Psalm 62: a song in silence
My Soul Waits for God Alone
To the choirmaster: according to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.
(1)For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.
(2)He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.
(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.
(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.
(8)Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.
(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.
(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.
For the director of music. For Jeduthun. A psalm of David.
There are some who believe David dedicated his songs to the Lord God Himself. To God as the Choirmaster.
Jeduthun was a musician appointed by David to lead praise to the Lord in the Tabernacle.
David left Zadok the priest and his fellow priests before the tabernacle of the LORD at the high place in Gibeon to present burnt offerings to the LORD on the altar of burnt offering regularly, morning and evening, in accordance with the Law of the LORD, which he had given Israel. With them were Heman and Jeduthun and the rest of those chosen and designed by name to give thanks to the LORD “for his love endures forever.” Heman and Jeduthun were responsible for the sounding of the trumpets and cymbals and for the playing of the other instruments for sacred song. The sons of Jeduthun were stationed at the gate.
1 Chronicles 16:39-42
There are no indicators that point to a specific time in David’s life except that he is king and giving orders regarding worship in the temple.
Psalm 62 is a song of God’s faithfulness and steadfast love.
I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken. So many enemies against one man– all of them trying to kill me. To them I’m just a broken-down wall or a tottering fence. They plan to topple me from my high position. They delight in telling lies about me. They praise me to my face but curse me in their hearts.
Psalm 62:1-4 NLT
I wait quietly before God.
Some Psalms open with shouts of praise or pleads for mercy, not this one. David’s heart is quiet. As in other Psalms, David does not put his trust in men or in himself. David does not trust in his own strength or the strength of men.
God, and God alone, provide him with strength and deliverance and salvation.
“The original is ‘only to God is my soul silence.’ The presence of God alone could awe his heart into quietude, submission, rest, and acquiescence; but when that was felt, not a rebellious word or thought broke the peaceful silence.”
–Charles Spurgeon, English preacher, 1834-1892
Commentators point out that the Hebrew word Ak appears six times in this Psalm. Commentators say that this word is almost untranslatable. What that means to us is that the true meaning of the word is lost, but what we can know is that David uses it a lot in this Psalm. It is usually translated as only, alone, truly.
Only God can save. Only God is trustworthy. Only God is a refuge.
“Psalm 62 seems to come from a time of trouble, yet it asks God for nothing. It is full of faith and trust, but has no fear, no despair, and no petition.”
–Pastor David Guzik, http://www.enduringword.com
There is some differences in the translation of verse 3 that are interesting. The question: Who is the broken wall? Who is the tottering fence?
How long will all of you attack a man to batter him, like a leaning wall, a tottering fence? ESV
So many enemies against one man–all of them trying to kill me. To them I’m just a broken-down wall or a tottering fence. NLT
How long will you threaten a man? Will all of you attack as if he were a leaning wall or a tottering stone fence? HCSB
How long will ye imagine mischief against a man? Ye shall be slain all of you; as a bowing wall shall ye be, and as a tottering fence. KJV
I don’t know the answer to the two questions, but I think this is an example of why it’s important to read different translations. The differences do not change the meaning, but they do help us understand better.
They praise me to my face but curse me in their hearts.
“Flattery has ever been a favourite weapon with the enemies of good men; they can curse bitterly enough when it serves their truth; meanwhile, since it answers their purpose, they mask their wrath, and with smooth words pretend to bless those who they would willingly tear in pieces.”
David teaches us to be silent in times like this. The best approach in dealing with gossips and slanderers and false friends is talking only to God about it, and otherwise keeping our mouths shut. Interesting…
Selah, Interlude pause and reflect upon God’s faithfulness.
Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. My victory and honor comes from God alone, He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.
Psalm 62:5-8 NLT
What beautiful verses about waiting for the Lord. We know, as David knew, that God is faithful. God will see all of our problems and worries through. He will finish what He started. But we have to wait. We have to rest in the promise that God is faithful and will do this. It is not up to us when or how. We just put our trust in the Lord and wait.
God promises He will be faithful.
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40 are the words of God, through the prophet Isaiah, sent to King Hezekiah and signal that very bad times in the history of Israel are ahead. But God’s words to the people are those of reassurance in His faithfulness and love.
To wait on the Lord.
God is our hope. Our rock. Our salvation. Our fortress. Our victory. Our refuge.
Verse 8 shows us that whatever was going on for David during this time, there were still good and faithful, God fearing-folks who followed him. He wasn’t alone.
“Trust in him at all times, you people: David felt what was good for him was good for others, also. As a leader of God\’s people he spoke wisdom to them, reminding them that God was worthy at all times of their trust in him.”
–Pastor David Guzik
Common people are as worthless as a puff of wind, and the powerful are not what they appear to be. If you weigh them on the scales, together they are lighter than a breath of air. Don’t make your living by extortion or put your hope in stealing. And if your wealth increases, don’t make it the center of your life. God has spoken plainly, and I have heard it many times: Power, O God, belongs to you; unfailing love, O Lord, is yours. Surely you repay all people according to what they have done.
Psalm 62:9-12 NLT
Commentators point out that the words translated “common people” and “powerful” here, or “low born” and “high born” in other translations, are just two different Hebrew words for “man” or “mankind.” Some have tried to understand a different meaning between “low estate” and “high estate,” but maybe David was just using poetry to write, varying word choice.
Either way, all are vapors in the wind; lighter than a breath of air; less than a vapor.
Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
James 4:14 KJV
While David has known riches and comforts, he has also known poverty and simplicity. In that sense, he was a different kind of monarch. He points out here some things that are the fall of man: the trust in and love of wealth, the desire for wealth, the dishonesty that so often comes around money.
Maybe Paul referenced this verse when he wrote to Timothy;
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
1 Timothy 6:17-19
I love those last words: “so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life!”
The KJV translates this verse as:
Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
All the other translations that I studied seem to refer to this life; “gaining life that is truly life (MSG),” “take hold of the life which is life indeed (RSV),” “take hold of that which is truly life (ESV),” “so that they may take hold of life that is real (HCSB),” “so that they may experience true life (NLT).”
What David and Paul in his letter to Timothy may be referring to the idea of what Jesus spoke of:
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
I think that David and Paul and Jesus are talking about our true life in heaven. How we choose to live our lives on earth most definitely affects our eternal lives in ways that we do not understand. But I also think, as you can see with the varying translations, that there is a “true life” and “a life worth living” while we are here on earth. David knew this. Paul knew this.
So let’s walk this life with our eyes on heaven, but know that God will provide for us with a “life that is real and worth living” here on earth. My translation: God will give us purpose here.
One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard:
“Power belong to you, God, and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”
“You reward everyone according to what they have done.”
Psalm 62:11-12 NIV
And this is what is truly on David’s heart. He ends his song with a summary of God in his eyes. The two things that David knows about God are His power and His mercy.
David ends with his favorite description of God, the beautiful Old Testament word hesed: lovingkindness, mercy, faithfulness, God’s covenant love throughout time.
Isn’t it amazing, this picture of God’s hesed love mixed with the power of a Creator God?
“Man neither helps us nor rewards us; God will do both. In him power and grace are eternally resident; our faith should therefore patiently hope and quietly wait, for we shall surely see the salvation of God.”
The 5 Solas of the Protestant Reformation:
Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Solus Christus, Soli Deo Gloria, Sola Scriptura
(In grace alone, faith alone, Christ alone, God’s glory alone, scripture alone)
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Father in heaven, thank you for your love and your power and your mercy. Thank you for your promises and faithfulness throughout time. May we find peace in the quiet today and rest in our souls with you. Thank you that we can shout for joy and cry for help and wait in silence. We love you and we ask for your love and mercy today. Bless our homes, bless our loved ones. Amen.