Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Only God Brings Strength

[To the chief Musician, to Jedu'thun, A Psalm of David]

1 Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation.

2 He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved.

3 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.

4 They only consult to cast him down from his excellency: they delight in lies: they bless with their mouth, but they curse inwardly. Selah.

5 My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.

6 He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved.

7 In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.

8 Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.

9 Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity.

10 Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery: if riches increase, set not your heart upon them.

11 God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God.

12 Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy: for thou renderest to every man according to his work.

—Psalm 62 KJV Bible

This is a psalm of David. In this song, David is waiting for strength in the LORD God. Jonathan had encouraged David to be so (1 Samuel 23:16) and David himself sought this (1 Samuel 30:6). When David was weak or ill or afraid, he asked God to help him. When David was confident that God would help, David felt strong again. In this psalm, David waits on God and warns others to put their trust in Him, rather than in the folly of ill-gotten gain or human strength.

We are not certain when David wrote this psalm, but we know it was during a bad time. It might have been when his rebellious son Absalom wanted to be king. It might have been when King Saul was trying to kill David. It might even have been during the low point of a battle. We just don't know. We only know that David waited to gather his strength from the LORD God.

The psalm description says it is for “Jedu'thun,” one of the choir directors appointed by David to lead public worship. Jedu'thun is mentioned elsewhere, including 1 Chronicles 16:41 and 1 Chronicles 25:1-3. Some suggest that following the death of Jedu'thun, his family members who also sang in worship were still called Jedu'thun. Three psalms reference Jedu'thun—Psalm 39, Psalms 62 and Psalm 77.

The Hebrew "selah" is used in verses 4 and 8 of the psalm. The word is thought to be a musical notation to the choir director and musicians. It loosely translates as a break in the song or an instruction to pause and reflect, perhaps with a musical interlude. Some translators suggest the phrase "stop and listen." Others say that a more concise translation would be "let those with eyes see and with ears hear." The word "selah" has been compared to the word "amen" in that it stresses to the listener the importance of the preceding passage. The word "selah" is used in thirty-nine of the psalms.

In verses 1 through 7, David waits on God, because only from God comes true strength and salvation. People are deceitful and treacherous. Don't trust in their praises because they will say one thing to your face and do another thing behind your back.

In verses 8 through 12, David warns others to put their trust in God, rather than in the folly of ill-gotten gain or human strength. In verse 9, David explains the folly of putting value in social standing of any kind. David evaluates those of "low degree" and those of "high degree" by placing them together on a balance scale. Even when combined on one side, their side rises because they have no real worth or substance—they are even lighter than a breath. David encourages the listener to pour out their heart to God. Don't trust in evil deeds because in the end they are worth nothing. Trust in the power of God. In verse 12, David praises God for the Hebrew "hesed"—His everlasting, covenant love.

Father, it seems so easy to put my trust in things that have no true worth and ultimately do no good. Remind me that You alone provide confidence and strength. I will wait alone for You.


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