Psalm 62: In God Alone
A strong song of confidence and trust.
Read Psalm 62
Open the translation of your choice...
Chabad.org (with Rashi commentary)
NIV at BlueLetterBible.org (with interlinear)
... and be welcome to the immersion materials below.
Listen to the basic version
"In God Alone" is part of the Our Roots Are In You Psalm collection.
Full album songbook with scores, charts and songleaders notes available.
Download either version of the song at iTunes, Bandcamp, Amazon.com or CDBaby for about $1.
Download the In God Alone Accompaniment Pack:
pdf of congregational line
instrumental accompaniment track
jpg of congregational line
powerpoint & keynote slides
In God Alone Accompaniment Pack
In God alone is my soul at rest
Be at rest, my soul
Starting the text is a note to the music leader directing him or her to present the Psalm with Jeduthun in mind. This term appears in two other Psalms (39 and 77) and may refer to one of David's central musicians, a group of musicians, the name of a known tune, or a style of musical presentation.
"A Psalm of David" does not necessarily mean David penned the Psalm himself. More likely it was written by another who had David in mind as inspiation, creating a prayer-song reflecting on David's life or making a dedication.
St. Augustine was a fan of 62. His prayer in Confessions: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”
Selah is likely a musical term calling for an intentional pause. Think of it as an instrumental break ("Take a solo, Slowhand") where musicians and listeners reflect on the lyrics before continuing with singing.
Verses 1-2 and verses 5-6 are nearly idenitical. Kind of like a refrain of a song.
Verse 11 holds a poetic device intended to make a special point. "G-d said it once, I heard it twice" generally means to pay attention and put the idea that follows in the spotlight. In this case, the verse that follows is the only direct address to God.
Get your Hebrew on. The word translated in the final verse as "steadfast love" or "faithfulness" is from the Hebrew hesed (hess-ed). It means unfailing, covenant love or grace. Rabbi Segal notices the poetic and theological tension with the verse that follows.
Psalm 62 Immersion
Pic by Julia Freeman-Woolpert
Pic by John Nyberg
Reflections for your community: The Psalms are full of this “in God alone” idea. What is it like to trust only God? What must be stripped away from our ideas, religion, politics and ego to have left just One Holy Thing to rest in? What accessories and accoutrements distract us from what is most worthy of our faith?
Various translations of verses 1-2 open the door to rich possibilities:
~ I wait in silence, never to be shaken;
~ my life rest in God alone, being still;
~ my being is quiet in God, never to stumble;
~ truly my soul is immersed in hope, and never moves.
Of these, which rings true for you today and why? In what way is this trust active or passive?
To pray this Psalm, what position does your body want to be in? Explore posturs of standing, sitting, lying down. How do your legs and arms become icons of generous trust? Find space for your hands to ask a question, brace for impact or welcome gifts. Where does your head and face find rest?
Sabbath reflection: What kind of rest does your soul desire right now? What area of your life feels restless, either ready to move or ready to relax?
You are artistically inclined, but shy about it. Consider what colors, textures, and images represent an individual or community immersed in trust. Your circle might create a prayer station for your community by clipping out words and imags from magazines, Bible verses and original poetry.
What foods represent wholeness to you? Prepare and share the recipes with your circle that most taste of trust. What stories are loaded into these foods?
Sing "In God Alone" quietly. What adjustments could you make in your daily rhythm to refresh your sense of trust in the Holy One?
Pic by Bernadette Morris (creative commons)
Everything is Waiting for You
Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.
Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.
from Everything is Waiting for You
©2003 Many Rivers Press
Some scholars suggest Psalm 62 is best read with 61 and 63. Explore them as a series; How is the meaning of the text amplified for you?
Is wealth a problem? Verse 10 asks the question. Sorry about that.
More than one person's prayer-song, 62 functions as an eschatological (what G-d is doing now, has always been up to and will do til the very end) icon. In Psalm 62, how does the Psalmist describe G-d's character?
The list of "strength" images for the Holy One stack up in verses 5-8: rock, salvation, fortress, deliverance, refuge. When have you experienced G-d this way, as strength worthy of trust? Other psalms speak to divine failure and even the need for G-d to repent and be forgiven. When have you shared the Psalmist's voice?
Visit The Text This Week for a delicious bank of commentaries, art, music, film, sermons and articles around Psalm 62.
Finally, I have to ask: what frontier on you on the edge of right now? What circumstance is calling you to real risk and real trust right now?
Pic by Byron Culbertson, WalkAboutArt.com
A Psalmist's blessing
May you rest
The Holy One
of which you are a part
holds you and all
May you wait,
open to all the gifts
coming your way.
Richard Bruxvoort Colligan
Pic by Christine Valters Paintner
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