Last week, life was a mess. New health issues threatened me, a client discriminated against me, more friends buried loved ones, and I was like, “Really? Again? Still?” So God in His goodness nudged me toward Psalm 62.
I love David’s honesty in this psalm. His life was a mess. Über-stressful. How did he cope? He talked to himself and God at the same time. Pep talk, prayer. Pep talk, prayer.
Do you do that sometimes? I do. And God is perfectly fine with that.
David knew he needed resources beyond himself.
How to speak to the mess
Although David mentions some external stressors in this psalm, what strikes me the most is how he wrestles against the enemy within—the enemy of us all, who knows how to use our stress against us. The enemy who continually whispers lies to us, who tries to trap us, who strives to embed false teaching in our minds (vs. 4). The enemy who is hell-bent on getting us to doubt our faith so we won’t share it.
David faces the enemy’s lies head-on in Psalm 62. Often using military terms, David declares:
- (4x) God is my salvation—my deliverance; my security and ultimate victory
- (3x) God is my rock—poetic for defense of the Israelite nation
- (2x) God is my fortress—my secure height; an unassailable stronghold
- (2x) God is my refuge—my shelter
In its current form, Psalm 62 does nifty poetic things like repeating rock/salvation/fortress, in that order, in the first and third stanzas. And alternating pep talk/prayer.
I don’t think David planned that when he first uttered it. He just poured out his heart. He needed to remind himself who was in charge. He needed to bulldoze the message from his head to his heart until that path was devoid of the world’s debris.
From heart-cries to polished psalm
I envision that David jotted his heart-cries in the heat of the moment but crafted them into this psalm much later, years after he was enthroned as king. It appears that part of his reason for compiling his psalms was to help ensure uninterrupted worship singing at the Temple. Although God didn’t allow David to build the First Temple, he did much to plan for it. He organized musicians to rotate serving at the Temple (1 Chronicles 25). Verses 1 and 2 elevate the musicians’ duties to that comparable of a prophet. David also instituted a music school of sorts to develop the instrumentalists’ and singers’ musical and worship skills (1 Chronicles 25:6-8).
I can’t help but think that David’s desire to have worshipful music continually encircle the Temple foreshadows worship in heaven.
Back in the gritty present, who knew that David’s heart-cries would become a psalm sung at the Temple and read throughout history?
David’s model in the middle of the mess
David is known for many things. 2 Samuel 23:2-7 adds psalmist and prophet to the list. Most of all, David is a poster child for “you can pick what you ponder” (Max Lucado’s phrase). Yes, life is messy. No, life isn’t fair. It rarely turns out the way we think it should. But David models what to do when life becomes an unmanageable mess. Stop, stand before God, talk honestly to Him and yourself as much as needed until you can rest without doubt in knowing God will wield all His power on your behalf because He loves you.
Psalm 62:11-12 reminds us that all power belongs to God alone—and so our loving devotion should be for Him alone.
In his book The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms, Timothy Keller put it this way: “I need only one thing to survive and thrive—and I have it. I need only God and his all-powerful fatherly love and care—everything else is expendable.”
Father, thank You for Psalm 62 and its reminder to be totally honest with You. Thank you that You still understand when I jumble my prayers with pep talks. Thank you that it’s OK—and necessary—to wrestle with doubts or concerns every time raise their ugly heads again. You have already declared victory over all that and much more. It’s up to me to live that way. All praise and glory to You. Amen.
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