Blog / Book of the Month / Sermon from October 6, 2013/ Jesus Alone is Our Rock, Salvation, and Fortress

Sermon from October 6, 2013/ Jesus Alone is Our Rock, Salvation, and Fortress

Posted in 2013 / Prayer / Sermons / Small Catechism / Vicar James Preus / ^Psalms

Sermon from October 6, 2013/ Jesus Alone is Our Rock, Salvation, and Fortress

Sermon Rough Draft: Psalm 62/ Sunday October 6, 2013-09-30/ Mount Olive Lutheran Church, Regina, SK/ Vicar James Preus


For God alone my soul waits in silence;
    from him comes my salvation.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.

How long will all of you attack a man
    to batter him,
    like a leaning wall, a tottering fence?
They only plan to thrust him down from his high position.
    They take pleasure in falsehood.
They bless with their mouths,
    but inwardly they curse. Selah

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
    for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
    my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

Trust in him at all times, O people;
    pour out your heart before him;
    God is a refuge for us. Selah

Those of low estate are but a breath;
    those of high estate are a delusion;
in the balances they go up;
    they are together lighter than a breath.
10 Put no trust in extortion;
    set no vain hopes on robbery;
    if riches increase, set not your heart on them.

11 Once God has spoken;
    twice have I heard this:
that power belongs to God,
12     and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love.
For you will render to a man
    according to his work.


Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord:[1]    Dearly Beloved in the Lord Psalm 62 demonstrates a continued theme in the Psalter, the book of Psalms.  “God is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.”[2]  This is a wonderful confession that can only be made through faith.  However, out of context this Psalm can sound, to many like trite religious babble.  To a generation with real world problems, like outstanding bills, suffering relationships, and ailing health, refuge in God doesn’t give assurance. God seems far off. 

So let us put this Psalm in context.  Let us see how relevant this prayer is for us.  To do this I would like to tell you about three persons in history who prayed this Psalm and how God delivered them. 

The first person is King David. This is not surprising as this is a ‘Psalm of David.’  David often prayed Psalms similar to Psalm 62, calling upon God as his rock, strength, and refuge.[3]  And of course David had much reason to call on God his rock.  David was a mighty king and warrior.  Wherever he went people sang, “Saul has struck down his thousands and David his ten thousands.”[4]  David brought such great wealth to Israel that when he died he left his son Solomon with such a kingdom that brought visitors from around the world. Nevertheless, his life was constantly in jeopardy. David always endured, but only because the LORD, his rock delivered him.


When David was a young lad, he defended his father’s sheep from vicious bear and lions.  He told King Saul, “When there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him.”[5]  Now, young five foot four, one hundred ten pound David did not grab a five hundred pound wild lion by the mane and best him with his own strength.  The LORD delivered David from these wild beasts.  When David faced the colossal Goliath, who towered over nine feet, it was God who guided that stone from David’s sling through the forehead of that blaspheming Philistine.[6]  When King Saul repeatedly attempted to kill David, it was the LORD who repeatedly rescued David from his hands.  When the Philistines and Syrians faced Israel with their advanced armies, it wasn’t David’s army that made him victorious, but God struck down David’s enemies.[7]  In fact, God would not even let David conduct a census to measure the strength of his military, because the LORD was his strength.[8]


Over and over again God rescued David.  Even at the pinnacle of David’s power, neither David’s great wealth nor his mighty army could save him.  His own son Absalom rose up against him.  David had to flee and hide in caves as his son took the throne.  Cast out of his fortress made of cedar and stone, we can hear David pray, “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.”  God yet again delivered David as Absalom led a mighty army to destroy him and God placed David again upon the throne in Jerusalem.  David would have been a fool to put his trust in his riches and armies, because neither saved him. God alone rescued David. 


The next person in history who prayed Psalm 62 to God is our Lord Jesus.  Jesus like David is a man, who experienced temptations from the devil and attacks by men.  He is also the Son of God, who is the living God from eternity. When Jesus went into the wilderness Satan tempted him by showing him the kingdoms of the world and their glory and saying, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”[9] But Jesus prayed, “God only is my rock... trust in him at all times... those of low estate are but a breath; those of high estate are a delusion, they are together lighter than breath...”[10] as he cast Satan away. 


As Jesus bent low in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, he again repeated these petitions of David.  Knowing the immense weight he would take upon his soul, he asked that the cup of wrath be taken away from him, yet he prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.”  When Peter attempted to rescue Jesus from arrest, Jesus responded, “Put your sword back into its place...Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?”[11]  Jesus knew that his Heavenly Father would deliver him. 


Later, abandoned by even his closest friends and falsely accused of crimes, Jesus remained silent and waited for God his salvation.[12]  As Jesus hanged on the cross abandoned by every earthly friend with even his Heavenly Father silent to him, the religious leaders mocked him saying, “He trusts in God, let God deliver him now.”[13]  The people mocked, but this is exactly what Jesus trusted.  He continued to trust in God, knowing that God his Father would deliver him even as Death reared his hideous face.

As David once prayed, “For the waves of death encompassed me, the torrents of destruction assailed me; the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me”[14] Death swallowed up Jesus. They laid Jesus’ dead body in a tomb and a boulder sealed its entrance.  But Jesus’ prayer was not in vain.  Even before Death enjoyed his short lived victory, God had planned Jesus’ salvation.  Jesus’ body lied dead, bound by Death, yet his soul continued to wait patiently for God. 


As God proved repeatedly throughout David’s life, God proved to be the only refuge, rock, and fortress.  God the Father raised Jesus from the dead!  Death, who had just recently licked his lips in satisfaction, is now swallowed up in Jesus’ victory.  Jesus now mocks Death: “O Death, where is your victory? O Death, where is your sting?”[15] God the Father answered Jesus’ prayer as he saved him from death. 

Now we have seen how dramatically God answers the petitions of Psalm 62 as we see how he repeatedly delivered David from his enemies and even salvaged Jesus out of the very bowls of Death. But who is this third person in history who prayed this Psalm of David?  What fantastic rescuing did God perform in response to this prayer? 


That third person is you.  You pray with the Psalmist and your Lord: “For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.  He only is my rock and my salvation my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.”[16] And as he defended David from wild animals and brutish Philistine giants, he defends you from the numerous dangers in your life. God spares your life everyday as he sends guardian angels to escort you back and forth between home and work.  And as God provided David with more riches than he could have dreamed of, God provides you with everything you need. 

“What?” you may ask.  “Does God provide me with everything I need?  What about my outstanding bills, the turmoil in my family, my ailing health?   I don’t think I have everything I need.”  Then ask yourself if you know what you really need.  God knows your needs.  He knows your troubles and how best to end them. 

If we are honest with ourselves, none of us can deny the blessings God showers on us as we live in a nation and a city that provides jobs, food, shelter, education, and healthcare...even entertainment.  And even when we forget the true source of all the needs and luxuries provided to us, God continues to provide for us!  And he does all this out of his fatherly divine goodness and mercy without any merit or worthiness in us.  For this it is our duty to thank and praise, serve and obey him.[17]

And God did not let Death conquer Jesus, the very author of life, just so he could prove that he could rescue Jesus even after death.  God had good reason not to take away his cup of justice and wrath from Jesus.  Jesus needed to drink God’s cup of justice and wrath so that you would not need to.  Jesus needed to be swallowed up by Death, so that when Death comes with his gaping jaws ready to devour you, you will not be greatly shaken.  Because Jesus conquered death, death is only temporary for you.


We are all corrupted with sin.  We don’t fear, love, and trust in God above all things.  Before God’s judgment we don’t stand a chance.  We need to be rescued from sin, death, and the power of the devil.  We need God to forgive us.  We need him to cover us with his holiness, because we don’t have any of our own. That is why we rejoice that Jesus went down to death and came back alive.  His death is our death.  His life is our life.  Jesus’ wounds are now our refuge.  His resurrected body is our rock and fortress that will not be shaken. 


You can confidently pray, “On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God,” because God has saved you through Jesus.  Jesus went to the grave before you and before you he was raised from the dead.  Unless Jesus returns first, you will go to the grave.  Death comes to us all without discrimination, but even in death your soul patiently waits for God.  When God the Father raised Jesus from the dead, he did not just rescue Jesus, he rescued you, me, King David, all of us!  God declared the price of justice to be paid in full.  In Jesus death and resurrection he redeemed you a formerly lost and condemned person.  He purchased and won you from all sin, from death, and from the power of the devil. As certainly as Jesus is risen from the dead, lives and reins for all eternity, you too will live with him and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence and blessedness. 


All of life’s riches are but a breath that passes away. Even if you should lose everything: house, goods, honor, child or spouse, though life be wrenched away from you, God, your rock has already won the day for you.  And if your riches do increase, do not set your heart on them.  All these things are a gift from God, but our sinful flesh tries to convince us that we have obtained them by our own merit.  But it is not your hard work ethic, your good job, your favorite political party, or your luck that has provided you with the many gifts in your life.  God gave them all to you.  And much more, God has rescued you from eternal death.  Whether you are rich or poor, healthy or sick, young or old, God is your rock and salvation and fortress. There is none other who saves, but he who preserved King David, who raised Jesus from the dead and who saves you. 


Let us pray:

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.  On God rests my salvation and my glory, my mighty rock, my refuge is God. 


[1] 2 Timothy 1:2

[2] Psalm 62:2

[3] Psalm 18:2 “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge.”  Psalm 19:4 “My rock and my redeemer.”  Psalm 28:1 “To you, O LORD, I call; my rock, be not deaf to me.” Etc. 

[4] 1 Samuel 18:7

[5] 1 Samuel 17:34-35

[6] 1 Samuel 17:41-48

[7] 2 Samuel 23:12

[8] 2 Samuel 24

[9] Matthew 4:8-9

[10] Psalm 62:6, 8, 9

[11] Matthew 26:52-53

[12] Matthew 26:62-63; 27: 12-14

[13] Matthew 27:43. 

[14] 2 Samuel 22:5-6

[15] 1 Corinthians 15:55

[16] Psalm 62:1-2

[17] Luther’s Small Catechism. The First Article Explanation.