To the chief Musician, to Jeduthun, A Psalm of David.
1 Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from Him cometh my salvation.
2 He only is my rock and my salvation: He is my defence: I shall not be greatly moved.
3 How long will ye imagine mischief against a man? ye shall be slain all of you: as a bowing wall shall ye be, and as a tottering fence.
4 They only consult to cast him down from his excellency: they delight in lies: they bless with their mouth, but they curse inwardly. Selah.
5 My soul, wait thou only upon God: for my expectation is from Him.
6 He only is my rock and my salvation: He is my defence: I shall not be moved.
7 In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.
8 Trust in Him at all times: ye people, pour out your heart before Him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.
9 Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity.
10 Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery: if riches increase, set not your heart upon them.
11 God hath spoken once: twice have I heard this: that power belongeth unto God.
12 Also unto Thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy: for Thou renderest to every man according to his work.
Whatever you do, do not set your heart on men, on their powerful governments, or upon riches: rather set your heart on God.
Political power is often corrupting, abusive, and frightening. With the kind of power that collects in large national and international governing bodies in this age, the average citizen feels intimidated, controlled, and even overwhelmed in the presence of such power. But we know the Source of all power and we will not be intimidated by these powerful governments. We will not trust in oppression and we will not fear it. Thus, we gather a boldness from this psalm, so that we can issue correctives in the face of arrogant tyrants, following the examples of men like Elijah or John the Baptist. We can see the precarious nature of their position and we know that their end is near. For our trust is in Yahweh, our God, the Creator of heaven and earth. Here is an encouragement towards all-out reckless faith in God.
Verses 1–2. This psalm is clearly an exhortation to trust in God. At the outset, David gives personal testimony to his own trust in God. Imagine a father who leaves his five-year-old daughter in the middle of a raging storm. Before he leaves her, he tells her, “Just wait here for me. I will be back to get you in a little while.” As the flood waters rise, she still waits. The waters climb above her knees to her waist, and then to her neck. And she waits. Do you know why she waits for her father? Because she trusts in him that much. This is what David speaks of when he says his soul waits upon God. He is willing to wait for God even through the most trying circumstances of his life because he knows that God will never let him down.
Moreover, he refuses to look anywhere else for salvation. The little girl might be tempted to call on somebody else when her father does not respond right away. But for David, there is no other Rock, no other defense or salvation in the day of trouble. David exhorts us here by his own personal testimony: “Do not trust in yourself or in anything else for salvation. Only God can save you from the curse of your sins, the world, the flesh, and the devil.”
Verses 3–4. In these two verses, David gives us some insight concerning the occasion of this psalm. Evidently, there were men who were plotting murder and treason against the king. But who is the king of whom he speaks? Throughout the Psalms, David speaks interchangeably of himself and his line of kings, which culminates in the Lord Jesus Christ. When David refers to the plotting of the powers of this world against the king, he is also speaking of those that plot against Yahweh and His Anointed (reference Ps. 2:1–2). Every power in this world, including the President of the United States, has a duty to submit to the King of kings and to obey His laws. Still, after 2,000 years of Christ’s reign, not all presidents and kings will submit to Christ. Many still take delight in lies and conspire against the King. Sometimes they may profess allegiance to the King with their mouths, but their hearts and lives do not reflect that allegiance. They are hypocrites.
David pronounces God’s curse upon them. The righteous man retains a proper vision of these men in their precarious state. If these conspirators do not repent, God will kill them. They may appear strong and powerful today as they control trillions of dollars and a large percentage of the gross national income, but their empires are built upon sand and they are nothing but broken down fences and tottering walls.
Verses 5–8. These verses return to the theme of the psalm, an exhortation for us to trust in God alone as Savior. David pounds the lesson in with repetition and force. He tells us to hang all of our hopes for salvation on God alone. Even as the little girl continues to wait on her father as the flood waters rise above her chin, we will not give up hope for God’s final salvation. This faith will be manifested in our prayers. David encourages us to pour out our heart’s concerns to God. Those who merely cope with their trials by relying for comfort on such things as food, entertainment, or friends, will not turn to God in faith for His help and final salvation.
Verses 9–12. These verses contain a vitally important lesson. Power will always invite trust. That is, men will instinctively trust those with power. But the Psalmist warns us not to trust in men, for they are nothing but vanity. Whether or not they have money and power, they are worth less than nothing. Their empires will turn into dust and the trust that men put into them will be worthless. Whenever men centralize power, they use it to oppress others, and that is happening in our country right now. Only 100 years ago our governments (on federal, state, and local levels) took a mere 10% of our yearly income in taxes. Slowly that percentage increased to almost 50% as these governments grew their power bases, eventually forming the most powerful governments the world has ever known. But why should a democratic form of government (where people elect their leaders) allow this sort of tyranny to grow? The answer is simple: they were lured into trusting these power bases to provide them with health and welfare and to solve their problems for them. Apparently this nation did not take to heart David’s warning in verse 10—“Do not trust in these oppressive governments!”
Moreover, David warns us against trusting in our own money. Even if you are able to save your money and you become a little richer than the next fellow, you should never trust in that money. As the wise man in the Proverbs says, “That money can grow wings and fly away tomorrow.” (Prov. 23:5) Seeing that all other objects of trust are weak and vain, David exhorts us to trust in God. If anyone has a little power, it is only because God who is the sovereign Source of all power allowed him to have it. Power invites trust. But the only one with absolute and total power is God Himself. Therefore, trust Him!
But God is also merciful and that is where the psalm ends. The fact that God rewards us with heaven is all mercy, because whatever good things we produce in our lives are but a product of faith, which is a gift of God. God is all-powerful, great in mercy, and worthy of our praise!
The obvious question posed by this psalm is this: Where is your ultimate trust? On your worst day, are you leaning upon powerful governments, your own bank account, or on our all-powerful, faithful God? That is the question David puts to each of us today. When life gets tough for us and the flood waters rise, let us cry out to our Heavenly Father for salvation and never lose hope in Him.
1. In worship we may draw contrasts between the power and mercy of God and the empty vanity of man and his creations.
2. Worship should increase our faith in God by personal testimony and by direct, resounding exhortations like this one. Even our public worship services may include personal testimonies, but we must be cautious. When men begin to include their own testimonies in worship, the attention is easily shifted from God to man. Always give God the glory and encourage others to trust in Him as you testify to what God has done in your life.
1. What is the context of this psalm?
2. Who should we trust for our salvation?
3. Who is the king who is conspired against in this psalm?
4. What happens to these conspirators?
5. What is it that attracts trust?
1. Have we come to trust in the provision of government and the redistribution of wealth promised by socialists instead of trusting in God and walking in His law? Where is our trust?
2. Do you think that you could speak a corrective word to a king without getting nervous? What would cause you to fear in such a situation?