Bible Study: Psalm 131

Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child. Let Israel hope in the Lord from henceforth and for ever.”

I remember hearing a sermon on four pictures about a fence post.  In two of the pictures the post represented grace. The third represented standards and the fourth represented man’s advancement.  The first of the two was a turtle on top of post and the caption said, “Somebody had to help him up there.”  That’s the grace that lifts us up.  The second of the two was a picture of a boat in a stormy tied to a post on the shore with a simple caption, “The anchor holds.”  That is also a picture of grace that keeps us through life’s trials.  The third picture was a broken fence post and fence that was in a sheep field with the caption that said, “When the fence is broken the sheep will get out.”  The last picture though feels the heart of Psalm 131.  It was a picture of a well-dressed man with his nose in the air standing on top of the fence post.  The caption read, “A step in any direction will lead to a great fall.”

Proverbs 16:18 reads, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”  David had quickly ascended from a shepherd boy to the king of Israel.  There wasn’t a any political ladders to climb.  God anointed him to the position and he went.  Overwhelming?  Yes!  Trained?  No!  This psalm is a reflection of David in this sudden whirlwind of events that lead him to the throne.  Did he become prideful that he was now king?  No, instead, he was humbled.  This psalm is not David’s resume.  He didn’t list his credentials and make the people sing about them.  David rather focused on his humble beginnings and the lack of study in kingly matters.  He was a quiet child and teenager that didn’t try to act arrogant.  Now he was king and he didn’t want his attitude to change so in humble admission of his lack he wanted Israel to know they should trust in the Lord more than him.

What we find in our own discipleship (going up the mountain towards God with Christ), that we lack the ability in ourselves.  The spiritual formation of the believer is the work of God in us as one commentator put it, “The disciplined life was not a natural endowment” (Paschall, 1972).  We can plant and water but it is God that gives the increase.  When we begin to think highly of our own achievements we become prideful and after that there will be a fall.  We must continually humble ourselves before God and seek to lift Him up as our only source of strength.

References

Paschall, F. H., & Hobbs, H. H. (Eds.). (1972). The teacher’s Bible commentary. Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers.