Weds 3rd May - Psalm 131
A song of ascents. Of David.
1 My heart is not proud, Lord,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
2 But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.
3 Israel, put your hope in the Lord
both now and forevermore.
Meditation on Psalm 131
Of this psalm, Spurgeon said, ‘one of the shortest psalms to read but one of the longest to learn.’
“You can be proud of your achievements. You have done very well in your exams.” (not often said to me!)
“You can be proud of your generosity. You have given so much.”
“Wow! You know how to dress to impress – you can hold your head up high and go with the best.”
“I hear that you are the grandson or granddaughter of Sir so-and-so. You can be proud of that because he was a famous scientist.”
“Well done for passing your driving test at the first attempt. You can be very proud of that.”
And we could go on … and on and, maybe, get to the point where we are weighed down with pride.
But that’s not the message of our psalm.
David could be proud of his achievements. He was a shepherd who beat off a lion and a bear when they tried to carry off one of his sheep from the flock. He didn’t just scare them off – he killed them off.
When he went out to fight Goliath, he didn’t have any armour on to protect his body. He didn’t have any weapons to go against a giant with a sword. He just had a sling with 5 stones. He only needed 1 stone and he hurled it from the sling and it sank into Goliath’s forehead – he fell down dead.
There were many other times when David achieved much. But he didn’t put himself on a pedestal so that all who passed by could see him and bow down to him.
What is the message of our psalm?
- PRACTISE HUMILITY Verse 1
Pride comes from the heart but David says quite clearly that his heart is not proud. But he is not telling other people that. In the original, verse 1 is the other way round as it starts off by addressing the LORD.
“LORD, my heart is not proud.”
David is focused on the LORD.
As John said when talking about Jesus – “He must increase and I must decrease.” Our focus must be on the Lord.
Our relationship with the Lord is precious and we need to nurture it each day.
I was reading a blog online, written by Ray Fowler. He quotes a sign which he saw which encapsulates our relationship with the Lord. It said…
‘Good morning. This is God. I will be handling all of your problems today. I will not need your help. So relax and have a great day’
Therefore, I come humbly before God and walk with Him each day.
This also affects my attitude to others. David says “my eyes are not haughty.”
This determines how I treat others. Do I look down on them? Do I think I am a cut above them?
Jesus said, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31)
The CEV translation says, “Treat others as you want to be treated.”
My attitude to others follows the example of Jesus.
My heart is involved.
My eyes are involved.
Now my will is involved. I don’t have to know everything about everything. There are things I don’t need to know of get involved with. There may even be things that I am involved with today that I don’t need to be. The lesson is to be who God made me to be and not try to be someone else. Let them be who God wanted them to be. In Deuteronomy we have a statement which I have always found both challenging and encouraging. ‘The secret things belong to the LORD our God but the things revealed to us belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.’ (Deuteronomy 29:29)
Job had to learn this lesson when, after all his trials and tribulations, he realised that the LORD was wanting him to listen. Job comes to this conclusion – “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. You asked, “Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?” Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.” (Job 42:1-3)
- BE CONTENT Verse 2
There are three aspects to this contentment.
- ‘Be calm and quiet’ There must be times when I am still in God’s presence so that His calming presence affects me. As the psalmist says, ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ (Psalm 46:10)
So often I rush into the presence of God with my ‘spiritual shopping list’. I need to learn to be quiet.
- I have grown up from the early days of being weaned where I was impatient and agitated, dependent on my mother to feed me and nurture me. There comes a point when I need not be so dependent. But I still trust my mother that she will look after me and protect me as I continue to grow up. In the same way, I can trust God to be at work in my life as I walk with Him.
- This brings me to the place of contentment – to know the peace of God which passes all understanding.
- THERE IS HOPE Verse 3
David appeals to all the people of Israel. This hope is not a 24-hour wonder. It is a lifetime hope. It comes with rich promises from the Lord. Come back to Psalm 130 where we read, ‘Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with Him is full redemption.’
Wow! No wonder the psalmist talks about having this hope ‘both now and for evermore.’
I have bought an ‘African Bible Commentary’ and it gives new perspectives on so many well-known passages. For the last verse of our psalm it comments: ‘Here we have to wrestle with issues such as global warming, HIV/AIDS, civil and religious wars, terrorism, droughts, armed robbery, corruption and human trafficking. But when we get to heaven we will be with Christ who is our hope. All our hopes will be fulfilled.’
May the peace of the Lord be always with you.