Psalm 131

The Psalms

Psalm 131
Humble, calm and secure!

Psalms index

Psalm 131 (NIV)

1 A song of ascents. Of David.

My heart is not proud, O LORD, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.

2 But I have stilled and quietened my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.

3 O Israel, put your hope in the LORD both now and for evermore.


Psalm 131 – Humble, calm and secure!

(Verse 1) This twelfth of fifteen successive ‘songs of assents’ follows well from Psalm 130. Why? Psalm 130 focuses on the psalmist’s relationship with God, and especially his sense of sinful unworthiness before his holy LORD. He knows he needs God’s mercy. That is why he now claims to God that his ‘heart is not proud’ and his ‘eyes are not haughty.’ To make that claim with no sense of his sinfulness or need for mercy would be extremely proud and show haughtiness which he insists he does not possess! But he says these things because he knows he has nothing to be proud of, or to boast about. Here is a very, different attitude. Only God’s grace can enable us to see that ‘all our righteous acts are as filthy rags’ (Isaiah 64:6) and make the logical argument in Romans 7:14-20 that includes those verses 18-19: ‘I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.’ None of us can repent of sins and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour without seeing our need shamefully to admit that ‘everyone who sins is a slave to sin.’ (John 8:34).

Speaking personally, only as I come humbly like that to Christ, who bore my sins and was punished for them in my place on the cross, can I then freely and gratefully admit that some ‘great matters’ are ‘too wonderful for me’ to grasp. Being forgiven for all my sins and receiving eternal life in Christ are certainly two of the greatest ‘matters’ which always ‘are too wonderful for me.’

(Verse 2) But the sinner who admits his sin and trusts fully in the Lord Jesus Christ, and in His death and resurrection, finds that his soul within him is ‘stilled and quieted.’ God’s peace entered his heart when the risen and living Prince of peace, Jesus, came in through the Holy Spirit. His soul is like a weaned child, who has full confidence in his mother. She once fed him herself but has gradually enabled him to eat solid food and now he feels content. He is at peace. He trusted his mother, and still does. He is happy to be under her care and loving control. A born-again Christian feels like this about the Saviour he trusts.

(Verse 3) This third and final verse points out to Israel then, and to every saved sinner now, that there are two aspects of being saved by God. (We call that ‘salvation.’) We are told to ‘put [our] hope in the LORD both now and for evermore.’ Do you have your ‘hope in the LORD’ right ‘now’? If so, you will find that Jesus saves you now from sin’s dominating power in your life. You can also be legitimately and joyfully sure that you will be saved ‘evermore’ in Heaven, in the presence of your Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. ‘Hope’ in Christ in the Bible does not mean wishful thinking about an uncertain future. It implies a sure and certain knowledge of something yet to be fully realised and experienced in Christ. You can know that you have eternal life right now! 1 John 5:12 says, ‘He who has the Son has life.’ That includes you, if your trust is in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour.