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October 7, 2018     “The Rest We Share”      Psalm 62:1–8

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Let’s begin with an obvious statement: Social medias bring us a lot of information thru our electronic devices. These media-forms give us instant news, with live pictures, & interviews of people experiencing situations in their lives. Some of this has been a blessing to people in need. By calls, texts, emails, or other messaging, rescuers can bring immediate assistance to people in times of a crisis; such as during an accident, or a weather event.    First responders can locate where the message comes from and find people, or send the nearest rescue team; that saves time and lives.

But these social medias have =for many= increased the level of fear & uncertainty about their safety, or the future. Bad news travels the fastest: school shootings, terrorist acts in crowds, & personal threats are just a few things that have robbed many of security or peace. For years we heard that everyone =the whole world= just wants more peace & love & tolerance. *How did it so quickly change to ‘weaponizing’ media-posts, & using ‘messaging’ as hostility against those we just disagree with?   This should not be-so among God’s people!

Instead of peace, we’re always on the brink of /arguments, /threats, /profane language at public meetings, /violent protests, /running people out of restaurants, /disrupting the senate chambers, /& fighting in the streets. That’s not peace, that’s warfare. *Is this just a ‘phase’ our culture is going thru, OR are hatred & division a real change, and love & peace are really gone?

Not so long ago, a person had to wait until after work or school to find out what was happening in the world by the evening news. Now, by computer or smartphone, we can be accosted by bad news all day, minute-by-minute, as it happens ~ live. *Do people know where to go for peace & security all day, minute-by-minute, in this new world? Hiding-out in rural & small-town MN doesn’t help; giving-up your smartphone or computer might help == but *who can do tha t and still function in a lot of daily life, school or business?   *Are we just stuck with this insecurity & fear?

First of all, in Biblical wisdom, we know that ‘there is nothing new under the sun’; insecurity & fear is as old as Genesis chpt.3, & the Garden of Eden, & the sin of Adam & Eve.

In Psalm 62 we perceive that mighty King David was familiar with the insecurity of his world. David shares his own uncertainty, and also shares where he found peace & rest. At that time, he was under a serious attack from an enemies who wanted to overthrow him as king; and that’s not just voting him out of office, but sending him into the ‘hereafter’.

There are hints in the verses that David is an older man when he wrote the Psalm.

He says he’s “like a leaning wall, a tottering fence”. Obviously, a new wall or fence begins straight & strong; but after time & troubles it begins to be wabbly, shaky. Some Bible scholars believe that this Psalm might be a reference to the revolt by David’s son Absalom, when David was an older man.

That struggle began in 2Sam.15. Absalom would rise up early in the morning, and stand by the city gate engaging people, and telling them how their lives would be better if he were king. Verse 6 says that Absalom “stole the hearts of the men of Israel.”    After doing this for

4 years he gathered his supporters at Hebron and declared himself king. When this news came to King David, he had to flee Jerusalem quickly; and if it weren’t for God’s Spirit moving Absalom to believe bad advice to delay pursuing his father, David might not have survived this rebellion.  On the run, King David was in a very precarious situation.

Whatever situation David was in when he writes this Psalm, The Lord wants US to know the very strong response David had in the face of threat & uncertainty. Besides serious trouble, this Psalm proclaims David’s seriously strong faith, and it proclaims where WE find rest & peace when we are confronted with any of the threats and all of the uncertainties in our world. Rest & peace are found in God alone. He is the rock, fortress, & salvation we need.

Back in February of this year, a High School in Parkland Florida was in the news. Melissa Falkowski was an English teacher there; she hid 19 students in her classroom closet when she learned there was an active shooter at the school. Let’s not use the word ‘hero’; let’s say this woman was ‘wise & brave.’ Hiding & protecting those students is a reflection of our God, who hides you in the shadow of His wings as evil prowls around trying to find & harm God’s children.(Psalm 57:1). What other eternal refuge can there be than the Almighty who see & knows ALL. This is the One & Only; the Father who sent His very ‘heart’, His Only Son to defend us, and to give His life for us.

Also at Parkland High School, Assistant coach Aaron Feis reflects the Son of God. Coach Feis stepped in front of students to protect them from the bullets, and gave his life for those kids.  On the cross, Jesus took God’s just & fitting penalty for our sin =eternal death= and He died in our place, that we would live. The only place you can find lasting rest in this chaotic world is in The One who walked here with us, as one of us;   and who conquered death, and who gives you a new & different Life.

Everything Jesus came to do & give for us we receive by the declaration of God’s Living Word; when he declares it, it happens. /He declares our forgiveness, and it is ours    by a pastor’s absolution; / He declares our new birth in Him, and it is ours in our baptism; /    /He declares a meal that feeds us on the very body & blood of our forgiveness, and we leave His Table refreshed & with courage.

By the power of His Spirit-filled Word, you & I receive a spiritual rest that washes over & into our physical lives. This is the strength of His presence & grace to us. God’s focus on us, and our focus on Him, is thru Jesus;   so that no matter what in the world comes against us,

He is Lord over ALL,  and He is your rock of protection, and your salvation.

Some scholars present Ps.62 as different from most Psalms. Psalms usually describe the bad situation the writer is experiencing, and the prayers asking God for help. Psalm 62 doesn’t include a prayer; instead, it makes a strong statement of faith & confidence in the face of a challenging situation.    Psalm 23 is kind-of like this == not making any request of God. Ps. 23 declares: The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want! And even tho we walk in ‘death valley’,

I will fear no evil! …our Good Shepherd is with us all-the-way.

Psalm 62 declares God to be our rock & salvation; the One who gives us rest, and quiets our souls. With such a God, we don’t have to request for something to happen for us;

He already IS our rock & salvation. We don’t have to pray to ‘move’ Him or ‘release’ His help for us; we just need to hear it declared again so as to believe it. He already IS !

These kinds of Psalms declare the greatness of God, and in that very declaration to us, we receive a deep & spiritual encouragement for our living. David serves as a witness to God’s grace & rescue. He is calling out from history that we, too, have a Good Shepherd. We, too, can trust God as our rock & salvation.

Another interesting part of this Psalm is that David doesn’t use the usual Hebrew word for “rest” which means a physical & emotional ‘breather.’ David uses a different word,   often translated “silent” or “silence” because this word goes beyond physical rest. Like the idea of ‘sabbath rest’ this word invites us to stand in the presence of Almighty God ==

not saying anything, & not bringing anything; but in silence receiving the peace that our only rock & salvation gives us, no matter what’s happening to us or around us.

David knows that his troubles come from people who use lies & falsehood to bring him down from his place of honor. He says that they outwardly bless him with their mouths, but inwardly curse him, and want him defeated.  It’s at this point that David inserts the word “Selah.” It’s thought to be a notation for the singers, musicians, or reader to pause before going on; it gives a moment to ponder what’s just been said.

So, up to this point, *what has David said? He has declared that his soul waits in silence on God alone; that God is his rock & salvation, and he will not be greatly shaken, but will rest secure. Then he says what his enemies are doing = attacking, & battering with lies = kind on the outside, cursing on the inside. ‘Selah’ = pause & ponder your trouble or enemies; *do you know what he’s talking about?

Yes, We do. Our enemy, the devil, & all who follow him, desire us to fall down from our place of honor as children of God; the wordly love to see us fall into sin, don’t they? We sin, & they say ‘see, you Christianity is a sham!’ Satan will challenge us to doubt God’s forgiveness & love for us. Our very soul is in battle against a mighty foe = we can’t defeat him; but that doesn’t make us a wabbly wall or shaky fence. The cross is our sign!

Because of who God is, and His commitment to us, our faith gets in-the-face of our trouble, before any deliverance is in sight.   Faith declares what is yet unseen; we say with David, “For God alone my soul waits in silence, from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.”

Our ‘silence’ is golden. Our enemy would say that we have to earn God’s favor by being extra ‘good’. If that were so, we could never rest, because we’d never be sure we were doing enough. Instead, God invites us into His presence to stand in silence, and just receive from Him His love & mercy, based on His actions. That’s pure grace.

There is one more “Selah” in Psalm 62. It comes at the end of verse 8. After David has described his own troubles & faith, now he tells US to have the same courage. He writes: Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah. {pause & think}

David’s world back then, & ours today, is the same chaotic & scary world = same lying enemies. And the same good gifts & courage have been given to US.    This is the idea in 1Cor.10, as the apostle Paul talks about God’s people in the OT.

He says, For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,   and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them.   And *what was the spiritual rock that followed them and sustained them thru flood & heat & scarcity & fear? Paul says this:

And the Rock was Christ.

Current hurricanes get compared to the great threat & damage of ‘Katrina’ of aug.2005 or to ‘Harvey’ of aug.2017.    There were many stories about courageous rescues, and generous relief efforts. BUT, this life has a bigger threat than any hurricane. We might not convince those whose new religion is ‘climate change’, but there is a much greater storm than any hurricane multiplied by a million.

The storm of sin & death engulfs humanity. We are all helpless & stranded by the floodwaters of our fallenness away from God.   But then the greatest rescue in the history of the world unfolded. Our rock & salvation came to us, and bore our sins and its just punishment on himself. He is the One who was promised to Adam & Eve; the one who died & rose from the dead to give us the great confidence: that no matter who attacks us, or what is happening around us, He is with us.  Washed in His Name, we stand before the Father with our soul in silent honor & awe!   In Christ we have life, and have it abundantly.

This is the 76-year message behind the mission & serving of the LWML, the official women’s auxiliary of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.   The newer phrase for our LWML women is ‘Lutheran Women in Mission.’ And armed with the same gospel, they reflect the same courage in the face of world~troubles as did King David.

Collecting ‘mites’ =pennies, nickels, dimes,& quarters= into mite boxes, would be useless, except that behind that collecting is the quiet faith & courage that the soul’s true rest in is God alone.

Over the last 76 years, the LWML has gone thru various changes in the way it’s organized & seen on the outside. I think every congregation’s women’s groups could say that; changes & alterations are part of being God’s people in a world where time passes & things change. But the good & holy purpose of the LWML is not changed, because it’s founded upon The Rock.

So the LWML continues to fund mission goals, which are carried out by real people affecting real lives facing real troubles with the real courage that God’s Spirit gives in a fallen world. It’s a courage & faith that can’t be better summed up than in Jesus & His cross of forgiveness.

The witness & encouragement of a strong LWML is good for our whole church body. All of us see people around us that struggle with insecurity, worry, or fear. In this Faith, you & I are living in the true rest & peace of the Son of God; and thru us, that Savior wants many others to find their true rest in Him.

King David faced uncertainty; … don’t we all. Thru Living Word & Spirit,

David received the gift of silence;  a special kind of ‘rest’ that’s far beyond a little nap in an easy-chair.   It’s both life-relief and life-courage, and this ‘rest’ stands strong in the face of any, & every, trouble.  This is the faith of God’s people in Christ == past, present & future.

“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.

He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress;

I shall not be greatly shaken.”

Amen