Freelance Writing to the Glory of God

Month: February 2024

Union With Christ

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,  and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.



The Father deserves all of the glory for what He has accomplished in Christ and the Church. He deserves all of the glory because his love surpasses knowledge. We will worship him forever because he has united Jew and Gentile into one family of Christ. And he is worthy of all praise because Christ and the Spirit now dwell in us through faith. God the Father is worthy of all glory in the church and in Christ Jesus because his love is boundless, he has united the church with one common bond of love, and because the Son and the Spirit now indwell us by faith.

Ephesians 3:14 introduces one of Paul’s many prayers that he offers for the church in the New Testament. This prayer in particular is an intercessory prayer, directed to the Father to whom belongs the glory. But before Paul gets to the prayer, he wants to really make sure we understand something that he calls “the mystery of his will.” In another place he calls it “the mystery of Christ” and in still another place he will call it “the mystery of the gospel.” And Paul does not keep us in suspense as to what this mystery is for too long either. In chapter three verse six he explains that “This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel”

The Father deserves all of the glory because he has united Jew and Gentile into one family of faith. This passage is preempted with a recognition that believing Jews and believing Gentiles constitute one single people of God who are united by faith in Christ. God is the prototypical Father, without whom we would have no concept of family.

This prayer begins by a recognition that God is “the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.” The words that the ESV translate as “the Father” and “family” actually share the same root – “pater.” Paul is emphasizing that since all family’s have their identity or being in God the Father who upholds them, and since the husband is the head of the household, we should strive to raise up the next generation in the fear and admonition of the Lord.

There is some interpretive difficulty when it says “every family.” While it could technically include things like animals, what Paul seems to be stressing here is that God united Jew and Gentile into one community of faith. By faith, all the nations can say “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD.”  Together, we will praise the LORD and give him all the glory as one family of faith.

This passage is an intercessory prayer. When defining prayer, the Puritan and author of Pilgrim’s Progress John Bunyan once said “Prayer is a sincere, sensible, affectionate pouring out of the heart or soul to God, through Christ, in the strength and assistance of the Holy Spirit, for such things as God has promised, or according to His Word, for the good of the Church, with submission in faith to the will of God”  By praying for one another we guard one another from a multitude of sins.

But this text presents us with a paradox. It challenges us to “know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.” How is it that we can know that which surpasses knowledge? Are we expected to know the unknowable? One of the primary ways that we know and experience the love of Christ is by loving the saints. Loving the saints is one of the primary means by which we comprehend and experience the love of Christ.

Knowing the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge means that through Christ, his Spirit and the church, we are able to experience a relationship with our Savior that surpasses mere intellectual pursuits. It does not matter how many books you have read, or what podcasts you listen too. What matters is do you know Christ. Verse 17 says “so that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith” Now, even though it is important, in this context Paul is not primarily talking about the initial indwelling of Christ at conversion. Remember Paul is praying for Christians. Rather, he is asking us has Christ “settled in” to your hearts?

I remember being a college student with a dorm to myself and, like a typical male college student, not the best at keeping it clean. Especially during the busy season of the semester, my dorm room was an absolute mess. At one point, I had a suitcase in the middle of the floor, trash all over the place, and an unidentifiable odor coming from the garbage can. And, even though it was my dorm, it never really felt like I had settled in. It was still necessary for me to clean my room. It was only after I cleaned my room that I started to feel at home in my dorm. This is the kind of indwelling that Paul has in view here. 


Does Christ feel at home in your heart?


Do you have faith in Christ? Faith may be the meekest of all virtues. Consider the faith of leper who said “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean” and thus found Christ to be a tender and willing savior when he said “I am willing… be clean!”  Or, think about the woman who thought to herself that if she could just touch the hem of the garments of Christ that she might be healed of her affliction. And do not forget what Jesus perceived when she did so – “that power had gone out from him.” In this moment the Holy Spirit strengthened her, so that Christ might dwell in her, through faith. “And… [Jesus] said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

The Spirit strengthens us in our inner being that is in our spirits. “Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.”  He, by his Spirit is strengthening us. The Lord says in Isaiah 48:10 “Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.” He refines us, but not without respect to our weakness. And, he does so for his own name’s sake.

The Father deserves all of the glory because Christ’s love surpasses knowledge. His love is incomprehensible. It is boundless. He, by his gracious love strengthens us by his Spirit to face trials and suffering. God deserves all the glory in Christ because Jesus’ love surpasses understanding, because his Spirit now strengthens us, and because he has given us the church.

When we say that Christ’s love surpasses knowledge we do not mean that there is nothing that we can know about His love. Rather what we mean is that no matter how much we learn about his love there will always be more of his love to discover. Deuteronomy 29:29 says “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever.” There are things about God that He chooses to disclose and share with us, and there are things about Him that only He knows. There are aspects of his love that we will never understand, even into eternity. This is because love is not merely something God has, but who God is. “God is love.”  He is the creator of all things, on heaven and on earth. As the Father of all in heaven and on earth his love is transcendent. He deserves all of the praise and glory because his love surpasses understanding.


So the question becomes, if he can conceal some aspects of his love to us, in what ways does he reveal his love to us? 


As we have already discussed, one way is the church. But let’s also listen to these words from First John “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.”  The primary way that God has revealed his love for us is by sending his Son into the world as a propitiation for our sins. Indeed Paul says in our passage “that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened”

Now this is vital. Do not miss that tiny little phrase “according to.” In this context “according to” means in proportion to and as a result of. Our strengthening in the Spirit is commensurate with and accomplished by the same power as the “riches of his glory.” And his glories are indeed rich – as are his riches glorious.

There are a couple different way that you could take the phrase “the riches of his glory.” Is this describing glorious riches, as in rich blessings that God bestows upon us that are a direct consequence of his glory? Or, is this saying that God’s glory itself is wondrously rich? Or could it be both somehow? Ephesians chapter one verse seven gives us a pretty big clue even though it uses slightly different terminology. Paul says 


In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.” 


He deserves all of the glory because his love that surpasses understanding has purchased for us redemption.

Throughout Ephesians, Paul builds this theme of how glorious God’s grace is. In Ephesians 1 he talks about how we have been adopted to himself according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace. And, in chapter 2 he talks about how it is by grace we have saved. He talks about how believers will have “the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.” So when Paul, in Ephesians 3:16 says “the riches of his glory” he is not talking about some abstract thing. He is talking about that “which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands.”  He is talking about Him in whom “we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.”

So when we take this together with our text in Ephesians 3:16, it all of a sudden becomes much more apparent what Paul is saying. The same grace that once purchased for us redemption and forgiveness on the cross, now grants to us strength to grow in him and to face trials through the Holy Spirit. It is the same grace that once redeemed us that now sanctifies us and grants us strength to remain faithful in the midst of trials and suffering. God is worthy of all praise and honor because he, once demonstrating his love for us on the cross, continues to show his love for us as he grants us strength in the midst of trials.

Notice that this strength is something that must be granted. Just as it is true that it is “by grace you have been saved.” But do not forget that it is also by grace you are being sanctified. The Lord will be with us as we grow in sanctification and holiness. It is by his grace that we day by day our being renewed.  Ephesians 4:22-24 describes sanctification as a process of putting off the old self which belongs to our former manner of life, and putting on the new self being renewed in the spirit of our minds. It is a free gift of God that cannot be demanded. And, we know that Christ will keep his flock. As Jude 24 says “Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever.”

When we consider how the Spirit strengthens us in light of the depths of God’s love we have no reason to be downcast. As David says in the 139th Psalm:

“7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?

   Or where shall I flee from your presence?

8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!

   If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!

9 If I take the wings of the morning

   and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

10 even there your hand shall lead me,

 and your right hand shall hold me.

Because His love is boundless, he will strengthen us in the midst of trials and persecution. We must not lose heart over the sufferings that we endure for the gospel, because these light momentary afflictions are our glory. The same grace that bought for us redemption and forgiveness on the cross, now grants us strength by the Holy Spirit. The riches of his glory are unspeakable.

It was the riches of his glory for him to purchase redemption and forgiveness for us on the cross. It was the riches of his glory that he sweat drops of blood in the garden and told his disciples “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death.”  It was the riches of his glory that he was mocked, beaten and executed. Isaiah 53:10 says “It was the will of the LORD to crush him.” It was the riches of his glory to die. And it was the riches of his glory when he defeated death three days later. I could go on. In fact, if all we did in this bible study was gloss what the phrase “the riches of his glory” meant providing a dictionary definition of it, our study would literally never end. His love is massive.

The Father deserves all of the praise honor glory and dominion forever and ever because his love is incomprehensible. This doesn’t mean that he is altogether unknowable, but rather that we can never exhaust the depths of his love or know everything there is to know about how loving he is. Still, he reveals certain things about his character to us through His Son. It is Paul’s prayer that God would grant the church strength in the Spirit according to the riches of his glory. We are dependent upon God’s grace for sanctification just as we are dependent on Him for salvation. He strengthens us by His Spirit to face every form of suffering and temptation. We must therefore be killing sin daily, and be eagerly pursuing Christ.

The Father deserves all of the glory for what he is accomplishing in the church and in Christ because he has brought Jew and Gentile together into one family of faith, Christ and his Spirit now indwell us, and because his love surpasses understanding. He, as the prototypical Father, has united Jew and Gentile into one whole people of God. As one united people of God we should be praying for one another’s benefit and growing up into godly men and women. We must together be rooted and grounded in love so that we can comprehend, through faith with the assistance of the church, the all surpassing love of Christ. By faith, which is a gift of the Spirit, Christ settles in to our hearts and indwells us. He deserves all the glory because his love surpasses knowledge. This does not mean that he is unknowable, but rather that there will always be more of Him to fall in love with. He has strengthened us to face every trial and suffering according to the riches of his glory. And, it is the same grace that once redeemed us on the cross, which will preserve us now through every toil and snare.

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

The Mestizo Augustine – Book Review

 González, Justo L. The Mestizo Augustine: A Theologian Between Two Cultures (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2016)..

In The Mestizo Augustine Justo Gonzalez argues that Augustine was part of two cultures. Dr. Justo Gonzalez is an ordained minister, and was the youngest person to be given a Ph. D. by Yale in historical theology in 1961. He explains that a mestizo is someone who is of mixed descent. It is typically used to describe someone with Latin American ties, though it can have broader applications. In Augustine’s case, he was caught between the world of North Africa and Rome. Augustine’s theology came from both worlds. When we speak of Africa, Gonzalez notes that Africa did not mean the entire continent. Rather, in Augustine’s time “Africa” referred to just to the Coast and the Roman province of Africa, with Carthage as its center. Augustine was born in Tagaste, near the border and would have likely spoke Berber. Because of his education, he would have also spoken Latin. His parents paid for him to be educated in Tagaste with the little funds that they had. Augustine then continued his studies in Madaura. Leaving Tagaste, Augustine felt liberated from his parents supervision and pursued a life of rebellion. He joined a gang called “the destructors” and lived a life of licentiousness with them. In Augustine’s confessions he tells the story about how they would steal pears from a pear tree not to eat but simply for the thrill of being thieves. He continued to attend to church, but only to meet women. His womanizing was eventually successful and he did meet a woman who he took to be his concubine, with whom he eventually had a son named Adeodatus. Though his friends and mother did not approve of this relationship, it was socially acceptable to have concubines in this day. This arrangement was similar to marriage, but done more for purposes of ensuring an inheritance. Augustine’s mother, Monica, did not approve of this relationship and strongly encouraged Augustine to leave her. Her reasons were not only moral, but also pragmatic. If the relationship turned into a marriage, this woman of a lower social status might hinder Augustine career. `

Short on finances, Augustine returned home to Targaste only to not be received by his mother. While studying rhetoric for eight years he picked up Manichaeism, an early Christian heresy. He taught rhetoric for a while in Carthage but found it to be an unfulfilling prospect. This was because rhetoric was often taught without reference to whether something is true or not. It was the task of persuading through elegant speech, and was done regardless of truth. Augustine was struck when he encountered Cicero, who in addition to being a rhetorician was a philosopher. Cicero emphasized the importance of truth and honesty when speaking. Though Cicero was not a believer, this train of thought would eventually bring him back to Christianity, though his initial reaction to find other answers apart from Christ. Living in a time with limited access to Bible translations (the Vulgate wouldn’t be written until later in his life) the Bible seemed clunky compared to the writings of great rhetoricians like Cicero.

This is what led him to Manichaeism. Augustine initially saw a solution to the problem of evil in Manichaeism. According to them the principle of light and the principle of darkness are both eternal. Though these things should have been kept separate, they have been mixed together. The mixing of light and dark is what brings evil into the world. Manichean anthropology teaches that the human soul is light and the human body is darkness. This means that the body is an hindrance to the salvation of the soul, which is the only part of an individual that can be saved in Manichaean thought. Though Augustine stayed in this sect for a long period of time, he did not progress far into the group. Though Manichaeism seemed to answers questions regarding the problem of evil, Augustine had many unanswered questions. After asking his leaders and even the great Manichean teacher Faustus his questions and receiving no satisfactory answers, Augustine lost trust in this religion.

Augustines did not immediately cut ties with the Manicheans, and depended on them for income for some time. After a year in Rome, a friend of Augustine found an opening for him to teach rhetoric. He turned from Manichaeism to Neoplatonism, which teaches that there is a One, from which all reality proceeds from. The Neoplatonists held that there is no such thing as evil, but that evil is a distancing from the one. Neoplatonism, though still deficient in many ways, helped Augustine to understand certain truths about Christianity.

Though Augustine was still persuaded that the Bible lacked philosophical value, one day Augustine decided that he would listen to Ambrose. Ambrose was the bishop of Milan and had a reputation of being a great orator. Augustine’s goal was to observe his speaking ability, not the content of his message. But as Augustine listened to the message, the “truth crept in”[1] and he realized that he could not separate his eloquence from the substance of what he was speaking. From that point on, Augustine began to return to the faith of his mother.

Augustine continued to receive pressure from his mother to abandon his concubine, and he did, though his motives are debated. He sent her back to Carthage and kept Adeodatus with himself. After that relationship was ended, Monica arranged for Augustine to wed a young girl. But, because she was still too young, Augustine waited for her to age by getting yet another concubine. Monica was not very vocally opposed to this, though she did not explicitly endorse it either. Her hope was that Augustine would climb the social ladder by marrying up. Augustine’s worry was that if he publicly announced his newly forming Christian convictions, he would lose status in the public square. In the garden though, he learned of a man named Victorinus who had the courage to proclaim his faith even when his faith would be ridiculed by his colleagues. His heart was convicted when he heard a child saying “tolle lege, tolle lege” which means take and read. He grabbed a book of Paul’s epistles and read from Romans 13 “Not in dissipation and drunkenness, nor in debauchery and lewdness, nor in arguing and jealousy; but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh or the gratification of your desires.”[2]

It was then that Augustine began to write. He wrote some of his early books such as Against the AcademiciansOn Order, and his Soliloquies. He was a prolific writer. Augustine was then baptized in Milan by Ambrose with his son. After this, Augustine decided to return to Africa. Unfortunately, the seaports were blocked and the ship was delayed to take them from the seaport town of Ostia, where they were temporarily living and their homeland. Monica died there, but not without getting to celebrate Augustine’s new faith with him.

At this point in his life, Augustine begins writing heavily. He is also now a member of the church. Augustine began to develop his theory of knowledge and taught that true knowledge needs both external illumination and virtue. He lived a monastic life, but the order of monks that he was a part of was focused on influencing the culture for good, not on isolation. He eventually received a letter from Hippo, who needed a presbyter. Augustine initially refused to be ordained, but eventually became bishop of Hippo.

As pastor he had the responsibility of “giving and returning the creed.” In particular, the Council of Nicea. It was also his responsibility to preside over presbyters. Each community only had one church, but sometimes more than one meeting place was necessary. In these cases, a presbyter presided over these meeting places in the place of the bishop. Augustine employed everyone to use their possessions for the enjoyment of God.

After his conversion, he labored to refute the teaching of the Manichaean faith that he once held to. Manichaeanism held that the religious leader Mani was the Paraclete that Jesus foretold. It was a very sophisticated system that appealed to intellectual people. Augustine writes the works The Catholic Way of Life and the Manichean Way of Life and On Genesis, Against the Manicheans were he attempts to refute the Manichaeans, as well as engaging in them in debate. For Augustine, theodicy was not just a academic issue, but a personal one that touched on the struggle with sin that he battled with in himself. He came to the conclusion that evil is not a truly a thing.

He also worked to fight against the donatists. The donatists taught that if a traitor denies the gospel, perhaps under persecution, and then attempts to administer the sacraments, then those sacraments are polluted and no longer effective for administering grace to recipients. This position was rejected at the council of Nicea. Augustine wrote against it by arguing that the holiness of the church comes from Christ, not from how obedient or not obedient the people in the church are.

The controversy that has doubtless left the biggest legacy is the Pelagian controversy. Pelagius was a ascetic monk, and well liked in the community. In 405 Pelagius heard someone quoting Augustine’s Confessions “Give what you command, and then command whatever you will” Pelagius argued that individuals must be counted worthy in order to be given the gift of the Holy Spirit. He believed that infants did not redemption on the basis that they had not sinned yet.

Gonzalez concludes by stating that Augustine was a bridge connecting the medieval and the ancient church. He left many traditions and ideas in his wake as this bridge. He reminds the reader that Augustine was a mestizo, that being a mestizo is not a sign of shame, and encourages his readers to be bridges between cultures just as Augustine was.

Critical Interaction

The Mestizo Augustine is an excellent book and summary of the life of Augustine’s life. It is carefully researched by one of the best scholars in the field. One possible criticism that a reader might encounter when reading this is how quickly he departs from his thesis. At the outset, he seems to be defending the notion that Augustine’s theology was shaped by a hybridization of African and Roman thought. While Gonzalez certainly shows how Augustine’s thought was shaped by various ideas, he does not show how any of these ideas are distinctly either African or Roman. In something of a backhanded compliment, Mark Clavier writes “That González is a good historian and recognizes his limits is demonstrated by the fact that much of the book does not even try to keep to his thesis.” Clavier explains that the information on how African theology impacted Augustine’s thought is very limited and it would be very difficult to write a book on this topic.

Not everyone agrees with Clavier that Gonzalez’s concepts of nationality are anachronistic. Many have found Gonzalez’s portrayal of Augustine as a mestizo as a source of encouragement for people. Nguyen writes “readers will obviously see how Augustine draws from his mestizo heritage to respond to theological controversies of his time.” While it is difficult to say how much of Augustine was influenced by his mestizo heritage, and it is a little bit anachronistic, Gonzalez is right in acknowledging that we need to study Augustine as a man of two cultures.

Jose F. M Torres says that Gonzalez did not go far enough, and says that Gonzalez should have leaned more into the mestizo motif. Torres agrees that there are times when he “deviates from the mestizo rubric” but he also adds that “there are parts where the mestizaje lens would have served González well, but he does not employ it.” One such instance that he suggests is Manichaeism as the product of a mestizo Persia.

There is not much material covering the theology of the various religions that Augustine interacted with. When dealing with the various beliefs, he could have spent more time explaining the theology behind them. He devotes plenty of time to the history surrounding them, but only explains the theological concepts briefly. One very important part of history is the history of ideas.

Even though The Mestizo Augustine does not accomplish precisely what it sets out to do on the cover, it is still a good book. It is a very articulate birds eye view synopsis of the life of Augustine. Though it departs from its thesis, in some ways that’s not necessarily a bad thing. He doesn’t seem to be trying to make things fit into a particular narrative. There is a danger of anachronism when we talk about Augustine as a mestizo, but the core claim that Augustine inhabited two distinct cultures is valid. It is a delightful book to read and very informative. I would recommend this book to students who are looking to study more about Augustine, and for anyone who is interested in early church history.


Clavier, Mark. “The Mestizo Augustine: A Theologian Between Two Cultures, by Justo L. González”, Journal of Reformed Theology 12, 3 (2018): 321-322, doi:

Morales Torres, J.F. (2018), Justo L. González: The Mestizo Augustine: A Theologian Between Two Cultures. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2016; pp. 175.. Journal of Religious History, 42: 136-137.

Nguyen, T. N. (2017). Book Review: The Mestizo Augustine: A Theologian between Two Cultures. By Justo L. González. Theological Studies, 78(3), 741–743.

Waiting On The Lord In Silence

Psalm 62:

To the choirmaster: according to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.

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.

Put no trust in extortion;

set no vain hopes on robbery;

if riches increase, set not your heart on them.

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.


Since only the Lord can deliver us from our enemies, we ought to quietly wait on the Lord, just like Jesus did. Very frequently in the Psalms, David describes his experience in terms of “crying out.” In Psalm 130:1 the psalmist opens by saying “Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD!” Likewise, Psalm 40 begins with “I waited patiently for the LORD; \ he inclined to me and heard my cry.” And Psalm 61, the psalm that directly precedes our text in this chapter, opens with the fervent plea “Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer.” But, here, David doesn’t open his Psalm this way. Instead of crying out to God, he opens the Psalm with a description of how his soul is silenced before the Lord.


According to the Bible Knowledge Commentary verse one could literally be translated “only to God is my soul silence [sic].” So there is sort of a double meaning here. On the one hand David’s soul is silenced because he has peace with God who has delivered him from his enemies. But, his soul is also silenced because he is left absolutely speechless by God’s unspeakable justice and steadfast love. When we consider the awesome love that God has displayed to us in granting us a relationship with himself, we should be absolutely dumbstruck. The phrase “only to God is my soul silence [sic]” means both that God is the only one worthy of a quieted soul, and that he is the only one who is capable of quieting our souls.


Jesus is the perfect model of a quieted soul. This Psalm in particular is titled “A Psalm of David.” The phrase “A Psalm of David” is one that communicates authorship. Now some people claim that that phrase merely means the Psalm was about David. I respectfully disagree. When we read other Psalm titles that say things like a “A Psalm of Asaph” or “Of Solomon” or “…of the Sons of Korah” we generally understand those titles to be communicating authorship. Since most of us understand those titles to be communicating authorship, we should understand it to be communicating authorship when it says “of David” too. Jesus himself understood that the titles were to be interpreted this way when he attributed Davidic authorship to Psalm 110 in Mark 12:36.


But, in addition to these things being written by the individual, I think these Davidic psalms should also be understood as generally representative of the throne and Kingship of David. Since this Psalm gave us a little glimpse into the way King David thought about things, it also gave the people of God a rough idea about how the coming Messiah who would reign on his throne would think. This Psalm functioned as a description of how the Davidic King was to live and what the people were to expect from him. When Jesus came he modeled perfect silent submission to the Father and established “a kingdom that cannot be shaken.”


Since only Christ can protect us from our enemies, we should follow his example of humble quiet submission to the Father. The Psalm says “How long will all of you attack a man to batter him, like a leaning wall, a tottering fence?” These men “esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted… He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.” He came down from heaven, not to do his own will, but the will of Him who sent him. And yet “they mocked him, saying “Hail king of the Jews!” These men hated Christ and “they only plan[ed] to thrust him down from his high position.” “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” As enemies of Christ, they took “pleasure in falsehood.” These are the kinds of men Isaiah prophesied when he said “this people draw near with their mouth \ and honor me with their lips, \ while their hearts are far from me”


Jesus modeled for us silence in suffering. This “silence” that the Psalm speaks of is not merely an emptying of ones mind. Rather it is, as John Calvin put it:

The word [silence] implies a meek and submissive endurance of the cross. It expresses the opposite of that heat of spirit which would put us into a posture of resistance to God. The silence intended is, in short, that composed submission of the believer, in the exercise of which he acquiesces in the promises of God, gives place to his word, bows to his sovereignty, and suppresses every inward murmur of dissatisfaction.

John Calvin
John Calvin
Calvin's Commentaries on the Psalms: Chapter 62

Jesus would regularly stow away to pray and be with the Lord. He did not display any resistance towards God, but rather said “Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” Likewise, we should, as it says in Ephesians “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”


Only God can silence our souls. Psalm 18:31 says “For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God?” And again in Isaiah 44:8 it says “Is there a God besides me? \ There is no Rock; I know not any.” The Rock is a hiding place, a source of security, a place of provision and a firm foundation. But there is only one Rock. To him alone belongs power and steadfast love. He promised us that when he said in Isaiah 42 “I am the LORD; that is my name; \ my glory I give to no other, \ nor my praise to carved idols.” What a hope and assurance we can have in that fact. What a glorious resting place. Only God can quiet our souls, because he alone is God.


Since God is the only one to whom belongs all power and authority and steadfast love, he is the only one who can give us lasting and true peace. Because of this, David stakes his reputation on God by saying “On God rests my salvation and my glory.” David again encourages us to lean on Christ in Psalm 20:7 when he says “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” We may endure sufferings in the midst of our faith, but if you are in Christ, he will be faithful to complete the work he began in you. For “a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice.” It is from God Alone that our salvation comes.


Recall what happened at the Exodus. When being pursued by Pharaoh after fleeing from Egypt the Israelite’s found themselves stuck between Pharaoh’s army and an impassible sea. They began to be very afraid for their lives and cried out to the Lord and to Moses saying that it would have been better if they had stayed in Egypt. But Moses said to the people “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”


God is both the source of our salvation, and our salvation itself. Notice this, in verse 1 it says David’s salvation comes from God, and then in verse 6 David writes that God himself is his salvation. Salvation is not just something that God gives, it’s who he is. John 17:3 says “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” So we do not only silently wait for the things that God can do for us, we wait for God himself.


Only Christ can quiet our souls. In John 6 Jesus rebukes the crowd that had followed him across the sea by saying “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.” These individuals were not interested in who Jesus was, but in what he had to offer. We also see Jesus rebuke the Pharisees and Sadducee for failing to see what was right in front of them by saying “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” – that is, his resurrection. Jesus Christ is not only the source of our salvation, but he is our salvation itself.


That alone is incredible, and I could just stop there and be content. You simply cannot beat the fact that God himself is our salvation. But remember that this Psalm also teaches that he is the source of our salvation. The fence that is the Christian heart may be beaten on every side. It may endure fiery darts and temptations from the devil that seek to destroy it. But, since Christ is upholding us with His steadfast love, we know that these enemies are but a delusion.


Only Christ’s holiness can leave us in silent faithful awe. When we realize just how huge God is, the things of earth grow strangely dim. He is the one that will defeat His enemies. I love the description that David gives in verse 9. He says that if you were to take a scale, and on one side of the scale have nothing but air, and on the other side of the scale put all of humanity – both the rich and the poor – the entire mass of humanity would float up like a balloon. It says “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.” All of Christ’s enemies weigh less than nothing. All of the concerns that we have about the culture and where it is headed are a vapor and a striving after the wind. Christ will render to a man according to his work.


And since he will render to a man according to his work “let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.” If you want to have peace with God you must place your trust in Christ. He is the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him. We must be striving to enter into the Sabbath rest that Christ offers us by trusting in his promises and pouring out our hearts to him. The command to pour out our hearts to God, does not mean to simply loose control of our emotions. Rather, it means that we must open up all of our requests to God, and trust him to provide what we need. It is what we do when we pray “Give us this day our daily bread.” The work that is being discussed in this Psalm is a failure to possess the free gift of faith. If you are trusting in him at all times, and pouring out your heart before him, then you can be sure that he will be a safe and secure refuge.


Power belongs to only Christ. In 1 Chronicles 29, after the Temple had been constructed, when David was nearing the end of his life, he blessed the LORD in the presence of the entire assembly saying:


Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.


David understood that everything that he had was from God. The greatness, the power, the glory, the victory and the majesty all belong to him. Why? Because he made absolutely everything. Even though David was the king, David looked to God and effectively said “I’m not really king, God. You are King. The Kingdom actually belongs to you.” Power belongs not to riches or those of high estate, but only to Christ.


Because only the Lord can be a refuge from our enemies, we ought to quietly wait on the Lord, just as Christ did. As we have discussed, the Sixty Second psalm teaches us that Christ alone is our reward. He is the only one that can deliver us from our enemies. Because he alone is Lord, we should recognize that Jesus is the only way to have peace with God, and be in awe of his justice and steadfast love. God is both the only one worthy of a quiet submissiveness in our souls, and the only one who can produce that kind of faith in the first place. In defining what it looks like for a soul to be silent before the Lord, there is no better example that we can look to, than to the life of Christ. Jesus Christ modeled perfect quiet submission as he was esteemed by us “stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.” Yet “he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” Christ is placing every enemy as a footstool for his feet, until he delivers the Kingdom over to God. Let us imitate him, by walking in obedient love and give ourselves up for one another. Christ is the only one who can bring our souls true silence. “For he himself is our peace.” Who is a Rock, but Christ? To him belong all glory majesty power and dominion. So whatever enemies come our way, we know he can take it. Recall the hymn How Firm A Foundation based on Isaiah 41 which says:


Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,

for I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;

I’ll strengthen thee, help thee,

and cause thee to stand,

upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.


The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,

I will not, I will not desert to its foes;

that soul, though all hell

should endeavor to shake,


I’ll never, no, never, no, never forsake.



When we are presented with Christ’s all surpassing holiness, our jaws should drop. Isaiah 40:15 says “the nations are like a drop from a bucket, \ and are accounted as the dust on the scales” All of our concerns about where the culture is headed are nothing to him. He’s got this. Be sure that a day is coming when he will render to each man according to his work. Christ will win. Our enemies may treat us like a tottering fence, but we will not fall over. He possesses a kingdom that will not be shaken. Let us silently wait on Christ alone – our only refuge from our enemies.

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