Who Do You Trust?
Psalm 62:5-12 62:5 For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him. 62:6 He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. 62:7 On God rests my deliverance and my honor; my mighty rock, my refuge is in God. 62:8 Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah 62:9 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. 62:10 Put no confidence in extortion, and set no vain hopes on robbery; if riches increase, do not set your heart on them. 62:11 Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, 62:12 and steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord. For you repay to all according to their work.
[Jonah 3: 1-5, 10; and Mark 1: 14-20]
- Will you trust in the Lord? That is the question resounding throughout the Psalm as the Psalmist offers a confession and a call to trust in God alone.
- The texts assigned to today in our calendar of readings called the lectionary moves us along in the season of Epiphany (when God is revealed as God of all, or some aspect of God’s character is made known).
- Trust in the Lord, Why? Vs. 11-12 Because God is worthy of trust. In contrast to people or things. Vs. 3-4 (not included in the passage read), give the backdrop for why the Psalmist is declaring trust in the Lord alone.
- The psalmist has been under attack from enemies (vs. 3-4)- persecution, deception, lies that indicate these were false friends. The conclusion is drawn that depending on other people is futile, and God alone is worthy of out trust. Such trust generates a deep inner peace in the soul that overwhelms any sense of despair that is being caused by people or circumstances.
- Vs. 5-7 highlights the fact that in the midst of trying times, focusing on God rather than on our problems allows us to experience a peace and a calmness of spirit. Anxiety and stress brought on by our circumstances are brought under control. How is that? Because when we focus on God, we see God’s revelation as a rock (v. 6,7) and fortress (v.6) and source of salvation (v.6,7) and refuge from the storms of this world (7,8).
- Vs. 8-10 Humans can be like breath, fleeting and unpredictable. Regardless of how wealthy one is, or one’s social standing, we can’t or shouldn’t depend on these temporal things for security. We can’t depend on our own wealth or material possessions, especially if obtained through ways that are not of God.
- There is nothing else to look to for security that doesn’t enslave us to these supposed liberators. Some might suggest the past president, #45 is one such “liberator” who has demanded absolute loyalty, offering a sense of security in a certain social position, but for that, one must essentially bow down to him.
- Vs 9 reveals that regardless of rich, poor, powerful or powerless, none are able to secure their own lives. All are lighter than a breath.
- Here’s the Epiphany moment in vs. 11-12 where aspects of God’s character are revealed. Why should we trust in God? Because of God’s power and steadfast love. It is the combination of these two that should foster loyalty to and trust in God. These characteristics are eternal and are promised always to be used for our good.
- Whatever our situation, we can trust God to be both ABLE to deliver us and Willing to do so according to God’s timing.
- The last line gives consequences of God’s power and steadfast love; “For you repay to all according to their work.” In this there is blessed assurance and also a warning; there is assurance that those who put their trust in God ultimately will receive deliverance and a warning that those who put their trust in something or someone else as well as those who use their power to hurt others will be overcome. (Though the message of judgment is not as explicit here).
- The Psalmist heard the proclamation of God’s power and love TWICE.
- In the text from Jonah, the prophet hears the word of the God TWICE too, but for him and the people of Ninevah to whom he has been sent there is a more urgent warning of judgment (40 days to get it together ). People who seemed beyond God’s grace and love, who according to Jonah, didn’t deserve God’s grace, actually believe and repent of their evil ways and God’s mind is changed about the pending doom and destruction.
- In the gospel lesson of Mark, Jesus declares “The time is fulfilled, the Kingdom of God has come near.” This start of Jesus’ earthly ministry presents an urgency about the message of repentance, of trust in and faith in God. The rest of the passage outlines Jesus call of his first disciples- two sets of brothers: Simon and Andrew and James and John. Both sets of brothers IMMEDIATELY respond to Jesus call, leaving everything behind to follow Jesus which is an obvious manifestation of trust.
- In the Psalm, Old Testament and Gospel passages today—a decision needs to be made. Are we going to trust in people or material things or put our trust in and seek security in God?
- Timothy Beach-Verhey in an essay he wrote for Feasting on the Word, states this: “Rich and poor, powerful and weak face a common end shared by all mortals (v. 9). This realization produces anxiety, which in turn generates the temptation to preserve one’s finite existence at any cost (v. 10). Oriented toward self rather than God and neighbor, the constricted heart falls away from its’ true peace into the restless and ultimately fruitless quest for immorality—to be like God. And so individuals and nations, ethnic and class groups, religious communities and political parties betray God’s orderly and good creation in a self-deluded attempt at self-preservation that finally produces destruction and disorder.”1
- Pres. Biden said in his inaugural address that “Our history has been a constant struggle between the American ideal that we’re all created equal and the harsh, ugly reality that racism, nationalism, fear, demonization have long torn us a part. The battle is perennial and victory is never assured.” He goes on to talk about the importance of unity in the fight for justice and equality for all.
I would add to that, our call to trust in God for a discerning spirit and guidance in this quest.
Competing for our trust are humans, material things, and God. Trust in God, because the power belongs to God. Ultimately, we trust because of our relationships. May you develop your relationship with God and then trust in God alone. Amen.