Saturday, October 19, 2013

Bible Musings (Psalm 131)

This afternoon I had the privilege of delivering a devotional thought for a baby shower for a young friend at our church. As I prayed about what passage of Scripture to focus on for the devotional, God brought me to Psalm 131. This is a Psalm that I've memorized and counseled my own head with many, many times over the past few years.

Psalm 131:1-3
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.

I leaned on an article written by Nancy Wilson as I prepared the devotional thoughts for the shower.  I first discovered this article when listening to Revive Our Hearts in a teaching series on Psalm 131. Nancy Wilson did a great job expounding on the concepts of this Psalm, particularly the idea of a weaned child. I've included the meat of the article here for your consideration.

"We are accustomed to think that we have little control over the state of our souls. We observe the condition of our souls as though we are spectators, much as we might view the weather, thankful for the days that are not troublesome or disruptive to us, and hoping the turbulent days will pass quickly. But this psalm has a very different perspective. The psalmist has taken the initiative to quiet his own soul. He does not simply say, "I am having a difficult day." He has not looked to someone else to calm his soul. He has calmed and quieted his soul himself, and he compares his soul to a weaned child. What is a weaned child like? A weaned child is able to eat food other than milk. He is past the stage of fussing and crying for milk. He is no longer whining and complaining, and he is able to be with his mother without fretting for the breast or the bottle. How can our soul be compared to such a weaned child with his mother? This kind of weaned soul is the gentle, quiet soul described in 1 Peter 3:4. It is internal and hidden. It is incorruptible. It is very precious to God. A weaned soul is a soul that is comfortable and gracious, quiet and peaceful. It can rest in God's arms without fretting, worrying, struggling, or wanting. It is a soul that has been chastened and disciplined into quietness. Do you have a weaned soul? Have you learned to calm and quiet your own soul, or is your soul still unruly and demanding attention? Must everyone stop what they are doing to calm your soul for you? Are you more like the weaning child, whining and miserable, than the child who is weaned? A weaned child is moving on to maturity. A weaning child is still in its infancy and is still very dependent on milk. Which describes you? When your soul is troubled and disturbed, you must learn to calm and quiet it. Many things in this life can disrupt our peace and joy. As Christian women we must learn to take the initiative in this, and quiet and calm our souls. Is your soul inclined to panic and struggle at the first opportunity, or have you disciplined your soul to incline to rest and peace? Weaning is a gradual process. Mother begins to taper off the milk until the child no longer needs it. The child looks past the milk and is secure in mother herself. Little by little the child becomes able to go without, and eventually, one day is completely weaned. This is the way we must approach our souls. We must learn to say no to ungodly passions that well up within us (Titus 2:12). We must learn to identify the things that disquiet us. We must learn to speak to our soul comforting and calming words and direct our vision to Christ alone. This is a process that is linked very much to our sanctification. We are growing to become mature in Him. We must begin by disciplining our souls when they are discontented, frustrated, demanding attention, or troubled in any way. We must take responsibility for the state of our soul and have the goal in mind to wean our souls. Consider these examples. You may wake in the night and begin to worry about something. Meditate on this verse. Is your soul fussing like an unhappy baby? Perhaps your husband is traveling and you're worried about being alone. Can you calm your soul by reminding yourself of the truths of Scripture and the faithfulness of God? Surely, David had many trials and troubles, yet he was able to quiet his soul. Let your soul find comfort in God rather than in all His external benefits. Consider times of testing as opportunities for you to wean your soul. And be thankful. Feed upon God's promises, and don't whine for what He has not given you. Once we understand this concept, we will identify our own unweaned behavior, and it will shame us to recognize our own status as unweaned children. But then we can begin in humbled fashion to calm and quiet our souls and wean them from the cares and worries that so easily distract us. Then we can join with the Psalmist in saying, "Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, Like a weaned child with his mother; Like a weaned child is my soul within me."

Something to ponder today.

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