A Study of Psalm 62
Introduction: Lots of things torment us. Psalm 62, according to its heading, was written by David, who was tormented by some people attacking him. Maybe something or someone is tormenting you. Maybe the devil is doing it; he’s an expert at that. Maybe you’re tormented by inner fears and failures. David wrote Psalm 62 to show us how to manage in such times. This is one of the most practical Psalms in the book, and it teaches us something we must learn to do—to take care of ourselves under difficult situations.
The Theme: “My Soul Finds Rest in God Alone” (Psalm 62:1-2)
David states his great theme in the opening two verses: My soul finds rest in God alone (NIV 1984). The Hebrew word rest conveys the idea of silence, of being quiet, of being still. It’s related to the idea of Psalm 46: “Be still and know that I am God.” It’s related to the words of Jesus: “Peace, be still.”
REST is calming ourselves down long enough to claim, in any given situation, the presence and promises and providence of God, which are ours in Christ.
There are two great passages in the Bible about this—one in the Old Testament and one in the New.
- The Old Testament passage Exodus 33, where Moses was tormented by the challenges of leading the Israelites through the wilderness. He was a bundle of nerves, and in Exodus 33, he told the Lord so. The Lord replied in verse 14, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
- In the New Testament, Jesus made the same point when the disciples were tormented by the imprisonment of John the Baptist and their rejection in Galilee. The disciples were frazzled. Jesus told them in Matthew 11:28: “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
These are only two places in the Bible where we see that particular phrase repeated word for word: And I will give you rest. Yahwah said it to Moses in Exodus 33, and Jesus said, in essence, “By the way, that promise wasn’t just for Moses; it is for you; and it is extended to you through Me.” Our Lord took it upon Himself to repeat verbatim the promise Jehovah-God gave to Moses in Exodus 33, and to issue it from Himself, in His own authority, and to extend it to all His followers. That means to you.
Psalm 62, midway between Exodus 33 and Matthew 11, makes it very personal: My soul find rest in God alone. My salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
This is the banner through which we should enter each day and through which we should exit each night.
In the remaining verses of the Psalm, David is going to teach us how to reinforce and reaffirm this declaration. He’s going to teach us how to repeat to several different groups of people. There is a procedure here worth learning. It has to do with repetition. We need to affirm and reaffirm this truth daily.
1. Tell Your Aggravating People (Psalm 62:3-4)
First, we should affirm it to the people or situations causing us trouble. In verses 3-4, David addresses his adversaries, saying: 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.
Apparently a group of people had plotted to undermine the king. They’ve been saying, “Look, that old fellow on the throne is like a fence that’s leaning over and about to collapse. All we have to do is give him a little shove.” But David said, “You can’t upset me that easily because my soul finds rest in God alone. He is my rock, my fortress.”
Many years ago, before the fall of the Iron Curtain, a prominent pastor in Communist Romania was thrown out of the country because of his faith. His name was Josef Tson. I invited him to preach at our church, and we were gripped by his stories. He told of a time when an officer threatened to kill him. Josef said, “Sir, let me explain how I see this issue. Your supreme weapon is killing. My supreme weapon is dying. Here is how it works. You know that my sermons on tape have spread all over the country. If you kill me, those sermons will be sprinkled with my blood. Everyone will know I died for preaching. And everyone who has a tape will pick it up and say, ‘I’d better listen to what this man preached, because he really meant it; he sealed it with his life.’ So, sir, my sermons will speak ten times louder than before.” The officer sent him home.
When we decide to rest in Christ, we’re able to tell someone else about it, perhaps someone who is part of our problem. We’re able to say, “My soul finds rest in God alone. He alone is my salvation, my rock, my fortress. I cannot and will not be moved.”
2. Tell Yourself (Psalm 62:5-7)
Next, David preached this truth to himself. He picked himself up and gave himself a sermon. In verse 5, he addressed himself: 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.
Who was David talking to? He was talking to Himself. He repeated to himself almost word for word what he had declared in the opening verses. The only change is that now he was repeating it as a sermon to himself. (See my blog, How To Be Your Own Preacher).
We must keep reminding ourselves that REST is calming ourselves down long enough to recognize, in any given situation, the presence and promises and providence of God, which are ours in Christ.
3. Tell Everybody (Psalm 62:8-10)
Next, David affirmed this truth to others in verses 8-10: Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge. Here David is speaking to others and affirming this truth to “you people.”
Verse 8 is a powerful little verse: Trust in Him at all times. I looked up cross-references to both phrases of the sentence. First, I found every time the Bible uses the words “trust in Him.”
- First Chronicles 5:20 says: They cried out to (God) during battle. He answered their prayers because they trusted in Him.
- Psalm 28:7 says, The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me.
- Psalm 37:5 says, Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this.
- Psalm 40:3 says, He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in Him.
- Isaiah 25:9 says: This is the Lord; we trusted in Him; let us rejoice and be glad.
- Naham 1:7 says: The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him.
- Romans 15:13 says: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
- 1 Peter 2:6 says, The one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.
Then I looked up every reference to the phrase, “at all times.” If we are to trust God at all times, maybe there are other things we’re also to do at all times.
- Psalm 34:1 says: I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips.
- Psalm 119:20 says: My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times.
- Proverbs 17:17 says: A friend loves at all times.
- Romans 1:10 says: I remember you in my prayers at all times…
- 2 Corinthians 9:8 says: And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
- 2 Thessalonians 3:16 says: Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.
And that brings us back to our theme of resting in the Lord. The Lord of peace Himself will give us peace at all times and in every way as our soul finds rest in God alone.
In verse 9, David continues to talk to us, reminding us of God’s eternal perspective. He says: Surely the lowborn are but a breath, the highborn are but a lie. If weighed in the balance, they are nothing; they are only a breath. Do not trust in extortion or put vain hope in stolen goods; though your reaches increase, do not set your heart on them.
In other words, trust in God, and don’t worry so much about the torments and tormentors; they are soon passing away. Don’t be greedy for money like they are. If you do accumulate money, don’t set your heart on it. That’s the mistake the enemies make. Make sure your inner security and contentment are from God alone.
4. Tell God (Psalm 62:11-12)
In the last two verses, David reaffirmed all of this in prayer: One thing God has spoken; two things I have heard: “Power belongs to You, God, and with You, Lord, is unfailing love;” and “You reward everyone according to what they have done.”
In other words, Lord, You are in control. You exercise all power and authority, and You have poured out on me Your unfailing love. You will judge and deal with the situations that are tormenting me. I affirm that. My soul finds rest in God alone.
Conclusion: Here, then, are the steps to rest and relief from the debilitating pressure of life. It begins with making a declaration: My soul finds rest in God alone. Then we should find a way to affirm that to anyone or anything causing us trouble. We should remind ourselves of it. We should find ways of sharing it with others. And then we must keep affirming it and claiming it in prayer to God, saying:
Jesus, I am resting, resting
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
 This story is also recounted in the article by Josef Tson, “Thank You for the Beating,” in Christian Herald, April, 1988.