(The following texts highlighted in this color of blue is taken from

The Treasury of David by Charles Haddon Spurgeon)  "Excerpted text Copyright

AGES Library, LLC. All rights reserved.  Materials are reproduced by permission."

(I am both sorry and happy to say that as a child at Oak Hill Baptist Church in

Somerset, Kentucky, that our teacher, Ward Correll, would ask in Sunday School

each Sunday, “How many chapters of the Bible have you read this week?”  I

would often read this and other songs of degrees [the short ones] just to run

up the count.  I am sorry because that was in the wrong spirit, but I am happy,

because even with the wrong motive, I still remember the teachings of these

psalms and have profited thereby.  The Word of the Lord “will not return unto

Him void shall accomplish” that wherein He sent it! – {Isaiah 55:11} – CY – 2010)

 

                                                            Psalm 131

 

Title. A Song of Degrees of David. It is both by David and of David: he is the author

and the subject of it, and many incidents of his life may be employed to illustrate it.

Comparing all the Psalms to gems, we should liken this to a pearl: how beautifully it will

adorn the neck of patience. It is one of the shortest Psalms to read, but one of the

longest to learn. It speaks of a young child, but it contains the experience of a man in Christ.

Lowliness and humility are here seen in connection with a sanctified heart, a will subdued

to the mind of God, and a hope looking to the Lord alone.  Happy is the man who can

without falsehood use these words as his own; for he wears about him the likeness of

his Lord, who said, "I am meek and lowly in heart." (Matthew 11:29)

The Psalm is in advance of all the Songs of Degrees which have preceded it; for loveliness

is one of the highest attainments in the divine life. There are also steps in this Song of Degrees:

it is a short ladder, if we count the words; but yet it rises to a great height, reaching from

deep humility to fixed confidence. Le Blanc thinks that this is a song of the Israelites who

returned from Babylon with, humble hearts, weaned from their idols. At any rate, after

any spiritual captivity let it be the expression of our hearts.

 

 

1 “LORD, my heart is not haughty”. The Psalm deals with the Lord, and is a solitary

colloquy with Him, not a discourse before men. We have a sufficient audience when

we speak with the Lord, and we may say to Him many things which were not proper

for the ears of men. The holy man makes his appeal to Jehovah, who alone knows the heart:

a man should be slow to do this upon any matter, for the Lord is not to be trifled with; and

when anyone ventures on such an appeal he should be sure of his case. He begins with his

heart, for that is the center of our nature, and if pride be there it defiles everything;

just as mire in the spring causes mud in all the streams. It is a grand thing

for a man to know his own heart so as to be able to speak before the Lord about it. It is

beyond all things deceitful and desperately wicked, who can know it? Who can know it

unless taught by the Spirit of God? It is a still greater thing if, upon searching himself

thoroughly, a man can solemnly protest unto the Omniscient One that his heart is not

haughty: that is to say, neither proud in his opinion of himself, contemptuous to others,

nor self righteous before the Lord; neither boastful of the past, proud of the present, nor

ambitious for the future. - “nor mine eyes lofty. What the heart desires the eyes look for.

Where the desires run the glances usually follow. This holy man felt that he did not seek

after elevated places where he might gratify his self esteem, neither did he look down

upon others as being his inferiors. A proud look the Lord hates; (Proverbs 6:17) and

in this all men are agreed with Him; yea, even the proud themselves hate haughtiness in

the gestures of others. Lofty eyes are so generally hateful that haughty men have been

known to avoid the manners natural to the proud in order to escape the ill will of their

fellows. The pride which apes humility always takes care to east its eyes downward,

since every man's consciousness tells him that contemptuous glances are the sure

ensigns of a boastful spirit. In ch.121 David lifted up his eyes to the hills; but here

he declares that they were not lifted up in any other sense. When the heart is right,

and the eyes are right, the whole man is on the road to a healthy and happy condition. Let

us take care that we do not use the language of this Psalm unless, indeed, it be true as

to ourselves; for there is no worse pride than that which claims humility when it does

not possess it. – neither do I exercise myself in great matters” - As a private man

he did not usurp the power of the king or devise plots against him: he minded his own

business, and left others to mind theirs. As a thoughtful man he did not pry into things

unrevealed; he was not speculative, self conceited or opinionated. As a secular person

he did not thrust himself into the priesthood as Saul had done before him, and as

Uzziah did after him. It is well so to exercise ourselves unto godliness that we know

our true sphere, and diligently keep to it. Many through wishing to be great have failed

to be good: they were not content to adorn the lowly stations which the Lord

appointed them, and so they have rushed at grandeur and power, and found

destruction where they looked for honor - “or in things too high for me.” High things

may suit others who are of greater stature, and yet they may be quite unfit for us. A man

does well to know his own size. Ascertaining his own capacity, he will be foolish if he

aims at that which is beyond his reach, straining himself, and thus injuring himself.

Such is the vanity of many men that if a work be within their range they despise it, and

think it beneath them: the only service which they are willing to undertake is that to which

they have never been called, and for which they are by no means qualified. What

a haughty heart must he have who will not serve God at all unless he may be trusted

with five talents at the least! His looks are indeed lofty who disdains to be a light among

his poor friends and neighbors here below, but demands to be created a star of the first

magnitude to shine among the upper ranks, and to be admired by gazing crowds. It is

just on God's part that those who wish to be everything should end in being nothing.

It is a righteous retribution from God when every matter turns out to be too great for

the man who would only handle great matters, and everything proves to be too high

for the man who exercised himself in things too high for him. Lord, make us lowly,

keep us lowly, fix us for ever in lowliness. Help us to be in such a case that the

confession of  this verse may come from our lips as a truthful utterance which we

dare make before the Judge of all the earth.]

 

2  Surely I have behaved and quieted myself,”  The original bears somewhat of the

form of an oath, and therefore our translators exhibited great judgment in introducing

the word "surely"; it is not a literal version, but it correctly gives the meaning. The

Psalmist had been upon his best behavior, and had smoothed down the roughnesses

of his self will; by holy effort he had mastered his own spirit, so that towards God he

was not rebellious, even as towards man he was not haughty. It is no easy thing to

quiet yourself: sooner may a man calm the sea, or rule the wind, or tame a tiger, than

quiet himself. We are clamorous, uneasy, petulant; and nothing but grace can make us

quiet under afflictions, irritations, and disappointments – “as a child that is weaned of

his mother:”  He had become as subdued and content as a child whose weaning is fully

accomplished. The Easterners put off the time of weaning far later than we do, and we may

conclude that the process grows none the easier by being postponed. At last there must be

an end to the suckling period, and then a battle begins: the child is denied his comfort, and

therefore frets and worries, flies into pets, or sinks into sulks. It is facing

its first great sorrow and it is in sore distress. Yet time brings not only alleviations, but the

ending of the conflict; the boy ere long is quite content to find his nourishment at the table

with his brothers, and he feels no lingering wish to return to those dear fountains from

which he once sustained his life. He is no longer angry with his mother, but buries

his head in that very bosom after which he pined so grievously: he is weaned on his

mother rather than from her.

 

                                    "My soul doth like a weanling rest,

                                       I cease to weep;

                                    So mother's lap, though dried her breast,

                                      Can lull to sleep."

 

To the weaned child his mother is his comfort though she has denied him comfort. It

is a blessed mark of growth out of spiritual infancy when we can forego the joys which

once appeared to be essential, and can find our solace in Him who denies them to us:

then we behave manfully, and every childish complaint is hushed. If the Lord removes our

dearest delight we bow to His will without a murmuring thought; in fact, we find a delight in

giving up our delight. This is no spontaneous fruit of nature, but a well tended product of

divine grace: it grows out of humility and lowliness, and it is the stem upon which peace

blooms as a fair flower. -  “my soul is even as a weaned child.”  Or it may be read,

"as a weaned child on me my soul", as if his soul leaned upon him in mute submission,

neither boasting nor complaining. It is not every child of God who arrives at this weaning

speedily. Some are sucklings when they ought to be fathers; others are hard to wean,

and cry, and fight, and rage against their heavenly parent's discipline. When we think

ourselves safely through the weaning, we sadly discover that the old appetites are rather

wounded than slain, and we begin crying again for the breasts which we had given up.

It is easy to begin shouting before we are out of the wood, and no doubt hundreds have

sung this Psalm long before they have understood it. Blessed are those afflictions which

subdue our affections, which wean us from self sufficiency, which educate us into

Christian manliness, which teach us to love God not merely when He comforts us, but

even when He tries us. Well might the sacred poet repeat his figure of the weaned child;

it is worthy of admiration and imitation; it is doubly desirable and difficult of attainment.

Such weaning from self springs from the gentle humility declared in the former verse, and

partly accounts for its existence. If pride is gone, submission will be sure to follow; and,

on the other hand, if pride is to be driven out, self must also be vanquished.

 

3  Let Israel hope in the LORD from henceforth and for ever.”   See how lovingly

a man who is weaned from self thinks of others! David thinks of his people, and loses

himself in his care for Israel. How he prizes the grace of hope! He has given up the

things which are seen, and therefore he values the treasures which are not seen except

by the eyes of hope. There is room for the largest hope when self is gone, ground for

eternal hope when transient things no longer hold the mastery of our spirits. This verse

is the lesson of experience: a man of God who had been taught to renounce the world

and live upon the Lord alone, here exhorts all his friends and companions to do the

same. He found it a blessed thing to live by hope, and therefore he would have

all his kinsmen do the same. Let all the nation hope, let all their hope be in Jehovah,

let them at once begin hoping "from henceforth", and let them continue hoping "for ever."

Weaning takes the child out of a temporary condition into a state in which he will continue

for the rest of his life: to rise above the world is to enter upon a heavenly

existence which can never end. When we cease to hanker for the world we begin

hoping in the Lord. O Lord, as a parent weans a child, so do thou wean me, and

then shall I fix all my hope on thee alone.

 

 

"Excerpted text Copyright AGES Library, LLC. All rights reserved.

Materials are reproduced by permission."

 

This material can be found at:

http://www.adultbibleclass.com