Psalm 62 - Strength for a Tottering Fence

Each of my kids, when they were little, and I assume this would be standard for most children, had difficulty at some point with a baby tooth being pulled.  They had each already lost some and knew of the process, but somewhere along the way one tooth caught their attention.  There was one tooth, no special one, certainly not the same one, but one.  In the intermittent repetition, this one seemed to scare them more than the others had that it would hurt to pull.  So, instead of demanding that they allow us to take it out, we waited.  We knew it was coming out … at some point.   In the meantime, these teeth became more and more and more loose.   They would get to the point of barely hanging on, wiggling back and forth so easily that we weren’t sure what was even holding it in.  

Now let’s come to David in Psalm 62.  *David describes his own strength as a “tottering fence.”  As his detractors push against him relentlessly and press against him with attacks, his ability to withstand it is like a wiggling tooth of a fence, not much there to hold on to.  David shares confidently from this setting, that he will wait on God, who is the single and complete and sufficient source of his strength.  The first word, in fact, in the Hebrew is, “Only” and this idea is repeated multiple times throughout the Psalm.  

Psalm 62 divides nicely into 2 sections - Verses 1-7 are David’s story and Verses 8-12 are a teaching for all the people.   The same truth seen and applied singly first, then to the whole.

David’s Story
In my personal weakness, I am waiting on God and in Him alone for strength, safety, and victory.  This waiting sometimes is so confident that it results in quiet resting, while other times is a willful silent choosing though the restfulness has not accompanied it yet.  In either calm rest or chosen waiting, David recognizes alone where his power resides.   This sections begins and ends with the same phrasings repeated (vv. 1-2 & 5-6), “… He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold;  [this old tottering fence] will not be shaken.”  (Bracketed section inserted.)  Even though, “They” counsel against me, lie about me, and curse me; I will wait in God’s power and authority.  Even though I am King and have some fame, some money, and some power; I will wait on the Lord because He is the only one with real power, the only one who can give real security.   “My refuge is in God.”

Teaching for the People
It is as though David is telling them to take this truth and understand that it is true for everyone.  “Trust in Him at all times, O people; … God is a refuge for us. Selah.” (v. 8).  David has already shown that a man of supposed power needs God’s power.  Now he goes on to show that Social Status is worth nothing.  When the value of being from an impressive family is weighed, it is the weight that is, “lighter than a breath.”  Riches, as well, whether obtained by wrong-doing or just sought after for their value, are also comparatively worthless.  Instead recognize that power, a lasting love, and righteous judgment belong to and are found in God alone.

So, you may feel like a tottering fence in life at times … that’s about right.  We are.  We think we have strength and can work things out on our own in our wisdom, but let’s take instruction from King David.  Let’s wait quietly and do things as God would want us to, instead of charging ahead on our own or emotionally reacting to every push against our leaning wall.   “On God my salvation and my glory rest; the rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.”

*Commentaries are split on whether the “leaning wall” and “tottering fence” are referring to David in his weakness or to his enemies and their coming demise, though they think they are strong.  Either way, we are all of the same puny strength and in need of His stronghold.  I see the connection though between the ending of verses 2 & 6, “I will not be shaken,” and the picture of David in his own strength being a weak “tottering fence.”

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