Psalm 131 - Pray For Contentment
Psalm 131 NLT
LORD, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty. I don't concern myself with matters too great or too awesome for me to grasp.
Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself, like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother's milk. Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, put your hope in the LORD – now and always.
David said to God “my heart is not proud”. In case we start thinking that it takes a proud person to claim he is not proud, let’s get the real intent of what he said – he was expressing to God his desire to be humble and to reject pride.
David had his pride like we all do. But he was far more humble than most of us, as reflected in many of his psalms, where he exposed his vulnerabilities to God. It was this desire to be humble that made him who he became. Do we talk to God about our desire to reject pride?
To David, it was not enough that his heart was not proud; he also ensured that his “eyes are not haughty” either. Our eyes usually give us away when we feel proud towards someone, and give the ‘you know nothing’ look. David was not only concerned about hurting God with his pride; he also cared about how he might hurt people if he was proud.
David didn’t want to “concern myself with matters too great or too awesome for me to grasp”. It wasn’t an attitude of not caring about things that didn’t concern him, but having the humility to admit what is beyond his ability to grasp. He didn’t pretend to be smarter than he was, or become a busybody in areas he didn’t understand. He put his trust in God and was humble to learn from people who were better than him.
David humbly performed tasks given to him, to the best of his ability, without selfish ambition. “Whatever mission Saul sent him on, David was so successful that Saul gave him a high rank in the army. This pleased all the troops, and Saul's officers as well.” (1 Samuel 18:5 NIV)
I’m reminded of what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10:31-33 NIV, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God – even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.”
This is a challenge for all of us, to live a life to glorify God, so that many others may be saved. On the contrary, we allow our prideful behaviour to stumble others who may honestly want to seek God. As the king, David ‘had the right’ to be haughty and disregard other people’s opinions, but he didn’t. Jesus demonstrated God’s love for us, because he lowered himself and sacrificed for us, showing us the perfect example of humility.
“But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honour because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” (Hebrews 2:9 NIV)
David said, “I have calmed and quieted myself, like a weaned child”. This suggests that he probably wasn’t calm before, but he has learnt to calm his soul down.
Haven’t we all seen an unruly child’s relentless cries till he gets what he wants? That describes the soul within me at times. How often has my soul felt settled and unruly until the troubling thoughts leave?
It is interesting to see how David treated his soul like a separate entity within him that he could reason with. For example, in Psalm 103, he told his soul to bless the Lord. In this psalm, when David said he had “calmed and quieted” himself, he was describing how he had meditated and sought the peace of God. We ought to set aside time daily to calm down and quiet our souls. We are always rushing for something and the busyness of life takes us away from the desire for a calm soul. Do we find time to quiet and calm ourselves?
A godly man is “like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother's milk”. A weaned child is satisfied as long as it is with his mother; the security and love provided by its mother is sufficient. We tend to ‘cry’ for God’s provision of food and other necessities, don’t we? Be confident, trusting that God will provide us what we need (Matthew 6:25-34). When we are at peace with God, and confident that He will provide, how can we not feel settled in our soul?
“Put your hope in God.” We will take whatever God gives us. And whatever we do not receive, it is fine too. God alone is sufficient.
Andy is the head of compliance for an international bank and is happily married, with three daughters. He became a disciple of Christ three decades ago, and studies God's Word passionately. He desires to be constantly led by the Spirit.