Childlike Trust in the Lord
by Shawn McEvoy, crosswalk.com
O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty;
Nor do I involve myself in great matters, or in things too difficult for me.
Surely I have composed and quieted my soul;
Like a weaned child rests against his mother,
My soul is like a weaned child within me.
Psalm 131:1-2, NAS
This song, like many of the Psalms, was written by David – the man who would be Israel’s greatest king. Is David who comes to mind when you think of someone “not involved in great matters” (kingdom conflicts, maybe)? Or unbothered by “things too difficult” (slaying a giant, anyone)? No, to me, this doesn’t really sound like David. Doesn’t really sound like me most of the time either.
Let’s take a quick look at three things that stand out about this little Psalm:
1) Attitude. David’s “heart” – his inner being, his spirit, is not proud… of things he’s done, of where he’s been and where he’s going… but neither is he beating himself up. He is just… content.
2) Appetite. David’s “eyes” – his senses – are not haughty. He’s not seeking to please them. He doesn’t have the look of arrogance. He knows Whose he is, and that his needs are met not of himself. He is not restless to feed like an infant, he is not stalking around asking to eat out of boredom like my 2-year-old.
3) Aptitude. David places the responsibility for this peaceful state upon himself. Not circumstances, not achievements, not even on God. “Surely I have quieted my soul,” he says.
Taken all together, this shows us what trust looks like, and helps us understand why trusting God brings such soothing peace. Jesus said we must have faith like children to come to Him. Apparently, trust is also best exemplified in little ones.
David’s “talk” is of not being proud; his “walk” then backs it up by what he “involves” (or doesn’t involve) himself in. This doesn’t mean God hasn’t given him – or you – important stuff to get done, just that David has “declared himself free from excessive ambition” (Ryrie study notes).
To sing not of self, to seek not to fill the senses, to seek the will only to be quiet before God – that is trust. A “weaned child” knows instinctively where to find trust. By extension, and through the example of “the man after God’s own heart,” so do we.
Intersecting Faith & Life: “Involve” yourself in a small, humble matter today – perhaps a child’s squabble, creating a meal, or going for a walk – and see if you can compose your soul.
Streams in the Desert – October 12
- 202112 Oct
Joseph’s master took him and threw him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined. So he was there in the prison. But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him kindness. He granted him favor in the sight of the prison warden. The warden put all the prisoners under Joseph’s care. He was in charge of whatever they were doing. The warden did not concern himself with anything that was in Joseph’s care because the Lord was with him and whatever he was doing the Lord was making successful. (Gen 39:20-23)
When God lets us go to prison because we have been serving Him, and goes there with us, prison is about the most blessed place in the world that we could be in. Joseph seems to have known that. He did not sulk and grow discouraged and rebellious because “everything was against him.” If he had, the prison-keeper would never have trusted him so. Joseph does not even seem to have pitied himself.
Let us remember that if self-pity is allowed to set in, that is the end of us—until it is cast utterly from us. Joseph just turned over everything in joyous trust to God, and so the keeper of the prison turned over everything to Joseph. Lord Jesus, when the prison doors close in on me, keep me trusting, and keep my joy full and abounding. Prosper Thy work through me in prison: even there, make me free indeed.
A little bird I am,
Shut from the fields of air,
And in my cage I sit and sing
To Him who placed me there;
Well pleased a prisoner to be,
Because, my God, it pleaseth Thee.
Psalms 51:4-6 4Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. 5Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. 6Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.
When the prophet Nathan exposed King David’s sin with a parable, David wrote this psalm of repentance. He realized that though he had sinned against Bathsheba’s husband and the people of Israel, ultimately his sin was against God who had trusted him with position and authority. All sin is ultimately a sin against God who alone is the standard of righteousness. We sin against His goodness and grace. We sin against His mercy and love. Whenever His sentence is against us, He is perfectly justified in pronouncing it.
David declared that he was sinful from the time he was born. Unlike modern philosophy, David knew sin was in his very nature, inherited from Adam. Even from conception, rebellion against God was the driving force of his character. We want to believe that children are born innocent, but you never have to teach them to be selfish and rebellious. It is in their nature, as it is in ours. We need a Redeemer. We need a Deliverer.
It is God who teaches us truth in our minds and spirits. He shows us what is evil and cuts through all our justifications. His Spirit is the One who imparts wisdom. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. To recognize that God is just and will deal with sin, the inherited sin nature, and the sinful acts we yield to, gives us a healthy fear of God. Wisdom teaches us to come to God for cleansing for our actions and for who we are by nature. We are sinful from birth. Only God can change our nature. Are you a new creation in Christ Jesus? Have you accepted His sacrifice for who you are and for what you do?
Remember: The only appropriate response to such generosity is to make Him your Lord and God.
Fulfillment of the Law
Scripture Reading — Matthew 5:17-20
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. . . .” — Matthew 5:17-20
Imagine that you were living in the first century and Jesus had just come to your village. If you heard Jesus claim to be “one with the Father,” or if you heard him challenge the religious leaders, how do you think you would have reacted?
Would you be interested—or perhaps even excited—by Jesus’ teachings? Would you be delighted to see the Pharisees (the religious leaders) put in their place?
Or would you have been skeptical of this stranger who claimed to speak for God?
As Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount, he understood that he was speaking to a mixed crowd. Many of the people in the crowd were Jewish, while some came from other cultures and traditions.
In this passage Jesus shows that he wanted everyone to understand his right to teach and to gather followers as the promised Messiah.
The entire Old Testament story, from Genesis to the Ten Commandments, and from the time of the kings to the exile and beyond, pointed to the Messiah who would come to restore God’s people and God’s world. Jesus had come to bring life as it was always meant to be lived in relationship with God.
Today we still have to decide if Jesus can be trusted to bring us the words of life. Has he come in fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets? Or does he merely speak for himself?
Father, help me to trust in Jesus as your Son, the Messiah. Give me the courage to trust and obey, wherever he leads. Amen.