PSALM 62 TALK: IN GOD ALONE – IN CHRIST ALONE

PSALM 62 TALK: IN GOD ALONE – IN CHRIST ALONE

(A Psalm that explores how the God of the bible is our only hope for Salvation and security in this life an the next)

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INTRODUCTION

The week I started my study of Psalm 62 turned out to be a very difficult week for my family on both sides with a relative suffering as she was dying, a close family member almost dying in an operation and another family member being rushed off to hospital in an ambulance. In the midst of this I realized Psalm 62 has 4 direct references to concept of trusting in “God Alone”, verses 1, 2, 5 and 6. Added to this is the words in verse 8 that says,

“Trust in him (God) at all times”

The words “In God Alone” feature in its Christian form “In Christ Alone” in a very popular modern hymn written by Stuart Townsend and Kieth Getty in 2002. In an article on Townsend by Debra Akins, Townsend said this about his Hymn,

“I’ve been amazed by the response to this song. We’ve had some incredible e-mails about how people have been helped by the song through difficult circumstances”.

Townsend goes on to cite one such e-mail from a U.S soldier serving in Iraq who he says,

“Prayed through each verse of the song every day and how the promises of God’s protection and grace helped to sustain him through the enormous pressures and dangers of life in a war zone”.

Townsend explains the incredible success of the hymn with these words,

“We in the West have had our sense of safety and security brutally torn apart by recent world events, and it’s caused many to re-evaluate the foundations of their life. I feel that the song has helped to stir faith in many believers that God really is our protector; that our lives are in His unshakable hands”.

The first verse of this great hymn goes like this,

In Christ alone my hope is found,

He is my light, my strength, my song;

This Cornerstone, this solid Ground,

Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.

What heights of love, what depths of peace,

When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!

My Comforter, my All in All,

Here in the love of Christ I stand.

This is the sentiment of David’s Psalm 62 which states and explores the concept that our hope for salvation and security is found in God alone and by using this concept I want to now open up Psalm 62. David’s God Alone becomes Christ Alone because Christ is God come in the flesh (John 1: 14) to save us and give us life in abundance (John 10: 10).

Concerning the Hebrew heading and the possible context of the original writing of the Psalm I will only comment on the words in the Hebrew heading that reads,

“For the director of music, For Jeduthun””

The name Jeduthun is someone I have commented on before in my introduction to Psalm 39 and this is what I said about him then.

“It seems that Jedutham had two more Psalms given to him, one more by David, Psalm 62 and one by Asaph (another known author of Psalms) Psalm 77. From the brief references of this man Jedutham we can learn three things about him. One was that he had a unique position in the role of music in the Tabernacle in David day, (1 Chronicles 16: 37) and the Temple in Solomon’s day, (2 Chronicles 5: 12 – 14), he was one of the chosen Levites to lead the singing and playing of music. Secondly he used his musical gifts to prophesy or proclaim the word of the Lord, 1 Chronicles 25: 1. Finally Jedutham years after David’s time was called, “The kings seer” or prophet a kind of special adviser of King David, (2 Chronicles 35: 15). So David gives this man who had a unique position in the worship of Israel this Psalm for wider use in the worship of God”.

I recently read a very interesting article on who Jeduthan probably was and what connection he had to David by a man named Dennis F. McCorkle who believes that Jeduthan and Ethan (who wrote Psalm 89) are the same person and that he may have taught David music and the playing of the harp. He says this about the significance of this,

“Even though not specifically detailed in the Biblical texts, from the information we do have within the scriptures, we have a possible scenario as to how David learned his art as a musician and his connection to the Levite musical system. Jeduthun was his teacher and David, no doubt one of his prize students. This interconnected relationship between the Levite singers/musicians and David is further emphasized when we see that the Levite Heman, the lead singer, was also the grandson of Samuel the prophet, David’s mentor. David was, on many levels, intimately familiar with the key players and personalities within the Levite musical system by time he became king over reunited and combined nation of Israel”.

So David was yet again experiencing persecution from his enemies as verse’s 3 and 4 indicate and through this he wrote a song about it and this song was then passed on to Jeduthun for musical arrangements and for the general use in Israel’s worship.

My breakdown for this Psalm is:

  1. IN GOD ALONE IS MY SALVATION (1 – 4)
  2. IN GOD ALONE IS OUR HOPE (5 – 8)
  3. IN GOD ALONE IS CONTRASTED WITH OTHER ALTERNATIVES (9 – 12)
  1. IN GOD ALONE IS MY SALVATION (1 – 4)

This Psalm has three equal sections of four verses each and this is well indicated by the “Selah’s” which is either a musical pause or a time when singing stopped for a instrumental interlude so that the congregation could reflect on what has just been sung.

I have broken this first section down into two parts:

  1. Trust in God alone for rest, salvation, security and confidence (1 – 2)
  2. Trust in God alone even when opposition or difficulty comes upon us (3 – 4)
  1. Trust in God alone for rest, salvation, security and confidence (1 – 2)

The Psalm opens with a clear and positive word of faith,

“My soul finds rest in God alone” (vs. 1a)

Both Leopold and Kidner point out that the original Hebrew words here speak of waiting silently on God for help and deliverance. Leopold believes this about the opening verse of this Psalm,

“The verse is almost untranslatable for the Hebrew says, ‘Only unto God silence my soul”.

Kidner says this about these opening words,

“The words have all been said – or perhaps no words will come – and the issue rests with him alone”.

Leupold picks up the key word “only” used at least four times in this Psalm when he translates the opening words the following way,

“Only as it looks to God is my soul utterly resigned”

This is not some kind of blind trust in the will of God, a form of religious fatalism but a trust in a great God who David ends up saying is a God who is both strong and loving in verse 12, the last verse of this Psalm.

Spurgeon eloquently says,

“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. The proverb that speech is silver but silence is gold is more than true in this case.”

Note also it is David’s “soul” that finds rest and in Hebrew thinking the soul is the real us that is sometime It is sometimes called, the living consciousness that makes us who we really are. Only in our death is our soul disconnected from our bodies as in this life they are totally integrated as one living being. Paul spoke to the Philippians about the two states of being in Philippians 1: 23 – 25,

“I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith”.

David says in the second part of verse 1,

“My Salvation comes from him.”

David knew that nobody else could help him or deliver him but God alone and he had proven this on many occasions and had spoken of it in many other Psalms like the final words of Psalm 3 written on the first morning of his escape from his rebellious son Absalom, Psalm 3: 8,

“From the Lord comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people”.

David was in a hopeless and dangerous situation when he wrote these words but he was delivered or saved by God alone. God led Absalom to take poor advice from one of his trusted advisers who told him to leave David out in the wilderness and wait unto he was better placed to attack and destroy his father David and his followers. This gave David time to re-group with his men and they led by his faithful general Joab eventually defeated Absalom and killed him.

David on many occasions only escaped death because of God’s love. David knew this especially after his sins of adultery and murder. He was only saved from these sins because of God’s grace or un -merited love. He speaks of this in many of his Psalms as we see in Psalm 32: 1 and 2,

“Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and whose spirit is no deceit”.

And in verse 10 of that same Psalm he speaks of God’s love with these words,

“Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him”.

It was in the great reformation of the 16th Century that the church re-discovered the true message of the bible concerning how we are saved by faith in God alone. Up to that time the Christian church had added to faith our good works but through great Christian thinkers and leaders like Martin Luther, John Calvin and many others the church found again the true Gospel message of Christ.

Passages like Ephesians 2: 8 and 9 make it clear that we are saved by God’s grace alone given to us through faith,

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast”.

Out of the grace of God alone flow all the help and blessings of God which David goes on to speak about in verse 2,

“He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken”.

David pin- points three blessings God gives us if we only would simply trust in him and they are;

  1. My Rock – A secure place to go to in the midst of turmoil and danger (see my Psalm talk on the previous Psalm, Psalm 61 for a more detailed explanation on this great concept).
  1. My Salvation – Which he has already declared in verse 1 and which I

have already commented on. Basically the word Salvation here could be seen as deliverance from his enemies.

Of course our greatest enemy is sin and its consequences and Jesus has delivered us from that by his death on the cross where he paid for our sins once and for all time.

  1. Fortress – Another term like rock that David often referred to in many of his

Psalms. These terms point to God as David’s safe protector who helped him

through the very difficult life he had to live where he was often under attack by his enemies.

This conflict with his enemies is a central theme of the Books 1 and 2 of the Psalms established way back in Psalm 2: 2,

“The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One”.

 David is of course God’s anointed one and God’s promised protection for his anointed in Psalm 2 verses 3 and 4,

“The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill”.

 David completes this verse with again great words of faith,

“I will never be shaken”.

 I like Spurgeon’s translates these words as,

“I shall not be greatly moved”

 And says this about them,

“I shall not be greatly moved. His personal weakness might cause him to be somewhat moved; but his faith would come in to prevent any great disturbance; not much would be tossed about. Moved, as one says, ‘but not removed’. Moved like a ship at anchor which swings with the tide, but is not swept away by the tempest”.

 When I was in my early twenties I became very much involved in folk singing and sang with a number of folk combo’s and one folk song we sang in those days went like this,

“We’re on our way to heaven

We shall not be moved

On our way to heaven

We shall not be moved

Just like a tree that standing by the waterside

We shall not be moved.

  1. Trust in God alone even when opposition or difficulty comes upon us (3 – 4)

As I have already said, most of the Psalms in books 1 and 2 deal with the prophecy on the struggle David would have as the anointed king of God against the enemies of God and in verses 3 and 4 of this Psalm David now speaks of this opposition that probably lead to the writing of this Psalm.

These verses say,

“How long will you assault a man? Would all of you throw him down- this leaning wall, this tottering fence? They fully intend to topple him from his lofty place; they take delight in lies. With their mouths they bless, but in their hearts they curse”.

Many times David faced great opposition right throughout his life once the prophet Samuel anointed him as king of Israel while King Saul was still on the throne.

David faced assault and treacherous words during his eight year battle with King Saul when Saul and his armies sought to capture David and kill him. During David’s entire reign as king he faced assault and treacherous words from Nations around Israel who sought to overthrow him as king.

Finally he faced assault and treacherous words from his very own son Absalom who also sought to kill and overthrow his father as king of Israel.

At any of these stages of David’s life the words of Psalm 62: 3 and 4 fit and shed light on the internal pain and anguish this opposition would have given David.

I would like to break this description of his opposition opponents and the pain it caused David into three parts:

  1. The force of the opposition contrasted by his human weakness (vs. 3)
  2. The intensions of his opposition contrasted by his status (vs. 4a)
  3. The devious tactics of his opposition (vs. 4b)
  1. The force of the opposition contrasted by his human weakness (vs. 3)

We must always remember that people like David in the bible where flesh and blood individual just like us.

They were not some kind of super humans that could not be harmed or hurt by those who they fought against. This is why David speaks so honestly and humanly about the opposition he faced at the time of writing Psalm 62.

He speaks of the force of this opposition and the anguish it caused him with these words,

“How long will you assault a man? Would all of you throw him down- this leaning wall, this tottering fence?

One well aimed shot of an arrow or one good thrust of a sword from an enemy could have killed David. He was up against great force from his enemies who were using all the force they could muster to topple David. They where assaulting him both verbally and sometimes physically as well.

David felt the full force of their opposition and assault. Adam Clarke opens up and explains the actual Hebrew word David uses here for “Assault”

“The original word, wttwht tehothethu, has been translated variously; rush upon, rage against, stir yourselves up, thrust against; the root is tthhathath or hth hathah, to rush violently upon, to assault. It points out the disorderly riotous manner in which the rebellion was conducted”.

David, humanly speaking would have felt up tight and fearful as he faced the vicious attack of his enemies. This is why he pictures himself as a,

“Leaning wall, tottering fence”

I once visited an old bible college friend who had moved to Tasmania and my wife and I hired a large R.V vehicle and before my friend came home from work I got his son to help me back my R.V into his backyard but I accidently hit his old wooden fence and the entire fence fell to the ground destroying it completely. It was both an embarrassing and painful meeting I had with my friend when he came home that day. The problem was caused by the old rotted nature of the fence and the force that a large R.V could have once it hit it.

David felt like that old rotted fence that humanly speaking was very vulnerable when compared to the power of his enemies. Of course David also had faith to believe that as he said in verse 2, God was his, “Rock” and “fortress” and with God protecting him he was very strong.

  1. The intensions of his opposition contrasted by his status (vs. 4a)

David makes it clear in the next verse what his enemies intension where,

“They fully intend to topple him from his lofty place”

David’s enemies wanted to bring him down or get him off the throne of Israel. If this is the actual meaning of the words, “his lofty place” then this would fit the historical context of the Absalom rebellion when Absalom sought to topple his father from the throne of Israel.

If this Psalm was written during the dangerous years of the pursuit of Saul then David’s lofty place was his high standing with God as opposed to Saul’s fallen standing with God owing to his rebellion to God.

Jesus faced great opposition from his enemies during his ministry on earth. This opposition came from mainly the religious leaders of his day who rejected his lofty claims of coming from God and being the same as God. They sought to topple him from the lofty place he claimed he had with God.

Matthew records for us in Matthew 26: 63 – 68, how the religious leaders at Jesus “kangaroo court” before the Sanhedrin verbally and physically assaulted Jesus and sought to topple him from his lofty place,

“The high priest said to him, ‘I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God’. ‘Yes, it is as you say”, Jesus replied, ‘But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven’.

Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, ‘He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy, What do you think’?

Then they spat in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him and said, ‘Prophesy to us, Christ, Who hit you”.

Many Christians throughout history and even today face this same kind of vicious underserved violent opposition simply because they dare to identify with Jesus and claim him as the King of Kings and savior of the world.

This opposition both in David’s day, Jesus day and even today comes from the evil one himself who is leading a rebellion against God that will and must fail as Jesus has defeated death and the Devil once and for all time when he died on the cross and rose in victory in the resurrection.

Tyrants throughout history have often acted in a vicious and desperate way towards their enemies as they know they are facing certain defeat and this is how the Devil and his many followers are acting even today as they face the certain judgment of God they know is coming.

  1. The devious tactics of his opposition (vs. 4b)

The second half of verse four spells out in a few words the devious tactics this opposition used against David,

“They take delight in lies. With their mouths they bless, but in their hearts they curse”.

When you read the description of the rebellious acts and words of Absalom leading up to his actual assault on his father in 2 Samuel 15 you can see these words of David fleshed out. Let me recount just one part of Absalom treacherous speech in 2 Samuel 15: 2 – 4,

“He (Absalom) would get up early and stand by the side of the road leading to the city gate. Whenever anyone came with a complaint to be placed before the king for a decision, Absalom would call out to him, ‘What town are you from? He would answer, ‘’Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel’. Then Absalom would say to him, ‘Look, your claims are valid and proper, but there is no representative of the king to hear you’. And Absalom would add, ‘If only I were appointed judge in the land! Then everyone who has a complaint or case could come to me and I would see that he gets justice”.

Absalom is sounding like he is an interested loyal son but is using lies and deceit to undermine his father’s reign as king. He would have mouthed blessings for his father but in his heart he was cursing him.

This then could have been David’s background to his statement of faith of how in God alone he found rest and Salvation (or deliverance) from his enemies and how in the midst of such great and powerful opposition he found God alone as his rock and fortress.

We to can know that in Christ alone we have this kind of help and assurance as Jude wrote at the end of his short letter in Jude verses 24 and 25,

“To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy- to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

2 . IN GOD ALONE IS OUR HOPE (5 – 8)

We return then to similar words to the opening two verses which mean that David is singing a kind of refrain that states clearly that he trusts in God alone.

I have broken this second section into two parts:

  1. Trusting in God alone is our hope (5 – 7)
  2. Trusting in God alone should be shared (8)
  1. Trusting in God alone is our hope (5 – 7)

As I have already indicated these words in verses 5 – 7 is a type of refrain David is using in this Psalm which is clearly a song or hymn written for public worship and given to one of the heads of music of David’s time Jeduthun. The opening verses therefore read very similar to these verses but the small changes are significant.

Leopold points out three main changes and these will be the basis of my comments on this part of the second section of the Psalm.

  1. “Complete resignation to God’s will”

Verse 5 reads,

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him”

As at the beginning David states that he is happily resigned to what God has done and will do for him. The big change in the refrain is the word, “hope” as opposed to “Salvation” or “deliverance” in verse one.

Hope is a tricky word for us to understand because of its current normal meaning which is something like, “I hope it will happen” or “I desire it will happen” but the word hope in the bible has a different meaning than this.

Paul in Romans 8: 24, 25 uses the word “hope” with a slightly different meaning,

“For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently”.

Hope here is a certain hope which we have through faith in what God has done for us in the past and what God promises to do for us in the future. I like the way the writer to the Hebrews speaks of our hope in Christ as an anchor in Hebrews 6: 19,

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure”.

This is the kind of hope David is speaking of in his refrain which is like what Spurgeon pointed out in his comments in the previous section on “I will never be shaken” or moved which is of a boat being moored which might move around as the tide pushes on the boat but it will never be pushed away as the rope holds fast the boats mooring or anchor. Our mooring or anchor is God alone or Christ alone who died for our sins on the cross and has promised to one day return from heaven to take us there to be with him forever. He also promises to be with us in this life via the Holy Spirit who will lead us into all truth and give us power to fight the evil one’s attempts to destroy us.

David had faith or hope in God alone even as he faced powerful enemies who sought to destroy him. He had God as his anchor in the storms of this life.

  1. “Confidence and peace grow with prayer”

In verse 2 David declares,

“I will never be shaken”

Now in verse 6 there is a subtle difference,

“He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken”.

It seems only a little difference but Leopold picked up the subtle difference by saying,

“Confidence and peace grow with prayer”.

David seems even more confident in his faith in God alone as he sings this hymn in the face of attacks from his powerful enemies. He knew that God was the rock he could cling to, the fortress he could run to which meant that no matter what his enemies threw at him he would not be shaken or as others translate, moved.

  1. “An evaluation of what God means to him”

Leopold points out that the final difference of the second refrain is verse 7 which is a,

“Evaluation of what God means to him”.

The verse reads,

“My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge”.

This evaluation Leopold points out is in the context of his present situation of the vicious assaults of his enemies. He repeats a number of terms of what God means to him like, “Salvation”, Mighty Rock and Refuge and adds a new idea,

“”My honor depends on God”

Some commentators like the word “glory” instead of honor and this means then that David’s glory, if he has any is merely God’s glory shining through him. Leupold says,

“One glories in God when he speaks thus, for God is his all in all”.

Paul spoke of the glory of Christ shining in us in 2 Corinthians 3: 18,

“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever- increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit”.

People who do not acknowledge God or know God in their lives glory in other things like their amazing bodies or mind or wealth but as we will see in the final section of this Psalm these things are false hopes or delusions.

We know they are false hopes because of the certainty of death. Death hangs over our lives like our shadow from the day we are born. We can ignore the certainty of death but it will not go away and no matter how beautiful our bodies, mind or wealth is death makes them useless and a false hope or a delusion.

However David knew that God alone was his only hope and God alone therefore was his honor or glory.

I like the last verse of Townsend and Getty’s hymn “In Christ alone”,

No guilt in life, no fear in death,

This is the power of Christ in me;

From life’s first cry to final breath.

Jesus commands my destiny.

No Power of hell, no scheme of man,

Can ever pluck me from his hand;

Till He returns or calls me home,

Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.

  1. Trusting in God alone should be shared (8)

David was a great Godly king for most of his reign even though he did make some big mistakes in his life he always came back to God in repentance and faith and he also always sought to teach and encourage his people.

I have mentioned before in other Psalm talks, especially my Psalm talk on Psalm 51 how even in one of his darkest hours when he had to repent of his sins and ask for God’s forgiveness after committing adultery and murder he prayed,

“Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you” (Psalm 51: 13)

 Now in verse 8 David turns from speaking to God to speaking to his people,

“Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge”.

David has been speaking to and teaching his people right throughout this Psalm as it was a song he wrote for his people to use in worship. However in this song he now addresses his people and us to do two things,

  1. Trust in God at all times
  2. Pour out your hearts to God

David is teaching us how we should not keep the message of our hope and salvation found in God alone to ourselves but rather we too should share it with others and particularly God’s people who are known to us today as God’s church. 

  1. Trust in God at all times

The first thing David shares with his people is the need for them to trust in God at all times.

David knew that God alone was his only hope and salvation and he wants his people to know this as well. Spurgeon takes up the central idea of these words and give us this wise advice,

“God at all times deserves our confidence. We at all times need to place our confidence in him. A day without trust in God is a day of wrath, even if it be a day of mirth”.

 Jesus on many occasions asks us to trust in him at all times, like the first verse of John 14,

“Do not let your hearts be troubled, Trust in God; trust also in me”.

 Paul also encouraged believers he wrote to trust in God at all times, like his encouraging words to the Romans towards the end of the letter he wrote to them where he prays in Romans 15: 13,

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may over flow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”.

 David like Paul knew that our only hope in this life lies in God alone and our connection to this great God of refuge is trust or faith which is simply looking to God for help and protection at all times of our lives.

  1. Pour out your hearts to God

 The principal way we look to God or trust in God at all times is through prayer. Now David encourages his people to,

“Pour out your hearts to him (God)”

 Spurgeon beautifully fleshes this out with these words,

“You, to whom his love is revealed, reveal yourselves to him. 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; let him be your only father confessor, for he only can absolve you when he has heard your confession”.

 We all need God at all times of our lives and especially when for some reason or another we just cannot cope. David had many times like this in his life and we have seen in this Psalm that he was up against vicious and powerful enemies who sought to do him harm.

He opened this Psalm speaking of how his soul found rest in God alone and now he encourages his people to do the same.

We need to both go to God in prayer at all times and encourage others to do the same. I can remember many times in my life when a godly brother or sister has encouraged me to pray when I faced some kind of crisis in my life. I now seek to encourage you to do the same. Go to God alone when you face the trials and tribulations of this life for in God alone will you find his peace and assistance.

I love the encouraging words of Paul about going to God in prayer and what that will achieve in Philippians 4: 6 and 7,

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus”.

  1. IN GOD ALONE IS CONTRASTED WITH OTHER ALTERNATIVES (9 – 12)

At first glance the final section of this Psalm seems to depart from the central theme of trust in God alone. There is no direct reference to the term, “God Only” that appeared at least five times in the first two sections of the Psalm but as we delve a little deeper into this last section we will see that this section is an application of the central theme of trusting in God alone.

I have broken this final section into four parts:

  1. Trust in God alone rather than mankind (vs. 9)
  2. Trust in God alone rather than oppression (10a)
  3. Trust in God alone rather than riches or money (10b)
  4. God alone is both strong and loving (11 – 12)
  1. Trust in God alone rather than mankind (vs. 9)

 David in this last section now offers three alternatives to trusting in God alone and infers that these are both useless and dangerous alternatives. The first of these is to trust in man or mankind. David covers all mankind in this verse with these words,

“Lowborn men are but a breath, the highborn are but a lie; if weighed on a balance they are nothing; together they are only a breath”.

 David is saying whether your born poor or rich doesn’t matter compared to God you are simply no more than a fleeting breath of air. To trust in the wisdom and so called power of mankind as opposed to trusting in God alone is a lie or a delusion as Kidner believes is a better translation for the Hebrew word for “a lie”.

So many people today put their trust in either themselves or modern knowledge often science. I am not an anti – science person and have met and read many wonderful men and women of science who are confirmed Christians. One of the problems with the science verses Christians debate is that things go off the rails when Christians try to turn the bible into a science text book and science tries to turn scientific theories like evolution into a belief system for our lives.

Both science and the bible are two different things as science seeks to answer the question of how the universe was made and physically operates why the bible seeks to answer the question of who made it and why he made the universe. When both of these areas of understanding work together great and wonderful truth and meaning is found.

Let me put it this way God is the eternal one who made and designed all things and what science is discovering is how he actually did that which is so vast and complex I believe we are only touching on the very edge of what can be known and discovered.

Anyway to put your faith and trust in modern atheistic science is in David’s words a delusion.

The fleeting nature of man or mankind is spoken of in James 4: 14,

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes”.

 All thinking both religious and secular that provides spiritual answers to life outside of the truth of the bible is also a lie or a delusion. This is not a statement of bigotry but a statement of fact for only the God of the bible is the one who reveals the truth about himself and how we can know him. I looked more closely at this concept in my Psalm talk on Psalm 56 entitled, “Trust in the God of the Bible”.

John 1: 14 declares that Jesus is God’s word become flesh and this is why Jesus made the exclusive claim in John 14: 6 that says,

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”.

 So if we trust in anyone or anything else other than God Alone – Christ alone we are trusting in a lie or better still a delusion.

  1. Trust in God alone rather than oppression (10a)

In verse 10 David, I think is having a go at those who are opposing him at the time of the writing this Psalm. The actions of Absalom and his followers during his rebellion fit well with the description David gives in verse 10.

The first part of this verse reads,

“Do not trust in extortion or take pride in stolen goods”

 John Calvin nails what David is really saying hear when he writes,

“We are here taught that there can be no real trusting in God until we put away all those vain confidences which prove so many means of turning us away from him. The Psalmist bids us remove whatsoever would have this tendency, and purge ourselves of every vicious desire that would usurp the place of God in our hearts”.

 Absalom had turned away from trusting in God alone even though he gave lip service to having faith in God so that he could have the chance to oppress and extort the people of Israel. His gains of property and material things where deemed by David as stolen goods when he forcefully took the crown of Israel and sought to destroy its rightful king.

Many businesses today simply extort people for the pure aim of gaining as much as they can from those they say they are seeking to help. Such business practices are simply godless theft and they too will stand under God’s judgment for such actions.

We need to heed the word of John Calvin when he wrote,

“Remove whatsoever would have this tendency, and purge ourselves of every vicious desire that would usurp the place of God in our hearts”.

 I am not anti – business enterprise but it too should be done in a way that reveals trust in God alone. I know and have met many Christian business men and women who conduct their businesses in this way and let me tell you God seems to bless them with even more success in business than many of the Godless extortionist seem to have.

I like the words of Jesus in Matthew 6: 33 as the motto not only for business people but all people to live by;

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”.

  1. Trust in God alone rather than riches or money (10b)

You don’t have to be a greedy business person to have a problem with money or as Paul put it, “the love of money”, 1 Timothy 6: 10. For even very poor people can be absorbed in the pursuit of money through gambling or some other life consuming activity.

David highlights the problem of trusting in money rather than trusting in God alone in verse 10b,

“Though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them”.

 Again David is pin- pointing problems his enemies had in these words and he is warning both them and other people in Israel who might be tempted to follow them the danger and futility of trusting in riches and money rather than trusting in God alone.

As I said before Paul made special mention of the problem of trusting in money rather than God in 1 Timothy 6: 6 – 10,

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pieced themselves with many griefs”.

Sadly I have also known many people who claimed Christ as their Savior and Lord but as time went along they have fallen into the devil’s trap of money and riches at the expense of trusting in God alone and now their faith is cold or non- existent.

  1. God alone is both strong and loving (11 – 12)

 David completes his song or Psalm with a clear and wonderful statement of why he trusts in God alone,

“One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, Oh God, are strong, and that you, Oh Lord, are loving”.

 The language device David uses here Leopold calls, a “proverbial saying”, often used in the Book of Proverbs, like Proverbs 30: 18f, to make a clear and final statement about how he knows we must trust in God alone and why he is worthy to be trusted alone. So let’s look at:

  1. How we know we should trust in God alone (vs. 11a)
  2. Why we must trust in God alone (11b and 12)
  1. How we know we should trust in God alone (vs. 11a)

 David’s faith in God alone was not based on his feelings about God or some kind of vain hope but rather he says,

“One thing God has spoken”

 As I sought to open up and expound in my Psalm talk on Psalm 56 entitled, “Trust in the God of the Bible” David’s faith is anchored in the revealed word of God, which we call the Bible. My Psalm talk on Psalm 56 has proven to be very popular and I encourage you to look it up some time. The reason for its popularity is I think because there has been a concerted attack from both within and outside the church today to undermine the authority of the bible. Some preacher’s today water down the authority of God’s word by saying the bible contains the word of God rather than saying the bible is the word of God.

Those who say the bible contains the word of God then proceed to point out what parts of the bible and its teachings are God’s word and what parts are not and why. This leads to people trusting in what I call “intellectualism” rather than God alone. Intellectualism is another way of trusting in the thinking of man rather than the word of God which I commented on in the last section of this Psalm.

David did not gain his understanding of God by going to the right university and gaining a degree in theology but rather he read the word of God and heard God speak clearly from it.

The wonderful truth of how God reveals himself is that both those with simple intellect and great human intellect can read the bible and both find God and his word to them. This does not mean I do not believe studying the bible in Bible Colleges or Universities has no value but rather the value of that study is whether or not the bible as the word of God is at the centre of that study if it is not than it too is a delusion.

As Paul wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3: 16 and 17,

“All scripture is God –breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work”.

  1. Why we must trust in God alone (11b and 12)

 So what did David pick up about God from his reading or hearing the word of God read to him?

The answer to this is his basis for trusting in God alone and it is basically two great truths about God:

  1. God is strong (11b)
  2. God is loving (12)
  1. God is strong (11b)

 David has spoken a number of times in this Psalm about how strong or powerful his God is. He has used terms like Rock, Fortress and Refuge to describe this in both this Psalm and many others.

David knew that it was God who made this world as he states in Psalm 8: 1,

“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens”.

 And Psalm 19: 1,

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands”.

 David also knew that his God revealed to him through his word was a mighty sovereign Lord or King over everything. As David declares in Psalm 47: 7 – 8,

“For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise. God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne”.

 It is this great strong and powerful God David was trusting in alone and it was this great strong God David had experienced both salvation and protection. He knew that trusting in anyone or anything else was a delusion so he now says that the essence of what he knows about God is that his God is strong.

Spurgeon comments on trusting in the strength and power of God alone with these words,

“”Power belongeth unto God. He is the source of it, and in him it actually abides. This one voice of God we ought to hear so as to be preserved from putting our trust in creatures in whom there can be no power, since all power is in God”.

  1. God is loving (12)

 Finally David completes his Psalm about trusting in God alone by declaring the second great thing God’s word has revealed to him about his God namely,

“You, Oh Lord, are loving”

 Another great truth about God David has continually come back to is the love and mercy of his God. David simply could not claim to have a relationship with God if his God was not a great God of love or particularly grace. Grace simply means love that we do not deserve and after David committed the two great sins of adultery and murder he needed desperately the grace or the underserved love of God to forgive him and to restore him to a right relationship with his God.

As David says in Psalm 32: 10,

“Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him”.

 Or Psalm 51: 1,

“Have mercy on me, Oh God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgression”.

 Both Psalms 32 and 51 were written at the time of David’s adulterous affair with Bathsheba when he sought God’s love and forgiveness for his most serious of sins. David found God’s forgiveness at that time as he declares in Psalm 32: 1 and 2,

“Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit”.

 David really only had a shadow of the message of God’s love or grace because he lived 700 years before the coming of God’s son the fulfilment of God’s promises of a Messiah who would take away the sin of the world as John the Baptist put it in John 1: 29, when speaking about Jesus,

“Look, the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”.

 Unlike David we have the full message of God and it is that our God loves us so much as the famous John 3: 16 says,

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”.

 I said in my introduction that as I started my study of this Psalm I experienced a horror week of close relatives dying or relatives who have come close to death… As I finish my thoughts on this Psalm I am preparing to attend the funeral of one of those close relatives and the importance and value of John 3: 16 are clear to me now.

God’s love in Christ means we can look even death in the face and have great hope for the verse says that,

“Whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”.

 My wife and I believe that the close relative that recently died did have a simple but real faith in God and what Jesus has done for her. Sadly I have attended funerals of many other close relatives who certainly did not have faith in God’s love and this made their passing even more painful.

We do not know of course the true heart and mind of other people particularly as they face the prospect of death and maybe many experience God’s great love like the thief’s on the cross who seems to have only come to faith in Christ as he was about to die.

However sadly I believe many people even in their dying moments refuse to give in to trusting in something other than God or Christ alone and therefore miss out on knowing the wonderful love of God and its benefits.

I close with some wonderful comforting words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 13: 12 and 13, a new poem and a prayer,

“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love”.

 TRUST IN GOD ALONE

 I trust in Christ alone

To give my soul sweet peace

For God gave up his Son

To die for sin’s release.

He is my rock and fortress

He will never let me go

So as I face the trials of life

Your help I pray I’ll know.

 

I trust in Christ alone

For Satan seeks my soul

Christ defeated sin

So Satan’s lost his hold.

In Christ I know forgiveness

The threat of hell is gone

He’ll raise me up when I die

To He’s celestial home.

 

I trust in Christ alone

My life is in his hands

He is my hope so sure

I seek to know his plans.

In Christ is our glory

God makes us more like him

We need to tell everyone

That Christ died for their sin.

 

I trust in Christ alone

No other can for fill

The price of sins dark curse

That must be paid in full.

No thought or way of man

Can bridge the gap of sin

No wealth or power can

Give us peace within.

 

I trust in Christ alone

Who is the word of God

His power is so strong

He helps me as I trod.

And even when I falter Lord

I know your love prevails

For you are a loving God

Who helps me when I fail.

 

By: Jim Wenman

 

PRAYER:

 Father I thank you that you alone are the one we can trust in for all our needs in this life and the next. Help me Oh Lord to trust in you alone especially when I am tempted to look away from you. Help me Lord to face my enemies with your Spirits power and finally help me to proclaim your love to all people. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.