What shakes us to the core? Our financial woes? Death of loved ones? An attack to one’s ego, reputation, credibility? When we’ve been wronged, defamed, unjustly and baselessly accused? When a man is attacked like a leaning wall, a tottering fence, when he is thrusted from his high position, when he is mired in others’ falsehood, when he is covered in apparent blessings but underlined by actual curses?
In those circumstances, our first reaction is to defend oneself. The self-protection mechanisms we have built over the years naturally flare up. Even when we declare to ourselves, that “I shall not be greatly shaken“, even we know deep within that is but a false gospel.
David here sings with the same desperation as with the previous psalms. He knows that his spirit waits in silence for God alone, since from Him comes my [David’s] salvation. He alone is my [David’s] rock and my [David’s] salvation, my [David’s] fortress; I [he] shall not be greatly shaken.
David sings, knowing his reader and listener as one who is easily shaken. How can we not, if we do not find our refuge in God alone? When we do not see Him alone as our rock, salvation, fortress? Without Him as our firm foundation, we have every reason to be shaken like a house built on lies and sand. Yet, David speaks also to those who think they shall not be greatly shaken. In the balances, those of high estate are a delusion, they are together lighter than a breath, lesser than those of low estate. One is not to set vain hopes on robbery or increased riches.
That’s why David can confidently end this psalm by singing that power belongs to God, and that to the Lord belongs steadfast love. He will render to a man according to his work.
Thus, when a man builds up treasures on earth; when he sets his heart on his extortion, robbery, increased riches; then the Lord will visit that man according to his work. Yet, when a man seeks His kingdom and righteousness first (Matthew 6:33), when God alone and none other is Whom our spirit awaits in meditation and silence, that our soul is quietened and at peace in His presence — then we are recompensed by His lovely presence, by dwelling in His tents and tabernacle.
Brothers and sisters – why then are we surprised when we are troubled? When we are anxious? That itself is a diagnosis that we are weak creatures who have begun to set out hearts on God as well as the riches of this world. If we want peace – let us turn to Him alone. If we want heavenly reward – let us rely on Him alone. If we want to live a long fruitful life – let us look at Him alone. Only then can we truly declare, that we will not be shaken; because Christ’s work is sealed, and His foundation is one that will remain firm forever. In the face of all things that will fade away, it is thoroughly refreshing to our very heart, mind, soul, sinews, bones and flesh to hear that the gift of salvation is unshakeable. Let us break down our walls of pride, ego, reputation, self-entitlement, worldly identity and put on Christ’s righteousness!