Do you like to wait? Do you enjoy being silent? If waiting and silence are not for you, then Psalm 62 may not be for you…or perhaps it is especially for you. This text shines forth with the reality that God is the only dependable source of hope, power, and rescue!1 God’s people can possess settled confidence in His justice for them and in the reality of His protection over them.
The Contrast (62:1-4). In the opening line, the psalmist sets forth God as the only one who can truly deliver. The rest of the Psalms flows out of this initial declaration of confidence. He waits silently for this salvation from God. The waiting game itself is not enjoyable; however, if we look to God, we can find rest, joy, and peace. Even in the middle of trying times like waiting for tests results, we have a Rock that allows us to remain unshaken.2
Part of the difficulty we do face with remaining calm and silent is that we are often taught to remain active (which is not inherently wrong). We rightfully want to be productive; however, this idea in Psalm 62 challenges us to pause, take a step back, and just quietly lean on God’s loyalty and strength. There may be something for us to do at some point, but that is not the point here.
The true contrast comes when we look at verses 3-4. We then see a contrast between God and the attackers, between a child of God’s stability and their enemies’ opposition. First, in verse 3 David says this has gone on for far too long as he asks, “How long?”3 Second, in verse 4 he lays bare the reality concerning their plan, their pleasure, and their ploys. As you read over this description, keep in mind that it is possible that David penned these words during the time of Absalom’s revolt.
While we will have our frustrations and our discouraged days, may we not allow our critics or those who stand in opposition to the truth to truly get to us. May we take personal possession, in a sense, of our God – consider the way the term “my” is used in this Psalm (14 total times in the first seven verses).
The Constant (62:5-8). As we make our way to the next portion of the text, we have seen David make certain statements about God and His relationship with God, but then we saw the works of evildoers against him. The constant is that nothing really changes for David, all because of the nature of his God.
One difference here is that the psalmist takes the truths in verses 1-2 and directs them toward himself in an imperative; what we could call self-talk or self-preaching occurs now. One English text reads: “Rest in God alone, O my soul, for my hope comes from Him.”4 When we are going through something like losing a loved one, reminding ourselves of certain realities is important. When we turn our attention to the Scriptures, we discover a wealth of material to employ in this exercise of “talking to yourself.”
God alone is our solid rock of salvation, our shelter in the storms of life (62:5-7). It is not that He simply offers us a place of shelter in these Psalms, it is that He Himself is our place of safety and security. We remind ourselves of the bloody stained cross, and of the bodiless tomb. We serve a risen Savior!
Based on this constant confidence in our God, we then turn to others and encourage them to join us. Note the way the language changes; there is a nice parallel transition with “my refuge is God” to “God is a refuge for us.”
Trust God in the good times and in the bad times. The pleasant times provide the dangers of complacency and ingratitude, for us to not properly acknowledge God in our hearts and in our ways. The tough times may tempt us to question God’s integrity or doubt His power; we may drift toward discouragement and end in full-on despair. Total trust in God is the answer for our wondering, wavering hearts.
Pouring out our heart to God involves giving our sorrows and struggles over to Him, but also praising Him. This is about releasing our soul’s deepest pains and about our greatest need to adore our King.
The Challenge (62:9-12). How long does a breath last? How much does a single breath weigh? Verse 9 states that everyone combined, from the highest to the lowest, is still lighter than a breath (cf. Is. 40:15). Human frailty and mortality should be so obvious to us, but it is something we often try to ignore or even pretend is not reality. Along with that, the challenge here is to face the emptiness of wealth. Some trust in their portfolios and their real estate investments; may we trust in God.
Another part of the challenge is to acknowledge that power and steadfast love belong to God. Just as we wait for God alone, God alone holds these attributes as His own. He will bring us all into judgment.5 We see God’s power in justice as He punishes evildoers and in love as He takes care of His people.
As we travel through life, others may use their power or wealth to attack us…but God is our rock of deliverance. He is far more powerful than all others combined!
1Due to similar themes, Psalm 61 may serve as an introductory companion to Psalm 62.
2Psalm 62:2 has “greatly shaken,” but verse 6 only has “shaken.” Is this hinting at a transformation as the Psalm progresses? Consider this note from the NET Bible: “The Hebrew texts adds רַבָּה (rabbah, ‘greatly’) at the end of the line. It is unusual for this adverb to follow a negated verb. Some see this as qualifying the assertion to some degree, but this would water down the affirmation too much (see. v. 6b, where the adverb is omitted). If the adverb has a qualifying function, it would suggest that the psalmist might be shaken, though not severely. This is inconsistent with the confident mood of the psalm. The adverb probably has an emphatic force here, ’I will not be greatly shaken’ meaning ’I will not be upended.’”
3Is David the leaning wall and tottering fence, or this describing his enemies in 62:3? Compare various English versions. While there is support for both angles, it makes the most sense to this writer in the flow of the Psalm for this to be about David, that this is his status without God (or even that this is merely the way his enemies perceive as weak and easily defeated, regardless of his God).
4Berean Standard Bible
562:12b is quoted in Romans 2:6; the Greek is almost the same as Proverbs 24:12. Compare with passages like 2 Corinthians 5:10; Romans 14:10-12. This does not contradict the role of grace and the blood of Jesus, but it does remind us that how we live in this life does matter in view of judgment.