My soul waits in silence for God only

When I was in junior high, an English teacher was fond of using a particular phrase when the volume of interaction in the room passed a certain decibel level.  “Cease and desist!” he would pronounce with authority.

I’m not sure if he was suggesting that legal action would result if we continued in our errant and loud ways, but he certainly did want us to stop what we were doing.

In some ways, Psalm 62 serves as a “cease and desist” order for our souls as well.  Notice the significance of each part of the opening phrase, “my soul waits in silence for God only.”

My soul.  It is not enough for the lips to be silent and the ears to be open.  The soul also must be silent.  The test of a man’s character is not in his outward conduct alone, but in the inner recesses, where only the Lord sees, is he godly there?  Does his heart listen to and submit to the Lord?

My soul waits in silence.  The phrase, “waits in silence” is one word in Hebrew.  It means not only to “be quiet and listen,” as this word is often understood, but the root (which is used in v. 5) particularly means, “to be dumb, to stop speaking.”  It might well be the Old Testament version of James 1:19-20 — “But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.”  James is speaking not of basic rules of communication, but warning his readers not to speak against God in the difficult circumstances of life.  As David demonstrates in verses 3-4, man’s temptation is to complain and cultivate bitterness in our hearts, even while our lips speak the appropriate words of blessing.  But the godly man is the one who speaks truth in his heart (Ps. 15:2) — he is silent before the Lord and does not speak against the Lord either with his lips or in his heart.

My soul waits in silence for God.  The godly man is not merely silent, but he is silent because he is waiting for God.  The prepositional phrase “for God” is an affirmation of trust and dependence.  The psalmist is not merely silent, but he is particularly silent before the Lord.  “To wait upon God, and for God, is the habitual position of faith; to wait on him truly is sincerity; to wait on him only is spiritual chastity.…The presence of God alone could awe his heart into quietude, submission, rest, and acquiescence…” [Spurgeon]

My soul waits in silence for God only.  The psalmist is emphatic — “only for God” will he be silent.  God is the great object of his desires.  It is for God that he waits, and no one else.  It is God he wants, and he will not speak against God.  God is the exclusive object of his trust.

Later in this psalm, David also affirms why his soul must wait in silence for God only:  because only God is his hope, only God is his rock and stability, only God is his salvation, only God will keep him from being shaken, only God is his strength, and only God is his refuge (vv. 5-7).

So here is a timely word for our hearts at the beginning of the day.  When circumstances are different today than you anticipate, when the temptation to grumble (either outwardly or inwardly arises), when difficult and unwanted decisions must be made, let your soul wait in silence for God only.

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