We're studying Psalm 62 now, and when we re-read it, we notice that there are three natural divisions: each time the word "Selah" is used. You could say that there are three verses, to make it seem more like our hymns and songs of today. And at the end of verses one and two, the word "selah," which the scholars do not all agree upon!
(One possibility is that it is related to another Hebrew word which means "measure" or weigh in the balance, to consider carefully. It's also thought by some to be a word which means "pause," and others feel it means "lift up praise." Perhaps the meaning is a combination of all of these: to pause and consider, and to praise God for His mercy, power, and grace.)
Anyway (dusting off the rabbit trail dust), the first "verse" of our song is verses one through four; the second verse is verses five through eight, and the final stanza is verses nine through twelve.
Let's dig in!
Here are verses one through four again:
I can see David sitting calmly, speaking these words, can't you? He's calm. Composed. Serene. That's in verses one and two. In verse three, he seems to indicate that the attacks he is enduring have been many and prolonged. He says "How long?" Perhaps this was during the time of Absalom's rebellion or perhaps some other time when he faced adversity. Many of the commentaries say that David's enemies were conspiring together how to topple him from his role as king -- to assassinate him. They apparently were quite two-faced; they spread falsehoods while they flattered him and told him what a great ruler he was - all the while cursing him behind his back.
Spoiler alert: We will face times when we are under attack. Seriously. Might even already be happening, and if we are engaged in God's work it probably already is ongoing. As believers who desire to stand up for God and do His kingdom work, we will be criticized and slandered. We will even be persecuted. Quite frankly, I can tell you that I and my family have come under attack in the past, and again more recently. It's because we have been vocal about our stand for God's Word, His blessings, and the responsibilities of "we the people," who have been the undeserved recipients of those blessings.
The Bible NEVER promises exemptions from such attacks. There are no waivers. Nope. But the Bible DOES show us what to do when we are under attack. It shows us that in threatening times, we can be at peace if God is our salvation and our refuge. God alone.
Glance back at verse one -- David starts out saying he waits in silence. What does he mean? He means in peaceful submission. How do we do that? By calling to mind all the times that God has been faithful, and agree with God that He has promised to be our refuge. And suppress the human urge to whine. (Grin)
When difficult things happen to us, we have a choice: we can either angrily complain to God, or we can submit to Him, agreeing with His many promises and bowing to His sovereign will. Remember Job? When his possessions, his family, and his health were gone, Job humbly said, "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." Now, granted, the rest of the book details how he wrestled and struggled. He worked his way through his pain and complaints against God; but by the end of the book, we find Job in a posture of reverence. He worships as he submits to God, and then receives God's blessings. Humbling ourselves is a key element in living at peace while we are under attack.
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, (I Peter 5:6, NASB)
David also says "He only is my rock and my salvation..." Salvation here can mean God's deliverance from David's enemies, from those who were plotting and conspiring against him. And yet it can also mean our salvation from sin and judgment.
Many of us can't relate (yet) to this psalm because we have not (yet) been in the desperate situation that David was in. (Frankly, I believe that the time is coming quickly that we will be facing just such plots and danger. I believe that our freedoms are being torn from us, and that those in power may soon try to tear our faith from us, as well.) But I digress. We were all in danger of eternal separation from God if we died in our sins. God alone is our salvation from eternal death:
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9, NIV)
Since it is God Who raised us from death to life, and gave us faith to believe in Jesus our Savior, then we can take refuge in Him from dangerous trials, too. Paul tells us, "If God is for us, who is against us?" (Romans 8:31)
If we know Jesus as our only salvation from sin, then we can be at peace when trials come. When perilous times are at hand, we can trust in Him alone as our salvation and our refuge.
We're not done yet! There's more to come, so please join us next time as we continue in Psalm 62.