God’s Rest in a Changing World

Bulletin: 2018-10-07 LWML Sunday Bulletin

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Text: Psalm 62:1-8

For God alone, O My soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.” These are the words of the inspired prophet King David, selected as the text for this year’s LWML Sunday. Today we give thanks to God for His 76 years of blessing this organization and, through the same, blessing His people around the world. The theme chosen for this year is reflected in all our readings – God’s Rest in a Changing World. The text is Psalm 62.

Recall, if you will, the reign of King David. It was a long reign, but a difficult one, wasn’t it? It began well, with the slaying of Goliath and David being anointed by the prophet Samuel. But, soon, Saul’s jealousy became all-consuming and he pursued David to kill him. For years, Saul chased David all around the land in an attempt to take his life. Saul eventually failed and took his own life. After Saul, perhaps the most dangerous enemy to David came from his own house: his son Absalom. Absalom led a conspiracy and rebellion to dethrone David – and did – for a time. Included among the conspirators was David’s best friend and most trusted advisor. Long story short, King David knew a bit about life. He knew that life was filled with trials and afflictions. Yet, David trusted in the Lord His God. The Lord was to David a refuge and fortress. The Lord preserved David’s life unto eternity and granted him rest from this restless world. He is the same for us. We learn from the Psalm that God our Father is our refuge, our hope, and our rock through His Son Jesus Christ.

I.

Our psalm text today comes from the Holy Spirit through King David. We don’t know when exactly David composed this psalm. It may have been late in his life, as some scholars feel; it may also have been during the period that he was on the run from his own son, which is when the psalms surrounding this one were written. In either case, this psalm is a psalm of trust and reliance on God, despite all things appearing to the contrary. It is a song of finding rest in God alone, for in the world there truly is none. There are many things that the give the promise of rest and peace, but they ultimately fail and we are left with neither. And instead, the world rolls over us like waves upon the deep sea.

In our psalm, the source of David’s distress was people. Perhaps, his own son. Absalom’s rebellion began when killed his brother Ammon. Absalom fled, fearing punishment, but eventually returned to Jerusalem. He remained in David’s household for two years without speaking to his father. But, after the Lord had put it into David’s heart to be reconciled to his son, Absalom devised a plan to turn the people against their king. His plan worked, and David was forced to flee Jerusalem. Yet, within all this, David’s trust in God did not fail. He found in God refuge, a rock, and hope.

Though our lives are greatly distanced from King David’s through time and space, one thing hasn’t changed: the world. The experiences of life in David’s time and in our own aren’t so different. Just as David could find no rest in the world then, so also us, now. David said in the psalm that so many seek only power, and they beat against a man until they get it. They, “take pleasure in falsehood…bless with their mouths, but inwardly…curse.” These words seem to apply in our time as well, as we are amidst another political season. Promises are made on television and in print, but seldomly are they kept and, even then, with strings attached. “Put not your trust in princes.”

In many other ways, we often receive no lasting rest in our lives. In many ways, we live busier lives now than many other generations, and not in a good way. With so many activities and responsibilities, we barely eke out time to rest our bodies, to say nothing of finding rest for our souls in Christ’s Word and Sacrament. For some of us, our health is sapping out of us each and every drop of life. And, often, along with it, our wealth – what little of it we have. The experience of our lives is filled with failed and broken promises, declining and failing health, little and no rest. But we can find rest in God our Father through His Son Christ Jesus, our Lord.

II.

King David sang in our psalm, “For God alone, O My soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.” In the psalm, David describes God in a number of ways, but I think three are of great comfort and applicable to us today. The first is, as David says, “my refuge is God.” A refuge is a shelter from danger or trouble, somewhere you turn to for safety when there is none. David found in God refuge from his enemies in a literal sense. David was a man of war who did not die in war, but as an old man in his bed.

Second, David found in God a rock, a strong foundation upon which to build. Though David is well known to us as much a sinner as a saint, the Scriptures describe him as man after God’s own heart. David sought the Lord and the Lord granted him success. David built his rule and kingdom upon the rock of God’s Word. Lastly, David’s hope of salvation rested in God alone. David knew that his sins were as many as the grains of sand yet trusted that in the Lord’s Christ, he was forgiven. David saw in the Spirit the death and resurrection of Jesus for the forgiveness sins and in faith awaited a joyous future.

The Lord was not only David’s refuge, rock, and hope of salvation, but He is the same for us. As it says in Hebrews, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” As He Himself said in the Gospel text, “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Jesus is, first, our refuge. He is our refuge from this life, from all its sin and death. He became so when He became the victor over sin, death, and the devil, by His own death and resurrection. Because He is risen from the dead and has secured for us forgiveness of our sins, He is our refuge when all else fails. Jesus Christ is love and mercy, and He provides rest for our weary souls.

Knowing this, we can also be confident in Christ our rock. He is our rock and our redeemer and by faith in Him, we can withstand all things. That don’t mean we will be happy in all situations or that life will always be pleasant, but we can know that there is nothing that may happen to us that will separate us from our Father’s love toward us in Jesus. By faith in Christ, we endure all things. In fact, that’s how the translators of the Greek Old Testament phrase the psalm. They say, “my endurance is from God,” (Ps. 62:6 in LXX, my translation).

Finally, with King David our hope is in God. Everything else in our lives fails and fades; nothing in life that promises rest truly fulfills, save Christ and His love. Out of His great love for us He died for us, and then He rose for us. By faith in Him, His death becomes our death and His life becomes our life. By His grace our sins are forgiven and when we die we will be at His side. When He returns, He will raise our bodies and we – with all who have loved the Lord – will enter body and soul into the new creation. This is our hope and our confidence. And, knowing this, we can have rest. King David found His rest in Christ. Let us be encouraged by his words – the last words of our text – “Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.”

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