Theme: Do Not Hope in Man
In this week’s lessons the psalmist teaches us that true faith in God gives us confidence in the power of his Word.
Scripture: Psalm 62:1-12
If we are to divide the psalm into three stanzas, marked by the selahs at the end of verses 4 and 8, then the last stanza (vv. 9-12) echoes the first in that each is about both God and man. The first is about God and David’s enemies, in that order. The third is about mankind in general and God. So the matter is the same but the order is reversed.
Yet there is a big difference the second time around. True, David is thinking about his enemies in this stanza too. But in the meantime he has settled himself on God, and as a result his focus has changed significantly. Do you remember how I said that there are three interacting agents in stanza one: God, the psalmist and the psalmist’s enemies? Those agents are also here (the presence of the psalmist is implied). But in the earlier stanza David was looking at his enemies in relationship to himself, and he was primarily aware of the danger he was in. Like a tottering wall, they were about to push him over. Here he is looking at his enemies in relationship to God, whom he has continued to trust (particularly in stanza two), and by that comparison he sees that these supposedly dangerous men are “only a breath.” They are not worth fearing. In fact, “If weighed on this balance, they are nothing” (v. 9).
Derek Kidner suggests that there are two important points here: 1) we have nothing to fear from man, and 2) we have nothing to hope from man either.1 These are both true, and both flow out of the lessons the psalm as a whole has been teaching.
As far as not having to fear man is concerned, most of us are willing to agree to that truth at least verbally, assuming we are Christians. We believe that Jesus is strong and that God is able to care for us. We find the words “Surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age” to be a great comfort (Matt. 28:20). It is the second part we have trouble with. We trust God, but we want to trust man too, or at least look to other people for something we doubt God is able or willing to supply. The point here is that other people will always let us down. They are sinners, as we are. They cannot be trusted. But even if they could be, they are still “but a breath” and are quickly taken away and are gone. If God has given you faithful and good friends or a loving life companion, thank him for it. It is a great gift. But do not place your deepest hope in man. Instead trust him who is eternal and unchanging, and you will never be shaken when people disappoint you.
1Derek Kidner, Psalms 1-72: An Introduction and Commentary on Books I and II of the Psalms (Leicester, England, and Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1973), p. 223.
How does Dr. Boice characterize each stanza of our psalm?
How does David shift focus in the second stanza?
What two important points do we find in verses 9-12?
Application: Why is it so hard for us to trust God alone? How is the Lord trying to increase your trust in him?
Prayer: Dr. Boice reminded us today of how easy it is to put our trust in people instead of in God. Give thanks to God today for the people he’s given you. Ask him to teach you how to be thankful for the people he’s placed in your life, rather than putting your trust in them.