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.”
Eugene Peterson describes Psalm 131 as a maintenance psalm. “It is functional to the person of faith as pruning is functional to the gardener: it gets rid of that which looks good to those who don’t know any better, and reduces the distance between our hearts and their roots in God.” I resonate with this quote because I was a mechanic for 20 years of my life; I understand the importance and benefits of preventative maintenance.
This “maintenance” described in the psalm leads to the benefit of contentment. To be content means to be in a state of peacefulness. Some synonyms for contentment are: satisfied, pleased, fulfilled, happy, cheerful, and glad. David wants us to know that we can have this kind of contentment only if we have our hope grounded in reality.
For David, the ultimate reality for where our hope is to be placed is in the LORD. This is what David did and it’s what brings him contentment. It’s this rightly placed hope that nurtures David’s contentment.
I can’t help but think about a cyclical synergy that is being built up in this psalm. Synergy is simply two or more things working together in order to create something that is bigger or greater than the sum of their individual efforts. David’s contentment fuels his hope. His hope feeds and strengthens his contentment. His contentment reinforces his hope and hope leads to gratitude!
We see the same thing in the New Testament. Paul understood what it meant to be content. He knew what it was to place his hope in the LORD both now and forever. He tells us in Philippians 4 that “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” He didn’t become prideful and demanding; he definitely didn’t think too highly of himself. No, we see something different in Paul. In fact, he tells us “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” And the secret was this: “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” Paul was confident in this truth; the truth he put his hope in! That’s why he goes on to say, “My God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
Jesus is the one he put his hope in! I’m sure that he did it the same way that David did—he quieted his soul. He humbled himself and trusted in the all-powerful, all-knowing, creator God. We can do the same as we put our trust fully in Christ. With a heart full of gratitude, we can rest complete in Him. We can have hearts that are content.
Are you content? Do you have that peace that David and Paul experienced? If not, what is keeping you from experiencing it? What is something you could do today to reduce the distance between your heart and your roots in God? Will you do it?
(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.