Less Us…More God

For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall never be shaken. How long will you assail a person, will you batter your victim, all of you, as you would a leaning wall, a tottering fence? Their only plan is to bring down a person of prominence. They take pleasure in falsehood; they bless with their mouths, but inwardly they curse. Selah For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my deliverance and my honor; my mighty rock, my refuge is in God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah 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. 10 Put no confidence in extortion, and set no vain hopes on robbery; if riches increase, do not set your heart on them. 11 Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, 12 and steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord. For you repay to all according to their work.

Yesterday I completed my third Tough Mudder and what an accomplishment it felt like. For those of you who don’t know a Tough Mudder is a 10-12 mile obstacle course. There are between 15-20 obstacles and they range from army crawling under a cargo net to wading through half a mile of mud to having to climb a 20 ft structure. This race tests both your mental and physical endurance.

At the beginning of the race you recite the Mudder Creed:

As a Tough Mudder I pledge that…

  • I understand that Tough Mudder is not a race but a challenge
  • I put teamwork and camaraderie before my course time.
  • I do not whine, kids whine
  • I help my fellow Mudders complete the course
  • I overcome all fears

Over the past three years I have been challenged each and every time I have done this race. However, every time I find that it has never been the race or the obstacles or any part of the course that has been the worst part…it has been me. I have even witnessed this in others on the course. We get in our own way all the time and we set limitations on what we “think” we can do. I have to rely, not on myself, but on those around me, my teammates, the other Mudders in order to finish. I could not complete the challenge by myself. Sometimes I am surprised I can complete it even with the help of others, but that is the nature of the race. My teammates bring me, sometimes drag me, through the challenge, and I do the same for them.

And this is a great visual as we think about our Psalm today, because God makes a promise that we will never have to be alone on this challenge, and it is a great and difficult challenge, of life. As we turn to talking about faith I want you to see that the less we rely on ourselves, and worldly things, and the more we rely on God the more we follow God’s call in our lives.

This Psalm was written, as many of the Psalms were, by David. A meditation I read this week says,

“David is reputed to have written this psalm around 980 BC as recorded in 2 Samuel chapters 8-16, when David’s fortunes rose and fell; and he had military victories but also personal challenges and failures. No doubt he was speaking from experience when he warned: ‘…if your wealth increases, don’t make it the centre of your life. God has spoken plainly, and I have heard it many times: Power, O God, belongs to you; unfailing love, O Lord, is yours…’”  (http://www.thetimelesspsalms.net/w_resources/epiphany3[3]b_2015.htm)

We must place our trust in God. We hear throughout the story of David a man who struggled to fully trust. Not just in David, but throughout scripture people struggle to fully trust God. Why? Because we get in our own way. However, in a time of hills and valleys of David’s life he pens this Psalm to express trust in the Lord. This Psalm is an expression of trust by David.

This Psalm though, is not just an expression, but it is instruction on who to trust and how to trust. The major part of that instruction takes place in one word, and in fact in the ancient Hebrew that word is a mere two letters, but it occurs 6 times in this psalm and we can take notice of that repetition.

The word is ‘ak, and it actually has quite a few translations. And depending on the translation you ready you get the wide gamut of translations this word offers. Rolf Jacobson tells us,

“The term carries both a restrictive meaning — ‘only’ or ‘alone’ — as well as an asserverative meaning — ‘truly’ or ‘indeed.’…The truth is that in Hebrew the term most likely has a sense of double-entendre — at each point it means carries both senses of the term. To wait for God alone means to wait on God indeed! To truly hope in God means that one must hope only in God!” (http://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=1215)

We see that our faith, even our trust, can be assertive or restrictive. To trust in the Lord means it is only the Lord…or it is truly the Lord whom we trust, and Jacobson gives one more reminder,

“But, moreover, to have only one God is to know exactly, precisely, definitively to whom we entrust our lives — to God indeed!” (http://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=1215)

However, we are not always good of putting our trust in the Lord. David, in a moment of urging it seems, cries out in the Psalm,

“How long will you assail a person, will you batter your victim, all of you, as you would a leaning wall, a tottering fence? Their only plan is to bring down a person of prominence. They take pleasure in falsehood; they bless with their mouths, but inwardly they curse.” (Psalm 62:3-4)

It might appear David is talking to God, but David is talking about humanity here. David is urging us against putting our trust in false idols such as the world and even in solely ourselves. We must not become so reliant on looking to the world and its fallacies and looking past God. We must realize we are no on this challenge of life alone. We must allow ourselves to trust God for the sake of our faith. That is what David is calling us to do in this Psalm.

God is strong enough to handle anything we might bring his way. God is strong enough to handle our challenges. David proclaims as the refrain of this Psalm

“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall never be shaken.” (Psalm 62:1-2)

Because this Psalm is not just an expression, it is not just instruction, but it contains within itself a promise. That is how David ends. He writes, “Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, and steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord. For you repay to all according to their work.” (Psalm 62:11-12)

True trust lies in God, because of who God is and what God gives. Grace beyond grace, peace beyond peace, and mercy beyond mercy. It is not what we get from this it is the knowledge that there is a God who loves us so much he is willing to do anything for us, isn’t that worth our trust?

AMEN!!!

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