An Amazing Invitation!
O my people, trust in him at all times.
Pour out your heart to him,
for God is our refuge.
Psalm 62 offers one of the most amazing invitations we will ever receive. In Psalm 62, David invites us: “Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge” (62:8). The Hebrew verb shafakh, here translated here as “pour out,” is the ordinary verb used for emptying fluid from a container. In Exodus 4:9, for example, Moses is told to “take some water from the Nile River and pour it out on the dry ground.” When used metaphorically in reference to our relationship with God, pouring out suggests a complete emptying of ourselves in prayer. When we pour out our hearts, we hold nothing back. We share with the Lord every joy and sorrow, every praise and complaint, every confidence and fear.
The mere fact that we are free to pour out our hearts to God is stunning. If you were to approach an earthly sovereign, you would be expected to speak cautiously, saying only that which decorum and tradition allow. If you were to speak freely, pouring out your heart, you would be escorted out of the sovereign’s presence. In the ancient world, such presumptuous freedom of speech could even lead to death. People just don’t tell kings and queens what’s on their minds, let alone everything in their hearts. Yet we are invited to share it all with the King of kings and Lord of lords. Amazing!
The invitation of Psalm 62:8 is astounding, not only because it welcomes us to lay before God everything in our hearts, but also because of its placement in the psalm. It begins with David’s waiting quietly before God, confident in God’s protection and salvation (62:1-2). Even when threatened by enemies, David puts his trust in God: “He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me” (62:7). As David turns from confessing his confidence in God to exhorting us, we would expect him to say something like: “Be still in God’s presence. Trust in him. Don’t fret. Quiet your hearts.” But, in fact, after urging us to trust in God at all times, David says, “Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge” (62:8). Yes, there will be a time for us to be quiet before God. But it is not required right away. In fact, it often comes after we have poured out our hearts.
God is a refuge, not only in the sense that he offers protection, but also because we can be free to be ourselves in his presence. We don’t have to pretend to be anything other than who we really are. God’s grace provides unprecedented safety to share with him that which we might never feel free to share with anyone. Surrounded by his love, we lay our whole selves before God, so that he might touch and transform all that we are.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Do you feel free to pour out your heart to God? Why or why not? What helps you to communicate with God openly?
PRAYER: Gracious God, what an amazing invitation you have given us through your Word. When I think of it, I am astounded by the fact that I can pour out my heart to you. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Help me, Lord, not to hold myself back from you. May I lay before you my sin, my shame, my fears, and my sorrow. May I share with you my joy, my hope, my dreams, and my love.
All praise be to you, King of kings, because you invite me to share my whole self with you. Amen.
Here’s how . . . .
This devotional comes from The High Calling: Everyday Conversations about Work, Life, and God (www.thehighcalling.org). You can read my Daily Reflections there, or sign up to have them sent to your email inbox each day. This website contains lots of encouragement for people who are trying to live out their faith in the workplace. The High Calling is associated with Laity Lodge, where I work.