Psalm 131


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.
But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.
Israel, put your hope in the Lord
both now and forevermore.

 

Do you ever wish you were...different? Better?

Sometimes I do. Sometimes I wish I was gifted differently. Sometimes I wish I was more extroverted, was a more natural leader; or that I was less fearful and had greater confidence.

Sometimes I wish I was smarter, that I had an answer to every Spiritual question that anyone asked me--and could put down falsehood with an effortless snap of the finger. Sometimes I look at other Christians and I see their public speaking gifts, their boldness for the faith, their charisma--and I find myself growing jealous.

"Why can't I be more like that, Lord? Why can't I be different?"

But I am not George Whitefield. I am not Charles Haddon Spurgeon or Billy Graham.

I am just Daniel.

Psalm 131 is a treasured Psalm of mine. In just 3 verses the Psalmist admits that he is limited. That God has given him a certain limited capacity, but what is more, he is content to live in that limited capacity. His heart is not wrapped up in himself. His eyes are not haughty. He does not feel the need to go beyond the boundaries of how God has created Him.

This posture is not what we might expect King David’s to be: he does not describe himself as some fearless leader, he is not exalting and victorious. He is not blazing the trail with assertiveness and excessive confidence in his own abilities. No. His posture is steeped in humility: like a weaned child with his mother--he is content.

What about you? Are you content with your lot? Are you satisfied with your state, whatever that may be? David was, and he likewise called all of Israel to embrace their limitedness and live in simple dependence on the paternal Father's care.

May we learn to do the same.

Comments

  1. Sometimes Christians can be tempted to use this message as a reason to slow down and take a back seat in life. 'Oh good I don't have to involve myself in too great matters.' Those who don't like to push themselves may convince themselves that God has not called them further than what they are comfortable with. I agree that God uses this passage specifically to comfort those Christians who burden themselves with things beyond their control or human limit! There is a degree of contentness we should have, but as far as seeking godliness we should never be satisfied with a certain state.

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  2. There is definitely a tension here. Paul writes In Philippians 4:14 that he has "learned to be content in whatever circumstance." And in 1 Thessalonians 4:11 he encourages the Christians there to "make it your ambition to lead a quiet life."

    I have definitely wrote about the need for Spiritual hunger and for "Christian Greed"--to never quite grow Spiritually content. Now I need to be nuanced in how I say this. We need to be content that Jesus is enough, that we are indeed His children through His adoption; but we also need to be continually striving for holiness--because of that great gift we have received. We are to be content in our circumstance and content in grace--but never quite content in our "walk".

    The reason I think Psalm 131 is important is: God has given us each different lots and different giftedness by which we serve Him. Some are stay at home mother's, others are electricians and engineers. Some are gifted with incredible preaching and teaching gifts, others are geared to be encouragers or more "behind the scenes" figures. We need to be content in the lot and abilities we have received--and not continually try to reach beyond for what God did not design us for. Some are "eyes", some are "feet", some are "hands"--we need to be satisfied with how we have been created and be the best we can be in that capacity.

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  3. Yes, there’s definitely a tension here. We shouldn’t be envious of the gifts of others, and in comparing ourselves with others we are not wise. However, we should earnestly desire the best gifts, presumably because God can and does still grant other gifts in addition to those we received when we were saved. Maybe we should be content when it comes to our own lot and possessions, but zealously seek thing that will benefit others.

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