When I look at this picture I see much of the depth, tension, and resolve that is presented by the poet & song writer who penned the words of in Psalm 62. The psalmist’s opening refrain declares “Only God” is the place of rest, a stronghold for refuge, and source of salvation, a refrain echoed four times in this song. This picture was taken just near a mountain peak off the shores of Lake Tahoe. The young adventurer on overlooking resting on the bench is my oldest daughter who was set on reaching the top of this mountain. The distance and elevation of the hike affected her more than either of us anticipated but she was bound and determined that she would not give up but took full advantage of each of these resting places on the way up. Psalm 62:2 says “Only God is my rock and my salvation-my stronghold!-I won’t be shaken anymore.” In the midst of the struggle to gain perspective of our surroundings we must remind ourselves to take moments of rest rest, like the psalmist and my daughter, in the one who is steady, constant, and welcoming. From a place of rest, stillness, and silence we can take stock of where we are, how far we have come, and where we have yet to go. Yet, we must continue to move forward.
“How long will all of you attack others; how long will you tear them down as if they were leaning walls or broken-down fences?” I see these words in the cement path leading away from the bench just behind my daughter, the path that led her back towards the top of the mountain. We had never done this hike before and she was determined to make it to the top yet, at times, greatly frustrated with me for how unceasingly difficult and unending the hike seemed to be. Would we ever make it to the top? Would this burning in our legs really lead us to a place where we could catch a full view of the lake, which we only could see in momentary glimpses? This is the path that beckons us to continue to move forward, to not simply stop and hide within the comfort of our rest but face those who seek our destruction because our trust is within the strength and salvation of the only God whom rest and salvation is assured.
“Human beings are nothing but a breath.” The psalmist pens these words in verse nine of Psalm 62. As I stood and took this picture of my daughter, I momentary lost my breath as I became overwhelmed with the immensity of what I was seeing. I was looking at a young girl who holds the entirety of my heart yet to see her in light of the trees, the mountain, and even the lake in the background she seems so small, simple, and, dare I say, fleeting. The forest and lake have been in residence for centuries while at our best we may fill close to a single century ourselves. To place my hope and identity in being a the father of this girl or even anything else seemed, in that moment, to be so small in comparison to the longevity of the scenery that encompassed my daughter and I. The one who created this place that has far outlived my ancestors and will long outlive me, is the one and the only God for whom I will trust because it God is the only one whom it can be said, “faithful love comes from you, my Lord” because forever is still smaller than He.
Only in God do I find rest;
my salvation comes from him.
Only God is my rock and my salvation—
my stronghold!—I won’t be shaken anymore.
How long will all of you attack others;
how long will you tear them down
as if they were leaning walls or broken-down fences?
The only desire of this people
is to bring others down low;
they delight in deception.
With their mouths they bless,
but inside they are cursing. Selah
Oh, I must find rest in God only,
because my hope comes from him!
Only God is my rock and my salvation—
my stronghold!—I will not be shaken.
My deliverance and glory depend on God.
God is my strong rock.
My refuge is in God.
All you people: Trust in him at all times!
Pour out your hearts before him!
God is our refuge! Selah
Human beings are nothing but a breath.
Human beings are nothing but lies.
They don’t even register on a scale;
taken all together they are lighter than a breath!
Don’t trust in violence;
don’t set false hopes in robbery.
When wealth bears fruit,
don’t set your heart on it.
God has spoken one thing—
make it two things—
that I myself have heard:
that strength belongs to God,
and faithful love comes from you, my Lord—
and that you will repay
everyone according to their deeds.