Tuesday, October 16, 2007

"Lord, my heart is not haughty . . ." (Psalm131)

A Song of Ascents. Of David.

Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor my eyes lofty.
Neither do I concern myself with great matters,
Nor with things too profound for me.

Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul,
Like a weaned child with his mother.
Like a weaned child is my soul within me.

O Israel, hope in the Lord, from this time forth and forever.

- Psalm 131

How can we boast that our hearts are not haughty or our eyes lofty, without being haughty?

Well, we can't of course. It turns out here that the needed humility must include realizing that we don't have it in ourselves to humble ourselves. The last word here is, "Hope in the Lord." Most immediately, that means to hope in the Lord to free our hearts from the bewitchment of reaching beyond our proper measure, to calm and quiet ourselves as his wisdom calms and quiets us.

I've seen lurking under the high-mindedness to be avoided here the fear of being insignificant and blown off by the world if I don't concern myself in great matters or in things too profound for me. I'm finally starting to see that I don't have to sweat that. What counts is if God approves and takes me seriously - as John the apostle says, if Truth approves me. So long as the world is dissing the God of truth, it's my shame if the world doesn't do me the same way, at least sometimes.

Am I known by the God of truth, or do I hide myself from him? Do I honor and approve the truth, so that Truth may honor me? That's really all that matters, all the humility that God calls for.

If I really calm and quiet my soul as written here, it is a kind of death. That's why I've run from it so many years. But to those who do that, God can reveal the mysteries of his kingdom, even himself. These are for sure great matters, and far too profound for me - but revealed by God instead of grasped at by me, they're OK and don't poison me.

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