Keeping a Quiet Humble Heart Songs of Ascent: Practices of the Lifelong Journey Series  Psalm 131
Psalm 131 [ESV] A Song of Ascents. Of David 1 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. 2 But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. 3 O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore.
HUMILITY: A SECRET GATEWAY TO REST & CONTENTMENT Humility is the obverse side of confidence in God, whereas pride is the obverse side of confidence in self. John Baillie
HUMILITY: A SECRET GATEWAY TO REST & CONTENTMENT Pride is the obverse side of confidence in self. Pride is the default mode of a depraved human heart. Pride is promoted by the worldly values as a desirable quality, such as “ambition”. In the end, pride brings restlessness & discontentment. Humility is the obverse side of confidence in God. Humility is a result of experiencing God’s righteousness & grace (Psalms 129 & 130). Humility is a primary self-description of Jesus on himself: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” - Matthew 11:29 In the end, humility brings rest & contentment.
HUMILITY: A SECRET GATEWAY TO REST & CONTENTMENT Psalm 131 is a confession of a seasoned pilgrim [David] who has learned to keep a quiet humble heart in his spiritual pilgrimage to God.
THREE THINGS WE MUST DO TO KEEP A QUIET HUMBLE HEART 1)We must choose to humble ourselves BEFORE GOD. 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. (v.1)
THREE THINGS WE MUST DO TO KEEP A QUIET HUMBLE HEART 1)We must choose to humble ourselves BEFORE GOD. Humility begins in heart—our eyes and behaviors are reflections of our hearts (pride is the unattended condition of our hearts). Our hearts must be checked before God; otherwise, our humility is prone to be ostentatious (vs. self-forgetful). True humility is NOT weak, faint-hearted, timid, fatalistic nor cynical—i.e., a genuinely humble person takes risks and aspires to impact the world for God’s glory. Unruly ambition is aspiration tainted by pride.
Anti-Psalm 131 Self, my heart is proud (I’m absorbed in myself), and my eyes are haughty (I look down on other people), and I chase after things too great and too difficult for me. So of course I’m noisy and restless inside; it comes naturally, like a hungry infant fussing on his mother’s lap, like a hungry infant, I’m restless with my demands and worries. I scatter my hopes onto anything and everybody all the time. David Powlison
THREE THINGS WE MUST DO TO KEEP A QUIET HUMBLE HEART 2)We must trust and submit to God’s weaning process for our maturity. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. (v.2)
THREE THINGS WE MUST DO TO KEEP A QUIET HUMBLE HEART 2)We must trust and submit to God’s weaning process for our maturity. The psalmist learned the secret of rest and contentment. How? Through humility, he has calmed his heart and quieted his ambitions. But his humility has been a work of God as well—he had been weaned by God. Weaning starts with disappointment but ends with contentment. What is the child being weaned from? Not from the mother but on mother—but from the comfort of milk for solid/better food. So, when God takes something from us, it weans us from the world & self so we can seek God himself.
Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side. Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain. Leave to thy God to order and provide; In every change, He faithful will remain. Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end. Katharina von Schlegel (1752)
THREE THINGS WE MUST DO TO KEEP A QUIET HUMBLE HEART 3)We must wait restfully and hope in the LORD. O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore. (v.3)
THREE THINGS WE MUST DO TO KEEP A QUIET HUMBLE HEART 3)We must wait restfully and hope in the LORD. The result of humility is the freedom from self-absorption which leads us to genuine concern for others. We ought to—and will want to, if we experience this sweet freedom—share our “secret” of rest and contentment with our fellow-strugglers. The learned-lesson of the weaning process is to wait restfully for a deeper satisfaction—to hope in God himself. When to hope in God? It begins now & lasts forevermore!
There Is Another Way! The experts in our society who offer to help us have a kind of general-staff mentality from which massive, top-down solutions are issued to solve our problems. Then when the solutions don’t work, we get mired in the nothing-can-be-done swamp. We are first incited into being grandiose and then into intimidated into being infantile. But there is another way, the plain way of quiet Christian humility. We need pruning. Cut back to our roots, we learn this psalm and discover the quietness of the weaned child, the tranquility of maturing trust. It is such a minute psalm that many have overlooked it, but for all its brevity and lack of pretence, it is essential. For every Christian encounters problems of growth and development. - Eugene Peterson
PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS FOR OUR EVERYDAY LIFE 1.Humble yourself BEFORE GOD. Deal with the pride and unruly ambitions in your heart. Choose humility by dying to self. Live before God—give up all motives to impress people. 2.Trust and accept GOD’S WEANING PROCESS by quieting your soul. Expect momentary discomfort, disappointment, and irritation as growing pains. Learn to calm your heart and quiet your unruly ambitions. Wait, rest, and put your hope in God… now!
Praying the Songs of Ascent #12 — Psalm 131 [MSG] A Pilgrim Song 1 God, I'm not trying to rule the roost, I don't want to be king of the mountain. I haven't meddled where I have no business or fantasized grandiose plans. 2 I've kept my feet on the ground, I've cultivated a quiet heart. Like a baby content in its mother's arms, my soul is a baby content. 3 Wait, Israel, for God. Wait with hope. Hope now; hope always!