Psalm 62: A Challenging Psalm

Do me a favor and please read Psalm 62.

Many of the psalms have a spot of difficulty for us when we try to figure out the context – and this is one of them. Some scholars place it within the Absalom context and the pain within that relationship with David – but only because there are some similar words and feelings…nothing concrete really for us to go upon. But the beauty of the psalms is that we still can find meaning, challenges, reminders, and ultimate hope in them. So context or no context…the words still hit their mark.

What I find really interesting in how this psalm is laid out is that it reminds me of a ping-pong volley. David goes back and forth between his proclamation of who God is and his ultimate goodness and strength – and then he goes to the other side…to the problem with people. From the goodness of God to the assault of people on him with their lies…then back again to God and how God is his strength and tower as well as peace in all times. Three times David declares God’s goodness…two times he declares the ugliness of humanity. Back…and forth.

God, you are my rock and my salvation – my fortress and I will never be shaken (1-2)

You people…you assault me and try to knock me off this fortress that I’m on. You and Your finding joy in lies and pain – trying to be kind while the whole time you are a fork-tongued snake! (3-4)

My soul rests in you God, my Rock and my Salvation…my refuge in all times. I will simply trust in you in all times and all situations (5-8)

Wow. It simply doesn’t matter who or where one is from. Both high and low, big and tall, short and stout – all people are liars, cheaters, and self-lovers. (9-10)

We live in a world where people are simply all about themselves. Liars, cheaters, people who will say what you want to hear in front of your face and then turn around and speak differently about you to others…and I don’t think I’m sharing anything new with you. I’m pretty sure you have been on that receiving end of hate, lies, and abuse – as have I. And while this psalm is a reminder of that kind of world…it should also put US in our place and challenge you and me to look in the mirror and reflect on the words WE’VE delivered to people. Because while we can nod our head in agreement with David as we look out into this world – we must also recognize that David was human and worldly too…as are you and I. So while David proclaims at the end of this psalm that “power belongs to you God” – David sure used his power to get what HE wanted (*ahem*… Bathsheba!) – and you and I have also used our words to lie, cheat, and harm others.

But again – this is the world David lived in and this is the world you and I live in as well. But that doesn’t mean we are to fall and succumb to things of this world. This should be a challenge for you and I to acknowledge the “ways of this world” and consistently do a reality check as to where do we fall in line with this world. Do we proclaim the words of David in 3 of the 5 stanzas but then also proclaim that we really are the ones he’s seeing and dealing with? Are we professing God’s sanctuary and yet the ones spreading lies about others? Do we spread rumors about people and yet still find air and breath to sing their praises to their face? Do we bless with our lips and curse with our hearts? Unfortunately…I think I personally have found myself in all of these spaces and places – and probably too many times to count. I’ve been on the receiving AND giving end of all of that vitriol.

Paul’s words in Romans 2:6; 3:4 and 1 Corinthians 3:8 as well as 2 Corinthians 5:10 all speak of how we will be held accountable for what we say and do. My words have meaning…my words have value – and in the end that’s going to be a conversation with God. And honestly, how can I profess God’s love and grace and rule and safety in my life…but then turn around and speak harshly to others? Maybe we should reflect on David’s final words here in that God “rewards everyone according to what they have done.” There’s a gut-check and reminder!

So take David’s words to heart as you reflect on the “workings” of this world as well as your own workings and doings. Know your surroundings and people – but also know your own heart too. And ultimately, in the end, find comfort and solace (as I do) in that just as David has God’s goodness bookending this psalm – God ultimately has the first and last say for us too

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