Psalm 131 is three short verses that begins with having the psalmist’s heart where it belongs:
- “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”
This isn’t merely a cry of desperation. Things may not be going well at all and it’s hard to get your heart uplifted and to keep you eyes on God. The writer does begin by acknowledging the Lord who is the only true source of comfort and peace. When things are tough, we need to run to Him and keep our eyes fixed on His goodness and love.
In the Old Testament, the metaphor of the lifted heart describes haughtiness or pride. Psalm 131 is another of the songs of Ascent and it’s purpose is to keep people grounded and focused on their place in God’s Kingdom. As pilgrims walked toward Jerusalem, the physical “ascent” requires a spiritual evenness: a heart not lifted up, eyes not raised too high. So while there may be some rough spots in the authors life, there also is a realization that God is in control and we need to keep our eyes on Him, not ourselves. He alone is worthy of being lifted up.
The psalmist uses another metaphor in this chapter as he describes his calm and quiet soul “like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me”. He doesn’t use a nursing child in this description, but a weaned child which insinuates a child that has grown up some and has experienced things in the world. In the midst of what happens in the world, a child may certainly return to his mother, and is what we should do when we face things that are overwhelming or when we feel a need for protection. We should run to God.
We should assume that the psalmist has experienced God’s hope alongside the world’s cruelties. He’s lived life and experienced the good and bad. He can focus on the negative, or choose a positive attitude. His anxiety is overcome, and he is free to encourage all of us to put our hope and trust in God because He is faithful and worthy of our praise. He makes it clear that we should hope in the Lord forever.