O Lord, my heart is not lifted up,
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.”
~Psalm 131:1 (NRSV).
For a very short three-versed psalm this one—a Song of Ascents—packs a powerful message for the disciple on exactly how to live life.
It oozes obedient charm speaking in the first person of just how the psalmist looks to God at all times—that they’ve stilled and quieted their soul—due fundamentally to an appropriately humble disposition.
C.H. Spurgeon said of this psalm: “Comparing all the Psalms to gems, we should liken this to a pearl: how beautifully it will adorn the neck of patience!” Just getting even the tiniest heart-glimpse taste and this psalm is going to chill us wonderfully well.
Contentedness and Humility
These two themes are majored in this psalm; one begetting the other. The person who is humble is not setting out for contentedness but they’re blessed by God with it as their expectations are set in the concreteness of commonly-known (or God’s) reality; no more and no less.
A heart that is stilled by humble resignation is no heart close to despair—conversely they’re at the other end of the spectrum of efficacy. They believe God is capable and they accept God’s will as it’s known to reality. That is humility.
If only we were more cognisant, and even more able, to weld these two frames of virtue fast together, then God would not be half the mystery to us.
What comes from humility, in the form of contentedness, is an imperturbable inner tranquillity.
A Vision of Godly Maturity
The ‘quiet soul’ owns this song. We can see why David is attributed to it; it has his heart-prints all over it.
Now, if it weren’t for this sense of inner tranquillity it would be impossible to be truly godly. This is a remarkable claim given that many mature Christians suffer inordinately. To suffer and still have peace is a God-call of the ages—the only way to live. But only the really wise will know it.
The psalmist is “weaned” in such a way that an earlier reliance has given way for joyful sitting with mother; and so they are too with God—they’re there by choice. Maturity is about choice.
That human beings rarely achieve this level of godly maturity is a screaming shame, for God offers it—both the work and the reward—to all-comers.
A Time When Maturity is Truly Savoured
Can we perhaps think of a calamitous time—gone, now or ahead—where we might, in our grief of loss, succour back of God in this little gem... to know the peace and stillness of heart that transcends all human understanding (Philippians 4:6-7), even in great loss?
God was there. God is there. God will be there.
This is the gospel for all situations. The mature will cope, for they will...
Hope in the Lord.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.