it all.
As often as I can I enjoy to go hiking or climbing. And one of the things I love about this trips is what happens after the long hike. After having trekked all day, thinking about where you’re headed, it is oh so nice to arrive at camp, take off your heavy pack, and just sit and look out at the world God has made. You get so used to having the heavy pack on that when you take it off you feel light as a feather. This is something of what David is getting at here in v8 about pouring our hearts out to God. It’s as if all his burdens have weighed on him and once he pours out his heart to God he enjoys the relief of all the weight being lifted off him.
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 as the hymn writer Joseph Scriven said, “O what peace we often forfeit, 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!
We’ve seen what it is to wait on God alone, and find Him to be our refuge. Now see…
My Soul Waits on God Not Man (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. Man is but a breath. Both men of low and men of high estate. Remember David said in v7 that on God rests his glory, his weight. Now in v9 we find man to be as light as a breath. We’re meant to see the difference in weightiness and substance between God and man here. Do you see it? Do you know the great difference between God and us? Or do we just view God as a bigger version of ourselves? Or do we view ourselves are the weighty ones in the world? v9 is a clear reminder: God is entirely other from us. God is in another category than us. God is weighty, we are a vapor. God is eternal, we are a moment, God is mighty, we are weak. God is God, we are not. Therefore, our souls should not wait on man, but only on God. For if waiting on God is something of the essence of worship, waiting on man is the essence of idolatry.
The ESV translation of v9 is a bit interesting. 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 doesn’t refer to two kinds of men, instead 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. They would’ve gleaned that all the sons of Adam (all humanity) low and high alike, are but a breath. We’re like Adam’s sons. Abel was a vapor, here one moment and gone the next. And we’re like Cain, made by God and made for God but bent against God.
This leads David in, v10, to remind us our trust should not be in man. Why not, because the waters men swim in are extortion, robbery, and riches. 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.
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, 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 soul waits on God alone, his soul waits on God as a refuge, and his soul waits on God not man.
What does your soul wait on? Do we wait as David waits here? That’s the big question we need to answer. David knows God to be these things to him: his salvation, his rock, his fortress, his hope, his glory, his mighty rock, and his refuge…and from David knowing God to be these things, what does David do? His soul waits on God.
Do you know God to be these things for you? Do you then, wait on God, because you know God to be these things? Or do you run to other things, wait on other saviors, seeking to find rest for your soul? St. Augustine said it well when he said, “You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” This is where we see the gospel in Psalm 62. The boasts of this Psalm of God being a mighty rock for us point far ahead to Jesus Christ the rock of our salvation, who told us to build our lives on the rock and not the sand.
So, on whom, Church, is your soul built? Do you believe yourself to be strong and enough in all of life? Jesus says you’ll sink in life. But if you know yourself to be what you are, weak, destitute, in need of a Savior from sin, you’ll look to and build your life on the rock that is Christ! And knowing Him to be such a rock, you’ll be eager to wait on Him all your days.
Church, may our souls 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.
 Charles Spurgeon, Daily Treasure (England: Evangelical Press, 2021) 155.
 Spurgeon, 51-52.
 William S. Plumer, Psalms (Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Banner of Truth, 2016), 626.