Unshakeable (Psalm 62:5-12)
Just four days before I turned 6, my family watched a baseball game in our den on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Mom and Dad both lay down in the floor watching the game, and they soon fell asleep.
I didn’t fall asleep, and it wasn’t long before I noticed the fan was starting to move just a little bit. Seconds later, a roar filled the house, and everything began to shake—earthquake! Mom and Dad quickly sat up, but they had no idea what to do—earthquakes weren’t something you expected in Kentucky then. Fortunately, that quake didn’t last long, and everything went back to normal.
Even when the shaking stopped, our little house was never the same—there were cracks in the foundation. As long as Mom and Dad lived in that house—until after RJ was born—whenever I saw those tiny cracks, I would remember that Sunday years ago.
After that 5.1 earthquake, scientists discovered a fault lay about 15 miles from that little house where I grew up. That July 27, 1980 quake wasn’t the only shaking from the Sharpsburg, Kentucky fault—every few years, we’d have a minor quake.
Whether or not you’ve ever felt the ground shake below you, the foundations of your life have surely shaken beneath you. Maybe it was when the bank sent a foreclosure notice. Maybe it was when you tossed and turned in your bed because your child was making poor choices. Maybe it was when you found yourself swallowed up by guilt. Maybe it was when you faced a surgery for a serious illness. Maybe when it was you weren’t sure your marriage would survive.
In this morning’s passage, David faced cataclysmic shaking; the man after God’s own heart apparently wrote this Psalm during Absalom’s rebellion (2 Samuel 15-18).
- Absalom began his rebellion by gaining the people’s faith (2 Sam 15:1-6).
- Absalom proclaimed himself king in Hebron (2 Sam 15:7-12).
- David fled Jerusalem to save his life (2 Sam 15:13-16:14).
- Absalom pitched a tent on the top of the palace, and he lay with his father’s concubines there before God and everybody (2 Sam 16:15-23).
- Absalom was killed (2 Sam 17:1-18).
- David mourned for Absalom: “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you—O Absalom, my son, my son!” (2 Sam 18:33).
When the foundations under his feet turned to jelly, David wrote this morning’s text—Psalm 62. Our nation’s foundations are shaking and shimmying and turning to jelly—if you don’t believe me, just turn on the news. When David’s world began to shake, he said, “My soul finds unshakeable faith in God.” This morning, we want to consider how our souls can find unshakeable faith in God.
Scripture (Psalm 62:5-12)
When his world turned upside down, David acknowledged that God—and God alone—could provide David the hope he needed. David, a military commander, called God his fortress, his mighty rock, and his refuge—all places of safety.
David put Absalom in his place. Those of lowly stature and the “highborn”—those of the purest pedigree—are alike; they are measured as “only a breath.” Absalom had amassed great prestige and a great following, but they didn’t matter; life comes and goes—it is but a breath.
David knew that that he could not trust in material possessions; setting his heart on them would have been foolish.
Power belongs to God—it did not belong to Absalom, and the king’s son could not simply take the throne.
God rewards everyone according to what they have done. Absalom would receive his divine recompense.
I can’t speak for you, but I can identify with many of the Psalms—when David wrote about grief or guilt or sleepless nights or wonder at the Creation, I get it easily. But this Psalm is difficult for me to grasp; I just can’t imagine one of my sons gathering a group against me, trying to take away everything I have, publicly humiliating me, seeking to kill me, and then dying himself. Can you even begin to fathom what David went through during Absalom’s rebellion?
Although David faced a situation that is unfathomable to us, he had faith in God and would not be moved. David said, “My soul finds unshakeable faith in God.” If David could find unshakeable faith in God during such a terrible time, surely we can find unshakeable faith in our times of trouble.
How can we find unshakeable faith in God? I seriously doubt we’ll face a situation like David’s—our kids aren’t going to try to take the throne God himself promised us nor are they going to seek to kill us. But when life brings its challenges, we’ll need to find unshakeable faith in God—whether that challenge is with our health or our finances or with our family or with our faith, the earth is going to move under our feet, and we’ll need unshakeable faith.
How do you get unshakeable faith? The exact same way David encouraged folks to find unshakeable faith in God:
You find unshakeable faith in God by PLACING your trust in him.
That’s precisely what David wrote: “Trust in him at all times, you people.” David wrote about two objects in which we cannot put our trust:
- We cannot trust in our position: The lowborn and the highborn are only a breath (v 9). It doesn’t matter how high and mighty you are, you’re gonna die.
- We cannot trust in our possessions: Even when our riches increase, we cannot set our heart on them (v 10). Money comes and money goes.
We, therefore, must put our trust in God. Sounds good to say that we need to trust in God, but how do we go about putting our trust in him?
First, look at how much God has blessed you in the past.
God greatly blesses his people. “He has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy” (Acts 14:17). “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Eph 1:3).
Think over how much God has blessed you—with your family, with your health, with your food, with your spiritual blessings in Christ, and with everything else he has given you. How can a God who has been so good in the past not be trusted with the future?
Second, don’t be afraid to ask a strong brother or sister for help.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal 6:2). Sometimes we have to make our burden known that we might have help bearing it.
When you’re struggling with trusting God, you’d do well to seek an experienced brother to help you bear that burden. Ask how God has blessed him. Ask how he found the courage and the strength to continue fighting the good fight. Ask how God has kept his promises.
Third, you look at how God has blessed his people in the past.
God has a long history of blessing his people, and when you’re struggling to trust God, it’s wise to remember all the ways God has been with his people. Think about how he blessed Abraham and Sarah with a child in their old age like he promised. Think about how he blessed Joseph in Egypt. Think about how he opened up the Red Sea for his people to cross on dry ground. Think about how he fed Elijah in the wilderness. Think about how he shut the mouths of the lions for Daniel. If God has a history of blessing his people, he’s going to bless you. You can trust in a God who is faithful.
You find unshakeable faith in God by PRAYING your trust in him.
That’s what David said: “Pour out your hearts to him” (v 8). When the ground shakes beneath your feet, you pray. Daniel prayed when he heard of an edict which would send him to a den of lions. Elijah prayed to God from Mt. Carmel as he contested with the prophets of Baal. Jesus prayed the night he was betrayed. The early church prayed for strength to preach in the face of persecution.
You, too, can pray when your faith shakes. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Phil 4:6). “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (Js 5:16).
You must, like the Lord Jesus, always pray that God’s will be done, for God’s will may not be your will; that was the case with Jesus. What if you prayed for strength? What if you prayed for more trust? What if you prayed to be an example to those without faith? What if you prayed for God to use your “earthquake” to bring others to him?
You do understand why God’s will for Jesus included the cross, don’t you? So that he could save you from your sin. Have you surrendered your will to his will and allowed him to save you from sin?
This sermon was originally preached by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at Church of Christ Deer Park in Deer Park, Texas.