“Lord, my heart is not proud;
my eyes are not haughty.
I don’t concern myself with matters
too great or too awesome for me to grasp.”
Psalms 131:1 NLT
David is back in the writer’s chair. Scratching away with a quill pen on parchment or something similar – no ancient keyboards available. His thoughts for this Psalm have turned to humility. A quality much respected by God – we read in James 4:6, “And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”” In this Psalm, David declares that he is not proud, and neither is he arrogant. These are both qualities that are accepted, if not respected, in our worldly societies today but are anathema to the Kingdom of God. David continues by saying that he doesn’t get involved in matters that don’t concern him, or that he knows nothing about. As we delve down into the substance of this verse, perhaps there are uncomfortable feelings starting to emerge deep within us. When have we been found guilty of being too proud to ask for, or accept, help? Even when we desperately needed it? When have we looked down on others, thinking that we are so much better than them? And in our societies, everyone has an opinion. We pontificate on just about every subject that comes into our minds.
“I can run the country better than our politicians”.
“The Covid emergency would be nowhere near as bad if the public health authorities listened to me”.
“The boss doesn’t have a clue about the best way to make widgets”.
The list of our arrogant declarations knows no bounds.
David continues in this Psalm by sharing what works for him – he told himself to “calm down”. The analogy with a weaned child is interesting – perhaps a child leaving behind their need for a mother’s milk is like us leaving behind our dependence on others for our spiritual sustenance, instead encouraging us to work out for ourselves our relationship with God and His Word, feeding our souls with the richness of God’s food. And in His Word we will find what God really thinks of pride and arrogance.
Paul wrote these words in his Roman epistle, “Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.” (Romans 12:3 NLT). Hmmm…
So to our inevitable question – how does this Psalm help the 21st Century Pilgrim? By encouraging us to look to Jesus. Back to Paul again. He wrote to the Philippian church (2:5) – “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” If we follow Jesus and His example of how to live, we can’t go wrong. So we pray, “Please help me, Lord!”