by Pastor David Groendyk
“The psalm’s theme of exclusive trust is vital and far-reaching,” writes Joel Beeke. All throughout this chapter, King David gives us reasons to trust God alone in the midst of trial. God alone is salvation, a fortress, a rock, security, stability, hope, and a refuge (vv. 1–2, 5–8). It is this God for whom we ought to wait to deliver us and no other god. He is utterly reliable to be there for us, more than any other potential savior or deliverer could be. In all times, in every way, we are to trust God alone.
There is an interesting emphasis on money in this psalm. It could be that in some way David is being exploited by wealthy and powerful men (meaning this psalm could’ve been written before he was king). Or perhaps he’s simply seeing the state of some of the people of God and is writing on their behalf. Either way, it’s not an uncommon scenario for the believer to find himself or herself being oppressed by someone with more money or power or influence than them. As the ESV Study Bible points us, David hits on two temptations that Christians can have in that scenario. One temptation is to despair altogether and give up hope (implicit in vv. 1–2, 11–12); the other temptation is to fight fire with fire, so to speak, and “to seek security in power and wealth rather than in God” (vv. 9–10). When God is on our side, neither of these temptations ought to take hold of us, and that is what David is seeking to remind himself of. Both rich, influential people and anonymous, poor people mean nothing when weighed next to God (v. 9). Riches and wealth, whether gained licitly or illicitly, will fail (v. 10). Especially since we live in one of the wealthiest countries to ever exist, this is a great temptation for us. Even though you may think your heart is free from putting trust in your bank account, I urge you to re-examine yourself. Sin is deceptive, Satan is clever, and our own hearts are fickle. In what ways are you potentially placing your trust in your own wealth or power or influence? In what ways are you tempted to give up hope altogether? How do God’s power, love, and reliability in this psalm help you in your weakness?
We also see in this psalm the ways in which true faith expresses itself (as observed by Joel Beeke). First, true faith causes the Christian to pour out their heart before God (v. 8). All of David’s deepest troubles, darkest despairs, and most difficult sins are poured out to God in prayer. Pouring out your heart and expressing your deepest feelings does not make you soft or weak (maybe it’s obvious that I’m speaking from a man’s perspective?). It does not make you a bad Christian either. God expects and commands you to pour out your heart. Withhold nothing from God in prayer. Do you pour out your heart before God? Second, true faith causes the Christian to think lightly of men (v. 9). Whether enemies or allies, politicians or celebrities, rich or poor, all people are as light as a breath before God. This is why the psalms say many times elsewhere, “What can man do to me?” We must have an accurate view of humanity. There is no human who can rescue the world (apart from Jesus), and there is no human who can drive it to hell. Do you have this proper perspective of mankind? Third, true faith causes the Christian to listen to God (vv. 11–12). David is desperately seeking out God’s voice and is eager to listen when he speaks. All Christians should want to read, hear, and listen to the way God speaks to us now, that is, through his Word. Do you hunger for God’s Word and to listen when he speaks? What other voices are you tempted to listen to besides God’s?