Finding Rest in God

Reading: Psalm 62
Some people find life today to be exciting, provoking, stimulating, challenging... But for many people there is so much that is just plain "agitating".

For one thing, life in the "fast lane" is fraught with all kinds of problems. It tends to be very self-centred, caring little for others. It calls for instant decision and action with too little forethought about consequences. If things donít work out or people are hurt, we have to "move on", making the best of it.

In the "fast lane", there is a tendency to believe that change is good for its own sake - the tried-and-true ways of the past must be left behind. Public opinion and "political correctness" inform and guide decisions rather than careful thought and reflection.

In the midst of all this, our news and current affairs are disturbing. Violence, road rage, marriage and family breakdown, child abuse and more... all seem to be on the increase right here in Australia. The threat of terrorism simply brings home to us that we are becoming a violent world. "We will get the terrorists", we are assured, "but it may take some time". The time and cost of hunting down terrorists seem to increase all the time. How can we be secure any more?

Most seriously, however, we see the erosion of traditional values. They used to talk about three absolutes - Truth, Beauty and Goodness. Truth is no longer seen to be absolute - what is "true for you" may not be "true for me". Beauty is said to be "in the eye of the beholder" - "highly-acclaimed" works of art and music can leave us pondering afresh the story of the emperorís new clothes. As for Goodness... I have the right to choose what is "right" or "good" for me, so "donít tell me what to do!"

Increasingly, we see faithfulness in marriage sacrificed for convenience and pleasure. Formerly-respected womenís magazines parade the benefits and delights of de facto relationships. Gay couples now play key roles in many television programmes... The majority of Australians are uneasy about many of these changes, but themselves lack the foundation for a better way of life.

We donít know the circumstances in which David wrote Psalm 62. It was clearly a time of strong opposition - some have suggested the rebellion under Absolom. It was, to use our term above, a time of "agitating" circumstances.

"My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him" (v. 1), he writes. "Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him" (v. 5). The word "rest" also means "silence". So the NRSV commences this Psalm, "For God alone my soul waits in silence" - and so do other translations as well. It is really about having confidence in God - expecting him to act, but not telling him what to do.

In spite of all their battering - both verbal and physical - and their lies and cursing, God alone "is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken" (v. 2); "My salvation and my honour depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge" (v. 7).

The Lord is both "strong" and "loving" (vv. 11-12). "Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge" (v. 8).

Ponder those two words. God is strong - and able to help us. He is loving and wants to help us.

Do we ever get agitated? Itís time to put our confident trust in the Lord. "Find rest in God alone" - "Wait in silence for God". Let his presence and love and peace fill our being. We donít have to be agitated. Even if the world falls apart, we donít have to fall apart.

Robert Browning wrote -

A fine piece of poetry about peace and harmony and orderliness, but - is the regularity and certainty of everything happening as it should the guarantee that God is still in control? We can "find rest in God" even in the midst of confusion and pain and disappointment. At all times and in all circumstances we can trust in him and pour out our hearts to him.

Prayer: Father God, you are strong and loving. You are able to help us and you really want to help us. Right now there is so much to agitate us. We canít keep pace with all this change. It doesnít seem to be all right and good anyway. Then, Lord, we donít feel so safe and secure any more. And now so many people are writing their own rules - instead of obeying yours! Lord, we come to you, to be nourished by your Word, to be led by your Holy Spirit. We trust you, we find rest in you. In Jesusí name, Amen.

Strong and Loving

Strong and loving
Father God
who thought
the world
and spoke
the word
and all things
came to be.

Strong and loving
Son of God
who left
his glory,
came among us,
healed the sick,
called the sinner,
opened wide
the way to God.

Strong and loving
arms were taken,
nailed to cross,
by all forsaken,
bearing sin,
for sinners lonely,
opened wide
the way to heaven,
beckons all
to enter in.

Strong and loving
Spirit holy,
come to bring us,
shape us,
fill us,
use us,
make us
strong and loving
too.


© Peter J. Blackburn, Burdekin BlueCare Devotions, 5 August 2003.
Except where otherwise noted, Scripture quotations are from the New International Version, © International Bible Society, 1984.

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