Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Life Which Comes From God

In a review of our study of the Psalms of Ascents, the psalm laments the persecution he faces from others in Psalm 129. In Psalm 130, he speaks to the conflict which comes from inside himself. In the next psalm, Psalm 131, the psalmist praises God for the life which God gives him.

Read Psalm 131 (NASB, NIV, KJV)

Here is my outline for this little psalm (the outline is bigger than the entire psalm):

The Life which Comes from God
(the title could use some work)
The life which comes from God produces...

I. Humility (1)
          A. Pride undervalues others (1a)
          B. Pride overvalues oneself (1b)
This is opposite of Jesus' teaching

II. Contentment (2)
          A. Freedom from spiritual unrest (2a)
          B. Freedom from spiritual dissatisfaction (2b)

III. Hope (3)
          A. Place of hope (3a)
          B. Permanence of hope (3b)

In this pithy psalm, the author brings up three characteristics which he brings up in his conversation with God. He first brings up Humility. He verse one, he says his eyes are not haughty. This is the idea of being better than another; looking down on others. The point in the outline is the negative statement about this: Pride undervalues others. It could just as easily been said: Humility is not looking down at others, or something like that. He finishes the first verse by saying that he does not concern himself with things too wonderful for him. This does not mean that the psalmist does not think about great things. We are called to love the Lord with all we have, including our mind. What the psalmist is referring to here is the issue of trying to run things as only God could. It is stated negatively again in the outline: Pride overvalues oneself. With these two points, pride is nailed down. Pride is thinking less of others than one should and it is think more about oneself than one should. The psalmist is thanking God that God has brought humility into his life.

Second, the psalmist thanks God for the contentment he feels. The image is great but must be understood how the psalmist meant the image to be seen. It is a weaned child with his mother. An "un-weaned" child goes to his mother for a reason. He wants something. Specifically, he wants to be fed. However, a weaned child no longer feeds from the mother and comes to the mother for love and comfort. This image is the image of contentment within the soul. The author first states that he has quieted his soul, which means he is free from spiritual unrest. Then he uses the image of the mother and child to amplify the concept of contentment to show that the psalmist is satisfied with his relationship with God. His life with God has rid of him the spiritual unrest and dissatisfaction this world brings. He is now truly content with God.

Finally, the psalmist thanks God for the hope God brings him. Encouraging the people of God to join him, he confesses that God is the one place in which he can place his hope, for God does not change and God's promises will come to be. Then he praises God for the permanence of this hope: both now and forevermore.

The life which God gives us through Jesus Christ brings humility, contentment, and hope. Are you in need of these today? Ask Christ into your life today, renew your relationship with him, and they will be yours.

I have been trying to end the Psalms of Ascents with a song sung in today's church which communicates the same message as the psalm. I thought of "The Solid Rock." You can hear humility (dependence upon God), contentment, and hope in these verses. Click Here to listen.

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus' name.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the vale.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand.

His oath, His covenant, His blood support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my Hope and Stay.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand.

When He shall come with trumpet sound, oh, may I then in Him be found;
Dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand.


Mark said...

Good job! "King of Glory" by Third Day would also be a good connection to this psalm. And I like the use of "pithy."