Lucas in Indonesia
Boy Scout Camp
Text –Psalm 62
Since we’ve completed Second Peter and are still a few weeks away from welcoming the new sixth graders to class, I want to take a few weeks to look at some topical things. Do you have any questions that it seems like we never talk about? Which topics would you like us to look at?
Today we’re going to look at Psalm 62, which has been called the “only” Psalm because it talks about our hope being “only” on God. This is one of my favorite Psalms, but it’s not one that gets taught on a lot because it’s not really a stand-alone Psalm, it would be hard to give you a direct application from it, especially in one day, so today I’m going to teach it in relation to Second Peter. In order to understand how we got here, let’s do probably our last review of Second Peter.
In Second Peter it talks about how we know we are Christians trusting in the finished work of Christ, that the Bible being our sole authority on matters of God, it warns us of false teachers who do damage to the truth, and finally it gives us an assurance of victory by Christ.
In that assurance, are we supposed to just stand around gazing upward waiting for Christ? No, we are to be living lives of godliness and holiness, and Peter says we ought to be hastening the day.
So how can we hasten the day? By preaching the gospel. What did Peter say people would do with Paul’s writings to pervert the truth? They would twist his words to say things he didn’t mean. Let’s look at a good example before we get to Psalm 62.
Colossians 1:24-25 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known…
Paul literally says there is something that Christ’s suffering did not accomplish! This is utterly amazing and if it weren’t written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit I would say it is blasphemy! But when we understand Second Peter, this makes perfect sense, Christ lived the perfect life and died for our sins, and was raised for our justification, but if we look at Ephesians 2:8-9, that we are saved by grace, through faith, then we see Jesus took care of the grace part in his death and resurrection, but the faith part must also be accomplished, which Jesus will do through his church.
This is one of the verses that gets twisted to destruction, many think that Christ did a lot, but he didn’t do everything, therefore we must work for our salvation. However, Paul is saying that Christ does everything, just in two different stages, first on the cross, and second through ministry.
At the time of the Reformation and at many other times throughout history, especially today, the church has added all sorts of weird works into salvation and have really added weird things to plain scriptural readings. So one of the reasons I chose Psalm 62 for today is because it is called the “only” Psalm, or for our purposes today, the “sola” Psalm, because it shows us that our hope is to be on nothing less than Christ. One of the reasons God did such a mighty work during the Reformation was because he set men’s affections solely on his word and the work of his Son. This has been summed up beautifully in six solas, and I want to teach them to you today because if you remember these six, you will have a very firm foundation in Christ for your entire life and ministry. Some people think some are more important than others, but they really come as a group.
1. Sola Scriptura
2. Sola Gratia
3. Sola Fide
4. Solus Christus
5. Soli Deo Gloria
6. Sola Sacerdos
This means that scripture is our sole authority on God, that God does not speak apart from his word and doesn’t need to. Many false teachers today say that they receive “words” or messages from God, and they say, “Well check it against the Bible to see if God really spoke to me.” Verses in the Bible say that God no longer speaks but that we refer to the Bible, but if God were to speak and we checked it against the Bible and the Bible already said it, then we would have to ask why God said it again if it’s already in the Bible?
Hebrews 1:1-2 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
It could be argued that this is the most important one because when you lose it, you lose all, but just holding to this one while ignoring the others would be disastrous.
This means we are saved by grace alone, not as the Mormons and Catholics believe that after everything we do then Christ will add the rest, or as antichristian preacher Joel Osteen says, “If you do your best, God will do the rest.” No, we bring nothing to the table, not a scrap of goodness, for even our best works are stained through with our sin like a clean white bandage laid on a gaping wound. We are not saved because of anything we’ve done, but in spite of everything we’ve done. Grace is unmerited favor, so anything we could add would make it merited and therefore it wouldn’t be grace anymore.
Galatians 5:4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.
We are saved by grace, and that is received through faith, and faith alone. If you jump out of an airplane with a parachute on, and you decide that instead of using the parachute, you’re going to flap our arms, you will face the consequences. The parachute is going to do the entire work of saving you from the effect of gravity. Once the parachute is deployed you can flap your arms, but it’s not going to add anything, and if we want to boast in our salvation then we have a very firm threat from God.
Romans 4:2-5 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness." Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness…
Our salvation was purchased solely by Jesus Christ. His mother Mary is doing nothing to intercede for us, there are no men in Heaven who can give us merit they had left over, I cannot help to save you, it is totally Jesus Christ and his righteous life, propitiatory death, and life-giving resurrection which has reconciled us to God and given us a future and a hope.
Romans 4:22-25 That is why his faith was "counted to him as righteousness." But the words "it was counted to him" were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
Soli Deo Gloria
The effect of the Christian religion is not our sakes, though we gain a lot, it is for the glory of God. When we stand in Heaven we will not be able to say, “I am here because I’m so awesome…” we’ll gladly say, “I am here because Christ is so awesome. I had gone astray, I refused to seek Heaven, and Jesus Christ sought me and bought me and to him belongs dominion and victory and majesty and power and honor and glory forever and ever.”
Isaiah 43:25 I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.
This is the one that always gets left of. This means that Christ’s church is made up of one priesthood of believers, that there is no hierarchy of believers in his sight, but that we are all one in Christ Jesus. You had a direct line to God through your mediator Jesus Christ, your prayers are as efficacious as mine because they are filtered through Christ’s righteousness.
Galatians 4:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
So all that to say, let’s read through Psalm 62 quickly and we’ll see that when we set our hope in God alone then we will see that ultimate victory when Christ comes to judge the world in righteousness, and that we will be in his favor instead of facing his wrath.
This Psalm is written by David, some people have tried to determine when this happened, many think it was when Absalom as trying to take the kingdom, and I see evidence for that, but ultimately David was in trouble so often from his enemies that this really can fit in many places in his life. We’re going to look at mostly how it relates to us.
Psalm 62 For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.
How long will all of you attack a man to batter him,
like a leaning wall, a tottering fence?
They only plan to thrust him down from his high position.
They take pleasure in falsehood.
They bless with their mouths,
but inwardly they curse.
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us.
Those of low estate are but a breath;
those of high estate are a delusion;
in the balances they go up;
they are together lighter than a breath.
Put no trust in extortion;
set no vain hopes on robbery;
if riches increase, set not your heart on them.
Once God has spoken;
twice have I heard this:
that power belongs to God, and that to you,
O Lord, belongs steadfast love.
For you will render to a man
according to his work.
The word in Hebrew for “only” is ak, it’s a short little word, but it’s repeated six times in this Psalm. The first verse is cool because it shows us that David, who was under the Old Covenant, was trusting wholly in God. Many people think that under the Old Covenant people were saved by their works. But that’s crazy because the law hasn’t changed and it’s as impossibly holy today as it was then. Just as we can’t keep it because our wills are bound to sin, neither could David. In his great despair he reached upwards towards Heaven and was assured of salvation both from his sins, and from his enemies.
V3 How long will all of you attack a man to batter him, like a leaning wall, a tottering fence?
The writing in verse three is neat, and while you can’t see it in English in Hebrew it is associating both the attackers and the attackee as vulnerable and able to be toppled. The ESV doesn’t capture this very well, but David is saying that in leaning out to push him over, his attackers are about to be toppled.
V4 They only plan to thrust him down from his high position. They take pleasure in falsehood. They bless with their mouths, but inwardly they curse. Selah
David’s enemies, and ultimately Christ’s enemies, made the effort to pull him off his throne in order to enthrone themselves. Think of how many people today sing worship songs and say they love Jesus and then do things blatantly and without repentance that dishonor his name. Various other places in the Bible God expresses his disgust over people who claim to love him, but inwardly are filthy and unregenerate and his enemies. Jesus paraphrases Psalm really well in his beautiful parable of building a house:
Luke 6:46-49 "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great."
At the end of the verse is a Selah, which means pause here and think about whether or not you are honoring Christ in your actions or just with your words.
In the first stanza David says his soul waits on God, now he turns to talking to his soul and ours:
V5-8 For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah
The Selah here calls us to check ourselves to see if we are hoping in Christ, that he is our only hope of salvation and not anything else.
Verse 9 is going to tell us why we ought not to trust in ourselves:
V9 Those of low estate are but a breath; those of high estate are a delusion;
None of us is closer to Heaven on our own than anyone else. We don’t trust in our genealogies or church membership or good name, because this verse literally tells us that they are a lie.
The Hindu religion would do very well to read this verse and take it seriously, because they operate under a caste system where they believe people are born into a Karmic level based on their past goodness and march towards Nirvana. So they see people who are princes and princesses are better people than beggars, and it is taboo for a beggar to seek a better lot in life because they are being punished for their past life… But if they would read this verse, that there is no such thing as a high estate, then they would see that they need to seek salvation in God, not in themselves, because they will be weighed in the balances and found wanting.
V9 in the balances they go up; they are together lighter than a breath.
In order to understand this verse as the Hebrews would understand it you need to know that God’s glory is described by a word, Kbod, which means weightiness. The Kbod of a thing is how it stands up in a scale, a bowling ball has more Kbod than a feather. God’s Kbod is so magnificent that when our “good” deeds are weighed the scales go up as though they weren’t even there, lighter than air, in fact they even help the scales go in the opposite direction!
Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the kbod of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
For those who trust in Christ though, we partake in Christ’s Kbod which is credited to our account through our faith alone.
V10 Put no trust in extortion; set no vain hopes on robbery; if riches increase, set not your heart on them.
I was reading an atheist recently who said if he can find one place where God is not perfect then he won’t be accountable on Judgment Day, which ironically is true, but we know that there is no place where God is not true. The atheist, who really there is no such thing, only angry delusional agnostics, was trusting in deceit instead of God. Our hope is not in robbery, but in Christ.
Now check this out, is being poor a sin? No. Is being rich a sin? No. IF riches increase, we don’t set our affections on them, but we know that if God gave us an increase it is so that we can share out of our abundance. God may very well give you billions of dollars in your lifetime so that you can do billions of dollars worth of good for his kingdom. But you won’t be able to say, “I should be allowed into Heaven because of how much money I spent on Christianity.” Rather, you will be allowed into Heaven on the grace of Jesus Christ.
V11-12 Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God,and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love. For you will render to a man according to his work.
We’ve got less time to spend on this than it deserves, but the important point of this psalm is not this verse, albeit there is a ton in this verse. God has spoken and we ought to pay extra close attention. We don’t read the Bible once through and then are done, rather we ought to read little bits every day, so that we are reminded that to God belongs the power and steadfast love, which is my Bible’s sort of weird translation of grace.
There is debate on what the last sentence means but the entire Psalm basically sums it up well for me, that for the one trusting in himself he will be judged for the merits of his work and be found wanting. For the one trusting in Christ he will be justified in Christ and given work to do for the kingdom, which we’ve seen in the past results in rewards of holiness and crowns both on this earth and in the world to come.
Luke 19:17,26 And he said to him, 'Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.' 'I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
So in conclusion, trust wholly in Jesus Christ and his saving work on the cross. His grace is the only thing that can save you, and we know that only through his Word, and the result is ultimately for his glory. Strive to be faithful in his work, not to earn your way to Heaven, but to glorify his name empowered by his Spirit, knowing that you have the priestly duty of proclaiming his excellencies, for he has called you out of the darkness into his marvelous light.