Psalms For Life
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Yahveh Elohim hear our prayers

Psalm 62

Resting in God alone

We’re told we can’t get ahead without somehow cornering the market on money or power—cutting corners if we must. David says we truly get ahead by trusting ultimately in God alone.

For the director of worship, Jeduthun. A David psalm.

1 For God alone
my soul rests in silence—
my deliverance comes from him.
2 He alone is my rock and my deliverance
my fortress where nothing can shake me.
3 How long will you attack a guy
intent on bashing him to the ground
like a leaning wall
a tottering fence?
4 Their only goal is to topple me
from my high position.
They love to deceive
outwardly blessing
inwardly bashing.
5 Find rest, my soul, in God alone
because he’s your only hope.
6 He alone is my rock and my deliverance
my fortress where nothing can shake me.
7 My deliverance and my honor come from God.
My refuge is in God
my strong rock.

8 Everyone, trust in him at all times.
Pour out your hearts before him
because God really is our refuge.
9 Ordinary people are just a breath
the rich and powerful pure delusion.
Put side-by-side on the balance
they add up to less than a single airy breath.
10 Don’t try to get ahead by oppression
or entertain false hopes of a secret haul.
If your wealth multiplies
don’t set your heart on it.
11 Here’s one thing God has said
two things I’ve heard clearly stated:
power belongs to God—
12 so too does unfailing love, Lord.
You repay everyone
for whatever they have done.

David rests in God, his calm in the midst of the storm. He’s being mercilessly pounded by enemies determined to remove him from the high position God has given him. In fact, that’s the only thing they can agree on since they’re otherwise totally given to duplicity—outwardly commending, inwardly condemning. Such evil makes getting pulled into the hurricane’s havoc far easier than resting in God, which requires holding onto him tightly as possible.

In our weakness, we’re tempted to hope others will shore us up or to amass wealth and power for ourselves, through manipulation or, if need be, even some form of theft or power grab. We’re also tempted to view material wealth as reliable. But ill-gotten gain can easily be lost. So David refuses all such God-substitutes. Looking to people—whether crowds or the biggest powerbrokers around—is folly since the whole of humanity doesn’t even weigh enough to register on the scales. It’s not that humankind—created in God’s image—are worthless, but only that they’re not at all worth relying on. And getting ahead through oppression or extortion is counterproductive in the long run.

David urges his people—and himself—to trust God as their true source of hope and to pour their hearts out to him—easier said than done when it seems God doesn’t care. But three interrelated truths form the basis of David’s call: that God is all-powerful, that his love never fails and, implicitly, that he keeps his word and defends his people against their enemies.

Lord, I often wish you’d support me as I think you should, but your thoughts are far higher than mine. You call me to wait humbly on you, love as you love, and give up my small ambitions for your kingdom’s sake. Help me believe your all-powerful love won’t fail me now or ever. Amen.

In your spare moments today, meditate on this truth:

My deliverance and my honor come from God.
My refuge is in God, my strong rock.

Why YHWH?

Every translator of the Psalms must decide how to handle God’s personal name, YHWH or YHVH, which occurs repeatedly in its Hebrew text. Translators of the King James Version usually translated it “LORD” (all caps) and sometimes transliterated it (badly) as “Jehovah.” Likewise, all modern translations either translate or transliterate it. Some other options for translating it are “the Eternal,” “the Almighty,” or “the Sovereign Lord.”

While translating it aims to make it more accessible to readers, transliterating it seems to me more faithful to the text since it’s not a word at all, but rather God’s uniquely personal name. This roots it more firmly in the biblical story as the name God revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai. Meaning “the self-existent One who answers to no one,” the name YHWH set Israel’s God apart from all the gods of Israel’s neighbors.

Personal names are, well, very personal. Even the sound of a name can evoke strong emotion. I’ve chosen to transliterate only YHWH’s consonants since the earliest Hebrew manuscripts contain only consonants, the vowels being added much later. My aim in doing so is to honor God’s name and set it apart, as unique.

One problem with YHWH is that we aren’t sure how it was pronounced since Jews long ago stopped saying it out of reverence. (They read Adonai instead whenever they come to YHWH in the text.) I take the advice of my esteemed Hebrew professor, Raymond Dillard, who advocated pronouncing it as Yahveh (Yah·vay). He favored that over the standard Yahweh since the modern Hebrew pronunciation of its third consonant makes the name sound more robustly Jewish. It also makes it sound more robust, period.

Finding strength in the ancient psalms

May these psalms be a light to you in dark times. You can read more of Mark Anderson's writings on Christianity, culture, and inter-faith dialogue at Understanding Christianity Today.