God Alone

Psalm 62

Something that distinguishes our country / culture from many others in the world: diversity. Much of it is good, or at least not inherently evil. Pick the product or service and you have enough available options to make your head spin. Cereal, wall paint, deodorant, truck models, Bible versions, cell phone carriers, radio stations and cable channels, religous denominations – in every part of life it seems we have choices. Too many, at times, to extent people become paralyzed, unable to narrow possibilities down to single choice. In many parts of world it’s not a problem – either not sufficient resources available to have more than one brand or model or flavor; or, …government bureaucrats make the choice for everyone.

So what’s the basis for figuring it out? How to sift through the dizzying array of options and actually choose something? Often comes down to personal preference, past track record, reputation. Occasionally you get there by trial and error – try this one, if it works go with it; if doesn’t work, try next one. Then there’s simple whim – that looks good, used the other one last time; or availability – not my first choice but they’re all out of the other ones.

It’s tempting to use similar approach across the board, but not necessarily good idea. Let’s back up just one step away from actual choice. None of our choices are made in vacuum; are influenced and directed by – confidence in self (I can figure this one out ok); direction from others (he’s smart, I’ll go with his recommendation). Spoke this morning about looking beyond gift to Giver; must do the same here – consider original source of help: is it God or something less than God? Psalmist by his personal testimony and exhortation direct our attention to God as the sole source for deliverance, hope and strength.

Exclusive aspect of trust in God alone emphasized by very first word of psalm: ā€œonly for God [is] there silence [to] my soul.ā€ NET Repeated throughout rest of psalm:

2 only he my rock and my salvation, my defense – repeated in 6

5 only on God wait, my soul

Only sits in emphatic position at beginning of line four times; by itself should be enough to make point. Four declarations with implied command – this is my position, it ought to be yours. Interspersed with other teaching, sheds light on why it’s a really good idea to purposefully make God sole source. Sometimes God just says “do it because I’m God and I say so”. Other times, like present psalm, helps his people understand the reasoning; also gives insight into God and his character and his ways.

A. in God alone is our deliverance v.1-4

patient waiting/resting (1a)

characteristic of our inheritance from Adam’s fall: impatience, desire for immediate results, solutions, great reluctance to wait patiently and quietly

doesn’t require inaction – referring to state of mind and spirit

doing what we know is right for the present, resting without fretting in God until he provides further direction

for God to deliver / show way out (1b)

are in continual need of deliverance – from evil and the evil one (Matt. 6:13 – daily prayer!)

evil within that needs to be mortified; evil outside that must be avoided; Evil One who uses every resource to attack Christ through his church

because God alone is:

refuge (2a)

only God is able to put us out of reach of evil and evildoers; events and circumstances that encourage faithlessness

defense (2b)

only God has all necessary resources / authority to go on offense in our defense, to deal with his and our enemies

anchor (2c)

only the Rock can be counted on not to move; whoever is anchored to Rock may be tossed around but will not drag anchor

and because man lacks integrity

in his action and being (3)

does not have right character to do what is right, to stand up to assault; have many words but little power

in his thoughts and words (4)

give appearance of right-doing but plan evil/harm to others; are intentionally deceptive, saying one thing while planning to the contrary

B. in God alone is our hope v.5-8

same words with slight but significant change (5a)

v.1 – declaration, personal testimony v.5a – exhortation / instruction to self

even mature child of God must at times purposefully redirect thoughts, preach to self what is right

reminder: source of hope, confidence (5b)

don’t be distracted by alternative solutions – true hope and confidence come only from God

when noise level goes up, must speak to self more frequently and firmly to keep focused on God alone

has desired result:

some wiggle room in v.2, not in v.6

“shall not be greatly moved” vs. “shall not be moved, period” – when focus on God intensifies, confidence in God increases

salvation and glory (7a)

both deliverance and honor depend on God; not up to us to try to deliver ourselves, to gain honor and prestige

rock and strength (7b)

God himself is a mighty Rock, a strong protector and source of our strength: I can do all things (Phil. 4:13)

refuge, place of shelter (7c)

shelter is one of three necessities for human life; also necessity for Christian life – simply can’t endure all that world, flesh and devil are able to throw at us

must have place of refuge, not for escape but for survival – is found in God alone

overflows in spontaneous praise (8)

you trust in God; he’ll do for you what he did for me

talking to self, encouraging self to do what is right, reminding self of God and his character and faithfulness demonstrated in experience results in witness

God is personal, relates to individuals, also to community – pronoun change from 1st person singular to plural

“Bring your heart, all full of sin and sorrow, turn it upside down, pour the whole of its contents out at the foot of the throne of grace, and then wait until God fills your heart with peace and joy.” CHS

C. God alone is our strength v.9-11

as source of help and strength, mankind (unregenerate, fallen) is

unreliable (9a)

easily blown around, thrown off course; living for the moment, deceived and deceiving

try something, if lacks immediate results, try something different; don’t think and act based on right principles

insubstantial (9b)

anything positive they are and / or do is, no matter how grand, limited to this life only; has no eternal significance

applies to the way the world measures prestige, importance, significance – lacks enduring character

unethical (10)

follow wrong principles and encourage others to do the same, focused on the strictly temporal

flip side of question: “Why do the wicked prosper?” – any apparent prosperity is only temporary

God has spoken

not only once, but twice (11a)

God is the authority, he has spoken, repeated himself, no less, we must listen

just as important: God has spoken; has revealed himself in way that is comprehensible – can understand what we need to know in order to please him

strength belongs to him (11b)

would be no point in waiting quietly for God, trusting in him, depending on him if he had no strength

since he is immutable, his power will not fail; makes God the one to be trusted alone

so does mercy (12a)

God is not a tyrant, a despot, exercising his power capriciously and indiscriminately

God’s power, his strength and its exercise is tempered with mercy, with loyal covenant love for his people

D. echoes of Christ

the rock – again in this psalm we find Christ who is our rock and salvation

salvation – Christ not only provides salvation, he is our salvation; is in and through and by him alone

mercy – is because of Christ’s sacrifice that God can show mercy to sinners without harm to his justice

Rev. A. J. Gordon, one of the founders of Gordon Conwell Divinity School, told of being out walking and looking across a field at a house. There beside the house was what looked like a man pumping furiously on one of those hand pumps. As Gordon watched, the man continued to pump at a tremendous rate; he seemed absolutely tireless, pumping on and on, up and down, without ever slowing in the slightest, much less stopping.

Truly it was a remarkable sight, so Gordon started to walk toward it. As he got closer, he could see it was not a man at the pump, but a wooden figure painted to look like a man. The arm that was pumping so rapidly was hinged at the elbow and the hand was wired to the pump handle. The water was pouring forth, but not because the figure was pumping it. You see, it was an artesian well, and the water was pumping the man!

If we as God’s children are to be faithful and effective in our daily Christian life, God by his Word and Spirit must be the water that is pumping us. When God alone is our deliverer, our hope, and our strength, will be most useful to him.

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