Psalm 62

I Trust You God, No Matter What Happens

How hard is it to pray during the day?

Faith can be fickle. Prayer life can be a matter of convenience. When my life is in good shape with a regular routine, I can take the time to pray. But if some “emergency” takes priority, prayer life goes out the window. I'm so busy, I just don't take the time to even think about God.

In times of stress, prayer gets abused. It becomes a scream for help and immediate relief. “God, I need you now!” But those times soon pass, and prayer gets placed on the shelf in our minds for the next crisis.

I think we can all agree that the goal of a prayer life is to make faith consistent and reliably present throughout the day, so that, no matter what happens, we can call out to God, both in times of need and in times of rejoicing. If that were only the case. Reality makes a certain prayer in uncertain times a struggle.

Psalm 62 is a difficult song to pray. It mixed firm faith in the face of present uncertainty. God was the only answer, not leaders or fair weather friends or personal wealth. Trust was reserved only for the divine.

For the Chief Musician. To Jeduthan. A Psalm by David.

1 My soul rests in God alone.
My salvation is from him.
2 He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress—
I will never be greatly shaken.
3 How long will you assault a man,
would all of you throw him down,
Like a leaning wall, like a tottering fence?
4 They fully intend to throw him down from his lofty place.
They delight in lies.
They bless with their mouth, but they curse inwardly.

World English Bible

62:1-4 set the tone for the hymn. The first two verses established firm faith, while the last two spoke of the enemy's assault. The image of 62:2-4a described the siege of a city; God was like the fortress built upon a massive rock hilltop and the enemy's attempt to pull the defensive tower down (and thus take the fortress). Notice the shift in pronouns between 62:3 and 62:4; the psalmist turned from the second person “you” to the third person “they.” In light of the declaration of faith found in 62:1-2, the singer almost seems to use the declaration as challenge to his adversary in 62:3. The shift to “they” in verse 62:4 is more distant and more descriptive of the insincerity of the backbiter and slanderer (the social climbers at a royal court?).

Selah.

5 My soul, wait in silence for God alone,
for my expectation is from him.
6 He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress.
I will not be shaken.
7 With God is my salvation and my honor.
The rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.
8 Trust in him at all times, you people.
Pour out your heart before him.
God is a refuge for us.

In 62:5-8, the psalmist renewed the image of God as a fortress on a rock (62:6a, 7b, 8c). The response for such an image was waiting (62:5) and a firm, vigilant faith (62:6b, 8a). This was a deity that was worthy placing one's reputation upon (62:7a) because he was completely trustworthy (62:8b).

Selah.

9 Surely men of low degree are just a breath,
and men of high degree are a lie.
In the balances they will go up.
They are together lighter than a breath.
10 Don’t trust in oppression.
Don’t become vain in robbery.
If riches increase,
don’t set your heart on them.
11 God has spoken once;
twice I have heard this,
that power belongs to God.
12 Also to you, Lord, belongs loving kindness,
for you reward every man according to his work.

In 62:9-12, the psalmist compared humanity to divinity and found the former lacking. Both the low born and the nobility were worthless on the measuring scales like those found in the marketplace (62:9). Such men are ultimately not worthy of trust in the same way that the temptations of wealth can turn the heart away from God (implied in 62:10). Over and over, God spoke of his place of priority in the cosmos and the affairs of humanity (62:11) that was found in his covenant with Israel (“loving kindness” was a buzz phrase for the covenant). What was the proof of God's concern (and his power)? The answer lay in the blessings brought upon the believer in this life for his fidelity to the covenant (62:12b). (This last point has been difficult to square with the problem of evil in the world for many of the faithful; it does not address the problem of “why do bad things happen to good people?” In the context of the times, the reward was not seen in the light of eternal life).

Psalm 62 is a song we should remember in our tough times. It sets before us a vision of the faithful in times that deny us reasons to trust. Our situation might be tenuous, our friends might abandon us and even turn on us, our only companion might be loneliness, but we should always remember that God is with us. Only he is worthy of trust, for only he is truly steadfast.

Take time this week to review your prayer life? How can it be improved? How can you increase your prayer habit?