I love the spirituality of this psalm. Our relationship with God needs to be founded on trust, and this is oozing with it. I particularly like the admonition not to put our trust in violence (what a topical reminder for religious communities around the world at the moment), and not to put our trust in wealth (a challenge to every one of us in this commercialised world).
It is just the last line that, from a Christian perspective, leaves the psalm falling short of Gospel proclamation. Whilst we do believe in a God who is just and righteous, the Gospel of Jesus reminds us that there is something that trumps even this. It is God’s mercy and grace, which rewards us not according to our deeds, but according to God’s generosity and love.
5 I depend on God alone;
I put my hope in him.
6 He alone protects and saves me;
he is my defender,
and I shall never be defeated.
7 My salvation and honour depend on God;
he is my strong protector;
he is my shelter.
8 Trust in God at all times, my people.
Tell him all your troubles,
for he is our refuge.
9 Human beings are all like a puff of breath;
great and small alike are worthless.
Put them on the scales, and they weigh nothing;
they are lighter than a mere breath.
10 Don’t put your trust in violence;
don’t hope to gain anything by robbery;
even if your riches increase, don’t depend on them.
11 More than once I have heard God say
that power belongs to him
12 and that his love is constant.
You yourself, O Lord, reward everyone according to his deeds.
Here’s a thoughtful adaptation of the psalm by modern song-writers