Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
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.”
The Song of Ascents is fifteen psalms (psalm 120-136) that played a major role in the praise and worship of the Lord. It’s likely that these psalms were linked to the fifteen steps of the temple where the Levites would sing each song as they progressed up the steps. They were sung three times a year during the annual festival processions.
Psalm 131 is a call to reorient ourselves back to God. The writer, David, wants to share his own experience as an encouragement. He wants us to know that he was not proud or concerned with lofty endeavors. When it came to his walk with God, he had a childlike trust; his hope was in the LORD.
When David talks about his “heart,” he is talking about his soul: the deepest part of his being. At that point of his life, he knew the foolishness of pride and he wants us to know that he hasn’t been arrogant.
Pride is completely disorienting. It takes our focus off of God and puts it squarely on ourselves. It leads us to want independence from God and it leads to disobedience to God. David knew that his dependence couldn’t be in himself, but it needed to be in the LORD. David wanted to be free from the trapping of proud ambition; his pursuit would be the LORD.
Instead, David chose to “calm and quiet” his soul. He described it like a weaned child who no longer wants his mother’s milk, but who is now content without that which used to seem indispensable. This is a great picture of a mature believer, of someone who chooses to rest in the LORD safe and secure.
David doesn’t have to be the go-to guy. He doesn’t have to have all the answers. He doesn’t even have to know all the reasons why. He’s decided that the ultimate question, the one that really matters the most is “Who is he going to put his trust in?” David’s answer is the LORD.
Charles Spurgeon said Psalm 131 was “one of the shortest psalms to read, but one of the longest to learn.”
If you’re like me, you can read the psalm, you can read commentaries on it, you can think deeply about its implications for your life, and still struggle to come to terms with it. It’s like pride is hard-wired into us; it’s our default setting! We have to fight against it constantly.
Eugene Peterson said “ Psalm 131 nurtures: a quality of calm confidence and quiet strength that knows the difference between unruly arrogance and faithful aspiration, knows how to discriminate between infantile dependency and childlike trust, and chooses to aspire and to trust— and to sing, ‘I’ve kept my feet on the ground, I’ve cultivated a quiet heart. Like a baby content in its mother’s arms, my soul is a baby content.’”
Only by choosing to reorient ourselves back to God and choosing to trust in Him fully will we be able to have the kind of rest and security that David tells us about.
What about you? Are you struggling right now with quieting your soul? Maybe you want to have the peace that David describes in the psalm, but you’ve got all kinds of questions or you want to take charge and make things happen. All the while you hear God saying, “Slow down, be quiet, and rest in Me.” Maybe you just need to trust Him. Settle it right now; decide to live “decided.” Place your hope fully in Him; let Christ be the anchor of your soul.
What is it that is keeping you from doing this? Is it pride? Is it selfish ambition? If so, what is one thing you can do today to move towards quieting your soul and resting in the LORD?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.