Psalm 131 - 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.
The disciples asked Jesus a question that was of great interest to them, a subject about which they often argued among themselves: "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" (Matthew 18:1b) It was a topic that Jesus had discussed with His disciples on more than one occasion. This time the Lord presented His lesson in a different way. He called a child to Himself and told His self-important followers, "Truly I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3-4).
We do not know the disciples' response to the lesson. Since, on the night Jesus was betrayed, they would once again argue among themselves as to which of them was the greatest, they likely had not yet fully grasped the concept of humility (and, if we are honest, we must admit that it is a difficult concept for all of us). We do not know what the child thought of the lesson, but Psalm 131 could be that child's prayer because it is the prayer of every humble child of God. It is not a request (or a demand!) for greatness, but a prayer of contentment and peace.
We may be tempted at times to reach too high as we try to see beyond the veil of majesty that hides our Heavenly Father's wisdom from our human reason. So in repentant humility we pray, "My eyes are not raised too high." Knowing that God's ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts, we do not concern ourselves with "things too great and marvelous" for our limited understanding.
This psalm for God's children is a humble prayer of trust in our Father. Our wisdom, and all of the world's wisdom, fails and falls before Christ crucified, who is "the power of God and the wisdom of God" (1 Corinthians 1:24b). To save us, God chose to act in the weakness and humility of a baby in a manger, in an innocent victim nailed to a cross. In humble trust, we acknowledge His wisdom, the profound wisdom of our salvation, wisdom that the world deems foolish. By faith we know better. We repent of our foolish attempts to seek greatness in the Kingdom. In humble trust we rest in the forgiveness and loving care of our Heavenly Father and, in so doing, our souls are calmed and quieted.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, forgive us when we reach too high and try to judge Your will according to our human reason. Teach us to humbly trust Your wisdom in all things. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
1. Does your idea of self-importance ever get in the way of your service to others?
2. Do you purposefully seek out quiet times to be with God in thought or meditation?
3. How do you explain to others the unique way that God has chosen to save us?
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