“A Song of degrees of David. LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.
Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul [is] even as a weaned child.
Let Israel hope in the LORD from henceforth and for ever.” (Psalms 131:1-3)
Although in today’s time, there are many views held concerning indications of genuine spiritual maturity. These can range from possession of a large body of Scriptural knowledge, to many outward displays of “religiosity”, or the performance of many works of charity aiding the poor and downtrodden, to the possession and exercise of many “sign gifts”, the possession of great speaking skills, etc etc etc … the list is endless.
Although man has many ideas about spiritual maturity, within a few short verses we can find three Scriptural indications of spiritual maturity presented in a very clear and concise way. We find these presented in a small, and little studied Psalm, Psalm 131.
In this three part series, by God’s grace, we will see that three outstanding marks of true Scriptural maturity are:
1. A spirit of Godly humility (vs 1)
2. A spirit of contentment and peace (vs 2)
3. A spirit of faith and hope (vs 3)
Let’s begin our study by looking at the title given to this Psalm….
A Song of degrees of David.
What does “song of degrees” refer to? The Psalms 120-134 all carry this title upon them. It is a title that separates these Psalms into a grouping all their own. There are MANY differing ideas concerning the meaning of this title, so I will just share with you my understanding of this title, and ask that you seek out the ideas of others as well.
The word translated “degrees” is a Hebrew word that basically means “to ascend”, “to be high”, “chiefest” or “supreme”. If we notice all of the Psalms given this title, when looked at together, involve fallen man’s absolute need of the Lord for all aspects of living. This points to the Lord as the “chiefest”, “highest”, “supreme” need of all mankind…
1. Psalms 120 – David’s struggles against the sinful powers of the world
2. Psalms 121 – Safety found in the Lord
3. Psalms 122 – Joy in Worship and The Peace from God
4. Psalms 123 – Looking To the Lord for Deliverance
5. Psalms 124 – Praising the Lord for His Protection
6. Psalms 125 – Praying For The Protection Of God’s People
7. Psalms 126 – Praising For Deliverance and Praying For Future Blessings
8. Psalms 127 – The Lord is The Sure Foundation For Salvation and Family
9. Psalms 128 – The Fear of The Lord and His Many Blessings
10. Psalms 129 – The Afflictions Of God’s People and His Curse Upon Them
11. Psalms 130 – Patience Waiting For Forgiveness and Deliverance
12. Psalms 131 – Humility, Contentment and Faith
13. Psalms 132 – God’s Intervention and Blessings UponThe Ark
14. Psalms 133 – Blessing of Unity Among God’s People
15. Psalms 134 – The Need To Praise The Lord.
Most historians believe these Psalms were song by the Israelites as the traveled up to worship in the temple on religious holidays. If this is the case, we can see how these Psalms would be used by God to prepare the people’s heart for worship and adoration of Him. This Psalm helped them to develop humble, peaceful and hopeful attitudes as they prepared to worship Him.
2. Indication of Spiritual Maturity – #2 – Contentment and Peace
David continues His prayer by expressing his contentment and peace that he has gained through Christ…
Surely I have behaved and quieted myself,
“Truly I have, by God’s grace, brought myself under control and ceased from questioning, complaining, and arguing with you.”
David had learned, based upon his faith in the Lord, the important lesson of contentment in every condition of life that he might face…
“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, [therewith] to be content.I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:11-13)
“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and [why] art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him [for] the help of his countenance.” (Psalms 42:5)
as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul [is] even as a weaned child.
David exercised contentment in every area of life because he truly knew he was reliant upon the Lord. He was just like a weaned child that begins to recognize his reliance upon his mother to make his meals and care for him in all areas of his life.
David was like this child who has just had a source of nourishment taken from him, yet still looks to his mother for continued supplies of food. Job had this same type of continuing contentment based upon faith in the Lord when he said….
“And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” (Job 1:21)
“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.” (Job 13:15)
A genuine spirit of contentment and peace involve:
1. exercising God-given self-control over our emotions and fears.
2. based upon our faith in His greatness, bringing an end to complaining, arguing and questioning God concerning life’s difficulties.
3. recognizing our absolute reliance on the Lord in all areas of our lives
4. consistent reliance upon the Lord even in times of hardship, trials and loss
May we all seek to develop within us a spirit of genuine contentment and peace as we seek to serve Him in greater ways!
May we all get a clearer picture of our Lord and Savior, and the great grace He has shown to us. Let us be always watchful to keep His great acts of grace on our behalf in the center of our attention… In doing so, may we be motivated to LOVE Him more, APPRECIATE Him more and SERVE Him more!
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