Mighty God, sometimes my mind is scattered in a thousand directions. I want to center on You today. Be still my soul.
Read 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.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Let David’s words guide your prayer: ‘God, I’m not trying to rule the roost, I don’t want to be king of the mountain … I’ve cultivated a quiet heart.’1
The superscription describes today’s psalm as ‘A song of ascents’. As Jewish pilgrims ascended the hilly path to Jerusalem for the annual feasts, they prepared their hearts for worship by singing these ‘songs of ascents’.2 As the pilgrims climbed higher, this psalm of David would have reminded them that without humility they dare not approach a holy God. The closer we are to the Lord, the more keenly aware we become of our own flaws and failures. This is the poverty of spirit that Jesus declares ‘blessed’ in His Sermon on the Mount.3
As king, David was doubtless concerned with many weighty matters of state but, as a child of the King of Kings, he declares himself untroubled by the scope and magnitude of matters that lie beyond his understanding or control (v 1b). He employs the metaphor of a little child – not a baby but a weaned child. The baby at the breast is preoccupied with its own needs, easily frustrated and fretful when these are not instantly satisfied. The weaned child, however, having discovered that mother can generally be relied on to provide meals on time, is more likely to be ‘content’ (v 2c). While still ‘with its mother’ (v 2b), clinging trustingly to her hand, he is less likely to be unreasonably clingy.
David’s ‘I have calmed and quietened myself’ (v 2a) is echoed by Paul’s ‘I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances’.4 This is not an instinctive reaction but a learned response. It is an attitude we cultivate by deliberately and repeatedly choosing to focus on our heavenly Father rather than merely on our earthly circumstances.
David encourages Israel to have the same trusting hope and confidence in God (v 3). What testimony will you share (and with whom) about lessons in trust and contentment?
Lord, in Jesus Christ You have brought me out of death into life, out of despair into hope. Thank You that hope brings the joy of new beginnings.
1 Ps 131:1,2 The Message 2 Pss 120–134 3 Matt 5:3 4 Phil 4:11, emphasis added
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