Read Psalm 131
A song of ascents. Of David.
1 My heart is not proud, Lord,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
2 But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.
3 Israel, put your hope in the Lord
both now and forevermore.
Psalms 120-134 are known as the “Psalms of Ascent” or “Pilgrim Songs.” Every year as the Jews traveled uphill towards the city of Jerusalem to participate in one of the three Jewish festivals, these are the songs they would sing. They became a staple of the pilgrimage to Jerusalem back then and now they serve as a helpful template for us as we worship today.
As another psalm of Ascent, Psalm 131 prepares us for worship. Before we approach coming into God’s presence, whether to seek out His voice in prayer, sing His praise, or study His Word, it is of utmost importance that we do some self-inspection of our own motives and mindset. Psalm 131 gives us an example of how to prepare our hearts when coming into the Lord’s presence. The author of the psalm is voicing that their mindset should be grounded in humility, which can be defined as a low view of one’s own importance (Oxford).
God’s Word consistently points to the posture of humility. “To the humble, He gives favor” (Proverbs 3:34). “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:12). With how often it is quoted in the Bible, it becomes clear that humility is a crucial part of our walk as a Christian, especially when we see it embedded in the character of Jesus. The word humility is nearly synonymous with our Savior as He took on the ultimate form of humility when “being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:8). Adopting the mindset of our Savior will assist us in understanding His Word and allow Him to better speak into our lives. When we approach God with humility, we stand to gain so much more from our encounters with Him.
Humility helps us recognize the wide chasm of sin and imperfection that separates us from our Lord, and it reminds us how desperately we need Him! From this perspective, our time with our Lord feels so much more precious, His truth appears much more life-giving and His promises are revealed to be so much more wonderful!
Realizing “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and speaking the truth of Psalm 131 will help us with humility. It’s only after we have spoken these truths into our own souls that our pride and self-sufficiency can shrink so that there is a proper space for God. Only then can God speak into the void, like He did in the beginning of creation, with His clear message, “you are Mine” and “you are loved!”
- What do you do to prepare your mind and heart when approaching God?
- What aspects of the character of God make you stand in awe of Him? Try to remind yourself of this as you meet with Him today.
- Are there times when you might think of yourself too highly? If not, maybe discuss with a Life Group member or other Christ follower how they feel they are tempted to think too much of themselves, and seek out if this is true for you as well.
“Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call ‘humble’ nowadays: he will not be a sort of greasy, smarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody. Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him. If you do dislike him it will be because you feel a little envious of anyone who seems to enjoy life so easily. He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all.”
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
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