Be Still . . . No really, slow down

Take a minute to read Psalm 131. It’s short, but it’s a beauty!

A Song of Ascents. Of David.

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.

But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.

O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore (New International Version).

I find that a Psalm like this one flows against almost every fiber of my being. It reads almost like a commentary on Psalm 46:10, explaining the command to “be still and know that I am God…”

The first two phrases (my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high) refer to recognizing and rooting out pride in our life. It is entirely impossible for the proud heart to be still before God. The proud man insists on his own way and approaches God on his own terms. That simply will not do. The Bible says over and over that God despises and rejects the proud but will impart grace to those who are broken and humble. Feel distant from God right now? It’s possible that there’s some pride to deal with.

The next statement (I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me) is not a prohibition to think! This psalm is not giving us permission to avoid reflecting on the deep wonders of God’s character or creation. That’s the exact opposite of what most psalms are saying! Remember, it is likely that this is a psalm of King David. Do you think there was  a lot of stuff which weighed upon his mind? Heavy duty, serious, important decisions? You betcha! Day in and day out this man had the entire nation weighing on his mind. Do you think that ever impeded his ability to “be still” and quietly worship and reflect upon his God? Right again! I believe that David, by God’s grace, is consciously setting aside the busy day and serious matters of the state to be alone with his heavenly Father. He has “calmed and quieted his soul” just like a newborn baby who has just finished nursing lies sleepily content in his mother’s arms.

He finishes the psalm by reminding us to place our hope in the Lord. Reflect on the promises he has made to you in his Word. Trust God and ask him to remove distractions so that you can take time to be with him so that you can be still and know that he is God.

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