Last time we considered from Psalm 62 some the things that David mentioned as faulty alternatives to seeking God for refuge and how that God is indeed the answer to noisy, anxious waiting. This time we’ll meditate on the things that are part of waiting in silence.
So, what is silence? Is it absolute? Is it the absence of all noise or action? On the surface, it may seem ironic that David writes a song about quiet waiting! But just as Christian meditation is not an emptying of the mind, godly silence is not the absence of sound and thought.
As noted last time, noisy waiting is characterized by a dependence on the creation and a trust in one’s own abilities. Restless faith is directed at things which have no ability to save. And we intuitively know that they cannot, hence the anxiousness and lack of rest and quiet in the soul when our hope is set on them.
Far from absolute silence, those things that characterize quiet waiting display confidence in the One who not only has the ability to save but has also graciously, lovingly promised Himself as that fortress we need both now and forever. Godly silence is really a living out of one’s faith in God. David gives us a few examples in this psalm. Let’s consider them:
- Giving an answer for hope (v 1-2, 11)
- Honest evaluation of mankind (v 3-4, 9)
- Talking to one’s self (v 5-7)
- Exhorting and encouraging others (v 8, 10)
- Prayer (v 8, 12)
In the midst of trouble and suffering, the object of a person’s faith becomes more clearly seen. Perhaps others near David were watching his reactions to the troubles around him and found him strangely untroubled by them – or at least running in a different direction than they would have. Much like the admonition of 1 Peter 3:14-16, David regarded God as holy and gave an answer for his hope, “God alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress.”
One of the fastest ways to become restless in waiting is to listen to yourself – that part of yourself that is telling you things about your situation, that part of you that is feeding your self-justification and blaming others, that part of you that is scheming and planning how to achieve the desired outcome. Oh, what trouble is compounded by listening to the lies we tell ourselves. Silent waiting, on the other hand, rather than listening to ourselves, speaks to ourselves. It speaks truth. It speaks faithful words about the failings and weakness of man, and, critically, it exhorts our own hearts to trust in the One who is the only hope. “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from Him.”
Did you ever notice how often you commend some product or person to others? Or perhaps you’re the quiet type who just thinks that others should appreciate something that you do. We’re always making value judgments – whether aloud or silently. What do we think that others need or ought to hear? Of course, love for someone else will cause us to make suggestions from time to time, but what do they most need to hear? A restless heart that is expressed through the words of mouth only contributes to the background noise of life, but a quietly resting soul has something of the greatest importance to commend to others. In the words of David in this psalm, “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.”
Finally, prayer is one of the things that is most conspicuously absent from our souls when we are waiting with anxiousness and seeking refuge everywhere but in God. There may be heartless prayers that are flung heavenward as we pursue making our own solutions to our problems, but there are not prayers such as the ones David speaks of in this song. Notice that the first one in verse 8 is part of his admonition to the hearer: “pour out your heart before him.” If your heart loves what God’s heart loves, you will be grieved by the trouble that is in this world because of sin. This is not a license for angry complaint. It is not an opening for demands. But it also doesn’t dismiss evil with Pollyanna-like platitudes. It is an urging to faith-filled honesty with God regarding evil. And it is an urging to prayers like, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” (Mt. 6:10) and, “Amen. Come Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20) But prayer in distressing times doesn’t stop there. A faithful pouring out of one’s heart is followed by hope-filled praise. In the words of David at the end of this psalm, “Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love. For you will render to a man according to his work.” Notice that David’s remembrance of what he knows of God turns into prayer. What a wonderful transition of a heart that knows and loves God! What a delightful expression of rest in God!
So, is the silence of quiet waiting absolute? Absolutely not! But, far from the noisiness of anxious waiting, it speaks truth, love, and hope to self, others, and God. May God bless us with such quiet faith as we wait expectantly to see his love, righteousness, and justice displayed both in time and in eternity.