“Our Resolve in Life’s Challenges

Psalm 62

In Psalm 62, in the chaos and the beat up and the difficulties that David was facing, the image he has given here with “my soul…” – the phrase that set’s up the balance of the Psalm – is stillness; is being still, before the Lord

…It is, “all my trust and confidence is in you Lord no matter is happening around me or to me”

It’s a similar picture in Exodus 14 when the Egyptians were chasing down the Israelites, who “mob Moses in the panic”[1]…Moses encourages the people “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today…the Lord will fight for you, you need only be still” (Ex. 14:13)

And more well known in Psalm 46:10…”Be still and know that I am God”[2]

Being still…the principle at the centre of the Psalm, is not doing nothing, it is however setting the order of our life around confidence and trust in God, in the first instance

Stillness, silence, rest, our souls being refreshed…these to us (and yes I’m generalizing) I want to suggest are foreign practices…in this day where work and recreation and family, as important as these are, have become all-consuming…we’re busy, busy, busy!

I read part of an article recently titled “How to create space for God”…actually the only part I read, was the title, I couldn’t get past the sad fact we have to have such things written about, but we do…busy, busy, busy, God is pushed to the mere margins of our day. One of several definitions of worship I have is: worship is being conscious of God in every aspect in every part of my day, despite my circumstances.

Anecdotally, well, actually not…worship, prayer, personal discipleship, growing relationship with the Lord are for many, being replaced by other priorities and pursuits. Where is the place for God in our lives?

If we profess to follow Christ, he IS our life!

Where is the place for such a consciousness of God that we are constantly reflecting on questions such as: How is God with me right now? Where is God leading me? What is God saying to me? Is God pleased with me? In our relationship with God do we muddle along with such things?

To ancient Israel, these were familiar and necessary practices. Silence was essential in order to learn what Yahweh’s will and purposes were for the people. Stillness was respectful; it meant the people were giving God the respect he was owed…

If relying on human strength and subjecting ourselves to frantic activity, taking greater precedence over being still….before God…what does that say of who ultimately our trust is in, where our priorities are and who we draw strength from?

This Psalm will cause us to examine ourselves…it will reset our thinking of God and our expectations of him

…we’re dealing with our spirituality today….

With David, we see someone who had that deep gut level assurance, that God is close…in the chaos and the beat up, the enemy does all this stuff, attempts to pull him down…but, “he is my fortress, I never will be shaken”

(READ Ps. 62)

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken How long will you assault me? Would all of you throw me down— this leaning wall, this tottering fence? Surely they intend to topple me from my lofty place; they take delight in lies: With their mouths they bless, but in their hearts they curse.

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.

Surely the lowborn are but a breath, the highborn are but a lie. If weighed on a balance, they are nothing; together they are only a breath. 10 Do not trust in extortion or put vain hope in stolen goods; though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them 11 One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: “Power belongs to you, God, 12 and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”; and, “You reward everyone according to what they have done.”

David, as we can see is under attack of some kind, there is a group of people looking to dethrone him as king, making life miserable in the process, possibly Saul’s family or a group of other conspirators…as best we can tell…he’s at breaking point!

But we can see in the way he’s framed his words something of the resolve of David to remain focussed on God despite his circumstances…David knew God, and all that he is, is greater, than any battle or challenge that life can bring, he had confidence in the Lord (62:10-12)

Take another look at some of the words David uses to speak of God and are evidences of that confidence?

…my rock… my salvation… my fortress… mighty rock… … glory… strength… refuge and mercy….we’re clearly all appropriate to David’s difficult circumstances

David is undeterred by any threat of the enemy like the one envisioned here…in fact his statements of faith and confidence in God, turn into a prayer at the end: “power belongs to you God, and with you is unfailing love…you reward each person according to what they have done” God is the judge. God is the vindicator. David is able to give it all to God!

Therefore what can this Psalm teach us about our relationship with God, about worship, the dependency he wants us to have in/on him, the trust he wants us to have in him…

I want to suggest there are 3 avenues that could be keys for us, in finding our way to this deep level of trust, faith we see in David…

1) We need to seek God in the face of difficulty and life’s challenges…

May sound simple and easy but is not our natural tendency. The idea is not to run away from or avoid challenges, but to seek God as we face into them. God here is described as a rock, a refuge, a fortress, a place of rest and safety who is reliable, permanent and constant.  When we make a commitment to trusting Christ our lives ought to reflect and manifest that trust, despite the inevitability of trials.

You see life as a Christian is not ignoring or invalidating the difficulties we face…but part of the paradox of living as Christ followers is not to turn inward on ourselves but to reach out to God. This doesn’t happen naturally initially, certainly doesn’t happen without learning, practice…and being intentional

When we read scripture and the stories and lives of God’s work in many of the characters, we see they were just ordinary people, people who lived with the same strains, sins and struggles we do, yet found ways to live a devoted faith life in the process….David was one of those

….Look at what Paul says in 2 Cor 1: 8-11 …My friends, I want you to know what a hard time we had in Asia. Our sufferings were so horrible and so unbearable that death seemed certain. 9 In fact, we felt sure that we were going to die. But this made us stop trusting in ourselves and start trusting God, who raises the dead to life. 10 God saved us from the threat of death,  and we are sure that he will do it again and again…

…2 Cor. 4:7…”We are like clay jars in which this treasure is stored. The real power comes from God and not from us. 8 We often suffer, but we are never crushed. Even when we don’t know what to do, we never give up. 9 In times of trouble, God is with us, and when we are knocked down, we get up again.

In times of trouble we can confidently call on the Lord because he cares for those who rely on him…start today…

2) We need to seek God acknowledging our dependence in and on him…

My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. This is worship!

As believers, we grow and mature, we become more dependent on our heavenly father.  At least that’s what maturing as Christians is. Some of us really struggle with this though…relating to God at all can prove to be a road block, because it is a natural tendency to relate to God through what may have been or are poor or unhealthy relationships with others.

God, by the Holy Spirit and through his son Jesus have the ability to rebuild broken trust, betrayal and heal broken wounds. We need to be willing to engage in that process…healing….

…Otherwise our lives can be like the leaning wall or a fence that ‘may fall at the slightest touch’.

“Ross, you have no idea what I’ve been through, what I’ve put with…no I don’t”…(SORRY)…does God want you to carry that burden or does he want you to be free of it?

This psalm invites us to risk trusting…It encourages us to commit ourselves to God’s care. we can trust God, he is faithfulstart today…

3) We need to seek God… ‘pouring out our hearts to him …’

There is a price we need to pay when it comes to ‘Pouring out our hearts’. It involves a complete emptying of ourselves, exposing our inner selves; our needs and feelings. It is based on/in trust that the other person (in this case the Lord) will listen, care, understand, empathize and respond to us, and not mock, ridicule, judge or reject us.

(P) Men for a moment…some of what I’m talking about today might be appear to be very, well, soft, touchy feely, feminine even…David was a man in touch with his own vulnerability, and feelings and knew how to express that before God, he was a battle-hardened warrior, a man’s man…a man after God’s own heart!

David says that we can pour out our souls to God because he is our refuge.

The encouragement is for us to be still, regularly take stock, to take our troubles, our concerns, our weaknesses and sickness and “pour” them out to God. Nothing you have done or have said will surprise him…he knows, but he wants to hear it from us…you know his grace is momentary. Imagine what life would be like, living with a daily attitude of ‘pouring out’ to God? I don’t believe this is a static thing, it’s something we do in perpetuity…we pour out, pour out, to receive, to receive…work, recreation, whatever…

2 Cor. 12:9…To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  

8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong…

In his mercy he doesn’t give us what we do deserve…but in his grace he gives us what we don’t deserve! WOW

Conclusion

Read thru the Psalm again, slowly…as you do asking the Holy Spirit to show you a word…to speak to you…

Important I remind us all…we confuse our faith-walk with Jesus if we think there’s nothing we need to do…maturity, learning and growing in God takes commitment, desire and sacrifice: we need to pro-active!

Are we standing at a crossroads, are we sitting on the fence spiritually, things a bit dull….discipleship taken a back seat….are we confused about where we’re at with God, are we giving lip service to our dependence and trust in God…are we walking in his immeasurably-moreness, in the Spirit…?

To find rest for our souls, we need to choose to give (pour) all of our concerns, insecurities, relationship difficulties…to God …God is unimpressed by our attempt to limp through life devoid of any acknowledgment or reliance on him…

Remembering our faith is not in our expectations of what God may or may not do…Our faith is directed to God. Faith is asking God to strengthen and guide us through circumstances, helping us keep our eyes on him. Faith is not expecting God to do what we want him to do. Faith is asking God to do, what He wants to do, in us!

Take a moment to consider where you’re at in relationship with the Lord…this is a day and a year ahead to enact faith, rise…

TAKEAWAYS

Choose to rely on God in all circumstances

Choose to earnestly call on God in times of trouble

Choose to set your heart on God

Choose to trust in God’s reward

Choose to seek God in tough times, to depend on him deeply; our confidence in him needs to be habitual

Choose to pour out your hearts to him

 

What does it look like for you today, for God to be your rock, to be still in him, for your soul to find rest in him?

[1] NIV Comms, Psalms

[2] Also Ps. 94:19 “My anxiety was great within me, but your consolation brought joy to my soul”