Psalm 131- Oh 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. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with it’s mother; liked a weaned child with its mother is my soul within me. Oh Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore.
Pride is a beast; A beast that rears it’s ugly head and desires to exalt “self” above everyone else…including God. Maybe this statement strikes some as a bit extreme, but I think it’s fair and pretty well attested to from the scriptures. James 4:6 says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble”. What a fearful thing it is to be opposed by God Almighty Himself. That’s one battle no man can win! God opposes pride precisely because it is a sinful desire to exalt “self”.
In Psalm 131, we are given a tiny but powerful glimpse into what a life removed from this sort of arrogance and pride looks like. David here shows us a picture of humility and godly contentment.
Oh LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high- David is affirming to God himself that he is not proud…he‘s not full of himself, AND that he has not exalted himself so as to look down on other people. A big part of what it means to be proud is to be full of oneself and to have feelings of superiority over other people. These things run counter to what the scriptures describe as the kind of character that pleases the LORD. We are to “Put on…as God’s chosen one’s, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience” Colossians 3:12.
Instead of looking down on others we should, “do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves“. Philippians 2:3. David, by God’s grace is able to display such godly qualities.
Next he says, “I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me”. I believe what he has in view here when he speaks of “things too great and marvelous for me” is sinful ambition. People often get filled with the kind of ambition that leads them to be discontent with what the LORD has given them and drives them to figuratively kick God to the curb in an attempt to pursue whatever it is that they desire.
We live in a world that says WHATEVER THE COST (what ever you have to do or say….whoever you have to step on or deceive or worse) YOU GET YOURS! This is a decidedly ungodly attitude. Pastor/ Author James Montgomery Boice had this to say concerning ambition and the culture in which we live:
“If we are to be true Christians in this area, we must learn to stand against the distorted values of our culture, knowing that character is more important than career, godliness more important than success, and helping others more important than amassing great wealth.”
In order to avoid the pitfalls of pride and sinful ambition we have to learn to rest in the LORD and His provision for us. David closes this Psalm by likening his soul to “ a weaned child with it’s mother”. He learned to humble himself and to be content with the LORD’s ability to meet his needs. Folks, instead of exalting ourselves let’s have soul’s that are like weaned children. Let’s heed Peter’s words in 1 Peter 5:6:
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.”