PSALM 62 OVERVIEW
Title. To the Chief Musician, to Jeduthun. This is the second Psalm which is dedicated to Jeduthun, or Ethan, the former one being the thirty-ninth, a Psalm which is almost a twin with this in many respects, containing in the original the word translated only four times as this does six. We shall meet with two other Psalms similarly appointed for Jeduthun: namely, Psalms 77, and 89. The sons of Jeduthun were porters or doorkeepers, according to 1Ch 16:42. Those who serve well make the best of singers, and those who occupy the highest posts in the choir must not be ashamed to wait at the posts of the doors of the Lord's house. A PSALM OF DAVID. Even had not the signature of the royal poet been here placed, we should have been sure from internal evidence that he alone penned these stanzas; they are truly Davidic. From the sixfold use of the word ac or only, we have been wont to call it THE ONLY PSALM.
Division. The Psalmist has marked his own pauses, by inserting SELAH at the end of Psalms 62:4 Psalms 62:8 . His true and sole confidence in God laughs to scorn all its enemies. When this Psalm was composed it was not necessary for us to know, since true faith is always in season, and is usually under trial. Moreover, the sentiments here uttered are suitable to occasions which are very frequent in a believer's life, and therefore no one historic incident is needful for their explanation.
Verse 1. Truly, or verily, or only. The last is probably the most prominent sense here. That faith alone is true which rests on God alone, that confidence which relies but partly on the Lord is vain confidence. If we Anglicized the word by our word verily, as some do, we should have here a striking reminder of our blessed Lord's frequent use of that adverb.
My soul waiteth upon God. My inmost self draws near in reverent obedience to God. I am no hypocrite or mere posture maker. To wait upon God, and for God, is the habitual position of faith; to wait on him truly is sincerity; to wait on him only is spiritual chastity. The original is, "only to God is my soul silence." The presence of God alone could awe his heart into quietude, submission, rest, and acquiescence; but when that was felt, not a rebellious word or thought broke the peaceful silence. The proverb that speech is silver but silence is gold, is more than true in this case. No eloquence in the world is half so full of meaning as the patient silence of a child of God. It is an eminent work of grace to bring down the will and subdue the affections to such a degree, that the whole mind lies before the Lord like the sea beneath the wind, ready to be moved by every breath of his mouth, but free from all inward and self caused emotion, as also from all power to be moved by anything other than the divine will. We should be wax to the Lord, but adamant to every other force.
From him cometh my salvation. The good man will, therefore, in patience possess his soul till deliverance comes: faith can hear the footsteps of coming salvation, because she has learned to be silent. Our salvation in no measure or degree comes to us from any inferior source; let us, therefore, look alone to the true fountain, and avoid the detestable crime of ascribing to the creature what belongs alone to the Creator. If to wait on God be worship, to wait on the creature is idolatry; if to wait on God alone be true faith, to associate an arm of the flesh with him is audacious unbelief.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Psalms 62, and 63 compared. ONLY AND EARLY. There is a sweet and profitable lesson taught us in Psalms 62 and 63. The heart is ever prone to divide its confidence between God and the creature. This will never do. We must "wait only upon God." "He only" must be our "rock," our "salvation," and our "defence." Then we are frequently tempted to look to an arm of flesh first, and when that fails us, we look to God. This will never do either. He must be our first as well as our only resource. "O God, thou art my God, early will I seek thee." This is the way in which the heart should ever treat the blessed God. This is the lesson of Psalm 63. When we have learnt the blessedness of seeking God "only," we shall be sure to seek him "early." Charles Mackintosh, in "Things New and Old," 1858.
Whole Psalm. There is in it throughout not one single word (and this is a rare occurrence), in which the prophet expresses fear or dejection; and there is also no prayer in it, although, on other occasions, when in danger, he never omits to pray... The prophet found himself remarkably well furnished in reference to that part of piety which consists in pleroforia, the full assurance and perfection of faith; and therefore he designed to rear a monument of this his state of mind, for the purpose of stimulating the reader to the same attainment. Moses Amyraut, 1596-1664.
Whole Psalm. Athanasius says of this Psalm: "Against all attempts upon thy body, thy state, thy soul, thy fame, temptations, tribulations, machinations, defamations", say this Psalm. John Donne.
Verse 1. Only. The particle may be rendered only, as restrictive; or, surely, as affirmative. Our translators have rendered it differently in different verses of this Psalm; Psalms 62:1 , truly; in Psalms 62:2 Psalms 62:4-6 , only; in Psalms 62:9 , surely. If we render only, the meaning will be here that God exclusively is the object of trust; if surely, that this truth, that God is his salvation, has come home to him with a more lively conviction, with a more blessed certainty than ever. The first line of the verse rendered literally is, "Only unto God my soul is silence." J. J. Stewart Perowne.
Verse 1. Truly my soul waiteth upon God, etc. In the use of means, for answers of prayer, for performance of promises, and for deliverance from enemies, and out of every trouble: or, is silent, as the Targum; not as to prayer, but as to murmuring; patiently and quietly waiting for salvation until the Lord's time come to give it; being subject to him, as the Septuagint, Vulgate, Latin, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions; resigned to his will, and patient under his afflicting hand: it denotes a quiet, patient waiting on the Lord, and not merely bodily exercise in outward ordinances; but an inward frame of spirit, a soul waiting on the Lord, and that in truth and reality, in opposition to mere form and show. John Gill.
Verse 1. Truly my soul waiteth upon God; or, as the Hebrew, My soul is silent. Indeed, waiting on God for deliverance, in an afflicted state, consists much in a holy silence. It is a great mercy, in an affliction, to have our bodily senses, so as not to lie raving, but still and quiet, much more to have the heart silent and patient; and we find the heart is as soon heated into a distemper as the head. Now what the sponge is to the cannon, when hot with often shooting, hope is to the soul in multiplied afflictions; it cools the spirit and makes it meeker it, so that it doth not break out into distempered thoughts or words against God. (See also Psalms 62:5 .) William Gurnall.
Verse 1. Waiteth. Waiting is nothing else but hope and trust lengthened. John Trapp.
Verse 1. My soul is silent before God. As if he had said: to me as a man God has put in subjection all his creatures; to me as a king he has subjected the whole of Judaea, the Philistines, the Moabites, Syrians, Idumeans, Ammonites, and other tribes; having taken me from the sheep cotes he has adorned me with a crown and sceptre now these thirty years, and extended my kingdom to the sea, and to the great river Euphrates; it is not without reason, then, that I subject myself to God alone in this affliction, wherein Absalom thirsts to crush me, especially since he reveals the deliverance prepared for me, and from him alone can I expect it. Thomas Le Blanc -- 1669, in Psalmorum Davidicorum Analysis.
Verse 1. Is silent. The Hebrew word used is hymwd dumijah, that is, silent, resting, expecting, reflecting, solicitous, and observing. For, first, we ought to be subject to God as silent disciples before a master ... Whatever God has allowed to happen to me, yet I will be silent before him, and from my heart admire, both enduring his strokes and receiving his teaching... Secondly, we ought to be subject to God as creatures keeping quiet before their Creator... "Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker." Isaiah 45:9 . Thirdly, we ought to be subject to God as clay in the hands of the potter, ready for the form into which he wishes to fashion us... "As clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel." Jeremiah 18:6 . Fourthly, we ought to be subject to God, as a maid servant to her master, observing his wish, even in the most menial affairs... Fifthly, we ought to be subject to God, as a wife to her husband (sponsa sponso), who in her love is solicitous and careful to do whatever may be pleasing to him. "My beloved is mine, and I am his." 2:16 . And, "I am my beloved's." 6:3 . Thomas Le Blanc.
Verse 1. After almost every quiet prayer and holy meditation in the divine presence, we have the consciousness that there was an ear which heard us, and a heart that received our sighs. The effect of a silent colloquy with God is so soothing! There was a time when I used greatly to wonder at these words of Luther: --
"Bear and forbear, and silent be,
Tell no man thy misery;
Yield not in trouble to dismay,
God can deliver any day."
I wondered because we feel the outpouring of grief into the heart of a friend to be so sweet. At the same time, he who talks much of his troubles to men is apt to fall into a way of saying too little of them to God; while, on the other hand, he who has often experienced the blessed alleviation which flows from silent converse with the Eternal, loses much of his desire for the sympathy of his fellows. It appears to me now as if spreading out our distress too largely before men served only to make it broader, and to take away its zest; and hence the proverb, "Talking of trouble makes it double." On the contrary, if when in distress we can contrive to maintain calm composure of mind, and to bear it always as in the sight of God, submissively waiting for succour from him, according to the words of the psalmist, Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation; in that case, the distress neither extends in breadth nor sinks in depth. It lies upon the surface of the heart like the morning mist, which the sun as it ascends dissipates into light clouds. Agustus F. Tholuck, in "Hours of Christian Devotion," 1870.
Verse 1. The natural mind is ever prone to reason, when we ought to believe; to be at work, when we ought to be quiet; to go our own way, when we ought steadily to walk on in God's ways, however trying to nature... And how does it work, when we thus anticipate God, by going our own way? We bring, in many instances, guilt on our conscience; but if not, we certainly weaken faith, instead of increasing it; and each time we work thus a deliverance of our own, we find it more and more difficult to trust in God, till at last we give way entirely to our natural fallen reason, and unbelief prevails. How different if one is enabled to wait God's own time, and to look alone to him for help and deliverance! When at last help comes, after many seasons of prayer it may be, and after much exercise of faith and patience it may be, how sweet it is, and what a present recompense does the soul at once receive for trusting in God, and waiting patiently for his deliverance! Dear Christian reader, if you have never walked in this path of obedience before, do so now, and you will then know experimentally the sweetness of the joy which results from it. George Mller, in "A Narrative of some of the Lord's Dealings," 1856.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- What he did? Waited upon God. Believed, was
patient, was silent in resignation, was obedient.
- To whom he did it? To his God, who is true, a
sovereign, gracious, etc.
- How he did it? With his soul, truly and only.
- What came of it? Salvation present, personal,
WORKS WRITTEN ABOUT THE SIXTY-SECOND PSALM IN SPURGEON'S DAY
An Exposition upon some Select Psalmes of David. Containing great store of most excellent and comfortable doctrine and instruction for all those that (under the burden of sinne), thirst for comfort in Christ Jesus. Written by that faithful servant of God, M. ROBERT ROLLOK, sometime pastor in the Church of Edinburgh: and translated out of Latin into English, by CHARLES LUMISDEN. Minister of the Gospel of Christ at Dudingstoun... 1600. (Contains an Exposition of Psalm 62.)
Certain Comfortable Expositions of the constant Martyr of Christ, John Hooper, bishop of Gloucester and Worcester... Written in the time of tribulation and imprisonment, upon the Twenty-third, Sixty-second, Seventy-third, and Seventy-seventh Psalms of the prophet David.