Friday, October 7, 2011

Psalm 61 & 62 - God as Rock and Rest

LINK: Psalm 61 & 62

BACKGROUND

Many commentators believe these two Psalms were written by David during the time of Absalom's rebellion (2 Samuel 15). Psalm 61 was David's prayer for strength and security when he was faint. In Psalm 62, David placed all his hope in God and rested in His ultimate control in the midst of trial.

REFLECTION 

Psalm 62:1 reads "My soul finds rest in God alone" in the NIV, and most other translations say, "My soul waits in silence." I like a combination of the two of these! 

The Hebrew word here is dumiyyāh which means "silence, a quiet wait, in silence, rest." Specifically for this Psalm, it indicates, "a time of reverential silence and patience as one waits for God." It comes from the root word, dāmāh, which means "to cease, to cause to cease, to be silent" (Baker, W., & Carpenter, E. E. 2003. The complete word study dictionary: Old Testament. AMG Publishers: Chattanooga, TN., p. 230, 240).

How many of us, in the midst of the whirlwind of oppression or conflict or stress, cease from it and quietly wait and rest in His presence?

Two twins were born prematurely and died two days ago.  My friend, who was in her first birth as a doula (birth attendant), is reeling emotionally from the experience, and she wants to talk, but I want her to cease and be silent and ask God what He has for her in this moment of sadness and her doubts as to God really is the "rock" David claims Him to be. 

I know it may be hard to believe that you can find rest in the midst of oppressive circumstances as David did, but it is possible. And it is imperative that we find Him to be unshakable (62:2) in the midst of a shaken up world if we hope to have any impact on that world! We cannot give what we do not have. 

He gives us a glimpse of who He really is in the Psalms because He wants us to know it deep down in our souls and wants to fill our souls with Himself so that we might overflow onto a lost world. 

So that is why I implore you to dig deep into the psalms. I camped in them deeply throughout my 20's, and they have formed the bedrock of what I believe about the character of God. He is truly the rock, the fortress, the salvation, the stronghold, the refuge that David says He is, and the hope for every soul.  Because He is all these things we can trust in Him at all times and pour out our hearts before Him in all of life's circumstances.  

I want you to come out of your reading of these Psalms like David:


Once God has spoken;
Twice I have heard this:
That power belongs to God;
And lovingkindess is Yours, O Lord.
(Psalm 62:11-12)

The phrase "once . . . twice" in the Hebrew means "many times, repeatedly."  The Message paraphrase says, "Strength comes straight from God."  Do you believe this? No life circumstance is too difficult for God. Can you rest in Him today?

The Scarlet Thread of Redemption

The Sabbath rest day is neither Saturday nor Sunday, it is the eternal rest we have in Jesus.  You might want to read all of Hebrews 4 to understand this, but the gist of this chapter is summed up here: 
So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience. (Hebrews 4:9-11)
God's character of strength and love are revealed in Jesus who invites you to come and rest:


   Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. 
Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. 
I’ll show you how to take a real rest. 
Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it.
Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. 
I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. 
Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.
(Matthew 11:28–30, The Message)  

When we put our faith in Jesus Christ, we enter into an eternal rest. I pray you can live into and claim that rest today!

APPLICATION

This is a perfect week for me to be writing this. I have had a very busy week. I purposed to rest today!  Do you have a rest day?  It takes some effort to carve out the time, but I have so benefited from having at least one day a week to do this. I worked through the whole weekend and into Monday night. While a person was wanting to talk ASAP (in a rather demanding way, I might add), I knew God was calling me to a day of rest. I could not pour into her out of my exhausted state. I needed to realign and find His strength once again. Perfect that this Psalm came my way at just the right time. 

God wants us to rest in the midst of life too! Are you at rest today? Let go of control and give that control over to God. You will find blessed rest in the midst of circumstances you cannot change.

PRAYER

Lord, we give You complete control of everything. We surrender all. We come to You and rest. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.
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