The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Psalm 131

Psa 131:1


Psa 131: It requires little imagination to see in this short and touching psalm a cameo of our Savior's life. From an out-of-the-way stable in Bethlehem to a criminal's cross outside the walls of Jerusalem, his every moment was a living testament to meekness and humility. The child born to kingship obediently submitted himself to poor parents and grew to maturity in the most lowly of surroundings. The tools of a common tradesman were his, this young man who listened to the voice of God. And afterward, when God in His own good time called His Son to service, his ears like the Father's were attuned to the cries of the weak and the suffering: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls" (Mat 11:28,29).

Childlike faith was his sure possession; he often found pleasant respite in the eager enthusiasm and simple trust of children (Mat 18:1-4). They came to him and he taught them; his word was simple and pure. The lilies of the field, the beasts and fowls, the seed and the sower, the fishermen at their toil, were all arrayed as exhortations to childlike faith and dependence upon the Heavenly Father, and the "children" (whether six or sixty) understood. They gathered round him and found a new purpose in life. Surely the words of Jeremiah were written for this man: "The Lord is my portion... therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth" (Lam 3:24-27).

MY HEART IS NOT PROUD: Once pride enters the heart, and is cherished there, it eventually finds expression in proud looks, which the Lord hates (Pro 6:17; 21:4; Psa 18:27; 101:5). This humility was the quality of character exhibited by David when the ark was brought to Zion. The king of all Israel cast off his royal outer garments and danced joyfully before the procession, as a slave would dance in the presence of his master. This provoked contempt from the haughty Michal, daughter of a king (Saul) as well as wife of another king. Born to power and position, she at least knew how a king should act; this spectacle was abominable in her sight, and she told David so. His reply was quick and uncompromising to her pride: "I have danced before the Lord, not before men. The Lord chose me above your father and all his house for this very attitude. And I will continue to make myself contemptible, and I will be abased in mine own eyes" (2Sa 6:21,22). David's humility exhibited when the ark was brought to Zion (2Sa 6; esp vv 21,22).

(HEZEKIAH) Confronted with the taunts of Rabshakeh... Isa 37:1.

(NT) "Come unto me... I am meek and lowly in heart" (Mat 11:28,29). "Not as I will, but as thou wilt" (Mat 26:39).

I DO NOT CONCERN MYSELF WITH GREAT MATTERS: The early life of David illustrates this peaceful acceptance of God's will time after time. While his brothers sought the excitement and possible glory of battle, David remained behind to tend his father's sheep. The dangers from wild beasts were just as great (1Sa 17:34-36), but the temporal rewards were non-existent. Anointed by Samuel as king of Israel, David spent years as a fugitive, declining several opportunities to slay Saul and grasp the kingdom that was rightfully his, for he knew that God would elevate him at the proper time. Even as an aged king, burdened by the effect of his sins, he did not abandon his trust in God. When cursed by Shimei he "turned the other cheek" (2Sa 16:11,12).

(NT) Christ's refusal to become a political Messiah (Joh 6:15; 18:36).

Psa 131:2

Calmness and faith in the protection of God. RSV: "Like a child quieted at its mother's breast..." The nursing child: who has found his heart's desire, who can comprehend no greater joy than the nourishment at hand, and need look no further for complete satisfaction.

Psa 131:3

The experiences of the individual are, by God's revelation, used to enlighten the multitude. "God resists the proud, but gives grace unto the humble" (Pro 3:34; Jam 4:6,7,10; cp 1Pe 5:5,6).

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