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May 11, 2020

Please read today’s Scriptures and use the comment section on this page to share your insights from today’s reading. You can also just mention a verse that impacted you or post a question!

Read (and Hear) the Bible in One Year
New American Standard Bible for 2020

Text: 2 Chronicles 2-5
Audio: 2 Chronicles 2-5

Psalm 131 (ESV)

A Song of Ascents. Of David.

O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
    my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
    too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
    like a weaned child with its mother;
    like a weaned child is my soul within me.

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


English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

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This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. Humility

    Today's psalm is the third shortest chapter in the Bible. Although it only contains sixty-five words, there are powerful lessons for us to learn. 

    The ESV Study Bible's short overview of this chapter says, "David expresses his deeply felt confidence in the Lord with this simple, clear, yet profound prayer. It voices the trust of a close, personal relationship with God."

    David begins this psalm denouncing three aspects of pride (all in verse 1):

    Pride in his heart (O Lord, my heart is not lifted up)
    Pride in his eyes (My eyes are not raised too high)
    Pride in his actions (I do not occupy myself with things)

    The Bible has a lot to say about pride. Here are just a few references:

    Proverbs 3:34 "Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor."

    Proverbs 8:13 "The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate."

    Proverbs 16:5 "Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished."

    Isaiah 2:12 "For the Lord of hosts has a day against all that is proud and lofty, against all that is lifted up—and it shall be brought low."

    Jeremiah 9:23 "Thus says the Lord: 'Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches.'"

    James offers the following exhortation relating to pride (with a reference to Proverbs 3:34):

    "What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, 'He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us'? 6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.'"

    Only people who are humble before the Lord can receive His grace. It's in humility before God that we become aware of the pride in our hearts, and see our need for God's help dealing with it.

    Jesus says in Matthew 5:3, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." This statement is the opening verse in what is known as the "Sermon on the Mount" which shows the importance of being humble, being "poor in spirit."

    What does it mean to be “poor in spirit" (humble)? Here are a few examples:

    We recognize our need for God
    We come to God empty of all self-worth
    We realize we can’t earn God’s favor by doing good
    We know the only thing we deserve from God is judgment
    We are thankful for the gift of salvation found in Jesus Christ

    The opposite is true of those who are not poor in spirit (proud):

    You don’t need God because you're "better without Him"
    You deserve God’s favor because you're not as bad as others
    You think you can earn God’s favor by doing good
    You think you’re better than others and deserve God’s grace
    You reject Jesus Christ as God’s gift of salvation

    When we are poor in spirit, we empty ourselves of all self-worth before God, and recognize the only thing we bring to God is our need for forgiveness, grace, and mercy. This poverty of spirit gives us an acute awareness of our inability to pay for, earn, or deserve salvation. When we are poor in spirit, we realize the only thing we deserve from God is judgment. Everything we receive from God that is a blessing is a gift born out of His goodness, grace, and mercy – not because we deserve it or have earned it.

    When we repent and put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, we will be forever blessed, and the kingdom of Heaven is ours in Christ! While salvation is a one-time event that transfers someone from death to life, emptying ourselves is a continual process throughout our life in Christ. As we continue to empty ourselves before God, His Lordship reigns in our hearts, and the kingdom of heaven is lived out in us and through us.

    As we are humble before the Lord, He humbles us, allowing us to see more pride in the deep recesses of our hearts that were hidden under the layer of pride He has revealed to us. As we confess that to the Lord, he will sanctify us of our pride and show us more pride under that layer. As God's pride-breaking work continues in us, more pride is revealed which allows us to confess it, repent of it and become more like Christ.

    As we are conformed to the image of Christ, humility replaces the pride in us. Although never perfect in our execution of humility (since that would reveal more pride), we must always be aware of the many ways pride can creep into our lives, and conquer it with God's Word and the convicting, empowering, help of the Holy Spirit.


    ~ Puritan Prayers ~

    "Lenten Prayer for Humility"

    "Humble my heart before thee, and replenish it with thy choicest gifts. As water rests not on barren hill summits, but flows down to fertilize lowest vales, so make me the lowest of the lowly, that my spiritual riches may exceedingly abound. When I leave duties undone, may condemning thought strip me of pride, deepen in me devotion to thy service, and quicken me to more watchful care. When I am tempted to think highly of myself, grant me to see the wily power of my spiritual enemy; Help me to stand with wary eye on the watchtower of faith, and to cling with determined grasp to my humble Lord; If I fall let me hide myself in my Redeemer’s righteousness, and when I escape, may I ascribe all deliverance to thy grace."

    (Excerpt taken from the Puritan Prayer Devotional "Valley of Vision")

  2. Wow, Scott…thank you for taking the time to write that. I can so clearly see the work God is doing in you, and it's a wonderful gift to be able to put it into words for others to learn from and reflect upon.

    This is the section of the psalm that spoke most to my heart this morning: 

    "But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
        like a weaned child with its mother;
        like a weaned child is my soul within me."

    I'm reminded of the intellectual pride I had that kept me from Christ, kept me from God. My desire to not be a fool, to not trust in anything that I couldn't prove, kept me from rest for my soul and instead propelled me to chase after everything but God. I always came up empty at the end, and in need of more.

    It was only when I stopped running from the possibility that Jesus was exactly who the Bible says He is, and actually began to examine the claims of Christ through the study of apologetics, that I slowly came face to face with my need. That need was faith. Apologetics can't supply faith, but for me, it led to my realizing that my spiritual needs required humility before God. All the reasoned arguments and evidence didn't require humility to believe or even teach. But they also left me still apart from a relationship with God flowing from His love, mercy and grace toward me.

    I have a hard time putting these thoughts into words. But once I set aside my foolish pride, and just trusted God, trusted in Christ, and surrendered everything, a calm and peace came over me that has never left. When I am anxious about anything, I remember that He holds everything in the palm of His hand, and that He — Almighty God — loves me with an everlasting love, and all His promises are mine. He has proven Himself to me time and again, that my faith in Him is not foolish at all, but is the source of true wisdom. And it is a gift from God.

    "But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
        like a weaned child with its mother;
        like a weaned child is my soul within me."

    That the wonderful reality of my life now. A life of faith. 

      

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