MDB 89: Psalms 62-63
May 6, 2010
Throughout history the builders of castles, forts and citadels have favoured rocky outcrops as the best place to site them. So David reaches for the language of such places to describe the One in whom believers are truly secure: 'My soul finds rest in God alone...He alone is my rock and my refuge, my fortress, I shall never be shaken' (62.1-2). As we read on it is as though the once-beleaguered psalmist now sits and taunts those who once taunted him from his place of safety. His enemies have not gone away, but they have shrunk as he now looks down on them from the security of his refuge in God.
David then turns from speaking to his opponents to speaking to himself and then to his people. He exhorts those who say they trust in God to ensure they are actually trusting him. It is a lesson in the life of faith we need to keep on learning till the day we die. It's not enough to pay lip-service to God as our refuge for eternity, we need to find our rest in him alone and not in the props we often lean on and which one by one are guaranteed to crumble away.
It is that thought of consciously and deliberately seeking rest in God that leads us into the psalm that follows. Using the language of the deepest longing, David speaks of how God alone can truly satisfy our weary souls. He is sure of this because his encounters with God in the sanctuary (63.2) have etched it on his heart and it will not let him go. When he says, 'I will praise you as long as I live' (63.4), he is not merely speaking about the acts of worship he performs in the Tabernacle, but of a life that literally revolves around God as its very heart and centre. Even through the hours of darkness, it is thoughts of God that keep coming back to sustain him (63.6-8).
The bottom line for the king is stark. Regardless of one's short-term fortunes in life, he knows there are only two destinies beyond the grave - one in eternal banishment, the other rejoicing in God. That is the ultimate measure of what matters most in life and leaves us in no doubt as to why Jesus says, 'What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?' (Mk 8.36).