ʾǎḵ - only, surely, truly, alone
Have you ever felt the disquieting feeling of being alone? Have you experienced the pang of loneliness even when surrounded by people? Do you understand the tormenting feeling that no-one is on your side, that nobody sees things your way? This psalm starts with a strong statement;
“My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I shall never be shaken”
But it reads more like he his trying to convince himself or remind himself…..”I’m ok, I’m ok, I’m ok!” In fact he is feeling alone, oppressed and dejected - fragile and vulnerable - hated and surrounded - victimised and accused (v3-4).
Have you felt that kind of ‘alone’?
Six times in this psalm the psalmist uses the word - ʾǎḵ but never does he ascribe it to feeling alone, or even to himself at all. In fact four times he uses it to say something about God; his hope, his salvation, his protective cover and even his rest is found only in God.
But his use goes even deeper than saying that these things are only found in God because the word also carries a sense of certainty and security. Surely, truly, definitely and without exception - rest, wholeness, confidence, security and salvation come from God.
The Psalmist goes on to repeat the opening statement (v5-6) but this time as an instruction because even the Psalmist has to fight to remind himself of the truth of this. Battle through - shout it out and repeat it until you arrive.
I may not feel as though it is true for me but that doesn’t change the truth of the statement. So I press to find the path into His presence and do what it takes to get there.
I am not fighting or fretting to achieve my salvation or honour because these are outworking of God and not me, therefore He is the trustable, dependable One and not me (v7-8). He is the One to be relied upon and not my own wisdom, knowledge or strength. Even better.. we can actually pour out our hearts to Him. Councillor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace.
Finally in v12 the Psalmist reveals that God will reward as a recompense for what we have done, but this is within the fact of His salvation, because my salvation (and my honour) do not depend upon my works but upon His work and promises accessed by faith.