Brian Johnston began his sermon by mentioning a friend who, struggling with a stressful situation, coped by reading Psalm 62 every morning.
The Psalm speaks of six ‘works of faith’ we can do when we are downcast, in order to know God’s reward. The first is found in the first verse:
So, we are to wait on God alone – not an easy task! It means to persevere with waiting for God even when he seems to be silent, and not to look for a quick fix elsewhere. For it is in God that our hope is placed. Only he is the author of our salvation.
Verses 3 and 4 reveal the psalmist’s horrible predicament. He is being attacked by liars and hypocrites who are plotting his downfall; he knows he is weak and vulnerable. He reminds us of Jesus on Good Friday: betrayed, the victim of lies and in agony. Yet Jesus waited on God alone. Here is the second work – that of suffering.
The third is trusting:
The writer widens his audience to the people. We who live now are included in this. God is our mighty rock, our refuge, our saviour, our fortress, our unshakeable stronghold. The psalmist knows from personal experience that he can trust God. Do we?
The fourth challenge is to pour out our hearts before God. We can unburden ourselves completely to God because He is a safe place. We do not have to think over everything carefully before we pray; we can just pour it all out.
The fifth is to choose very deliberately where we place our trust. An old hymn says:
Honour, power and wealth seem to offer security and success. But they are false gods and we are not to set our hearts on them. They are a delusion, weighing almost nothing. Daily the disciples of Jesus are to turn away from these things that cannot deliver lasting peace of heart and mind and to place their trust in God.
This brings us to the sixth and final work of faith: to hear God:
Brian asked us to consider whether we have heard God speaking to us today. The work of hearing God is the work that fulfils all the others.
In the work of waiting, we can bear it because we hear God say, “This is part of my good plan.” In the work of suffering, we can hear him say, “Because of my love for you, I also suffered for you.” In the work of trusting, he says, “You can trust me because I am powerful and loving.” In the work of pouring out our hearts, we do it willingly because his love is steadfast and he has the power to act. In the work of choosing, where else could we turn but to God, whose words of love and power will never pass away? To God, who displays his incredible love and his great power at the cross.
Paul writes to the Romans:
Is it worth waiting for God alone? The psalmist and Paul declare: Yes!
Are these works a painful duty? No, for the last line of the Psalm says:
Brian urged us to imagine the Psalm as a love poem from God and to understand the works as labours of love.