“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.
3. Indication of Spiritual Maturity – #3 – Faith and Hope In The Lord
David continues His prayer by expressing his confidence in the Lord’s blessings upon his people…
Let Israel hope in the LORD from henceforth and for ever
David, as King of the physical nation of Israel, now reminds his nation of the need to place their faith in the Lord’s promise of future blessings to Israel. Do they believe the Lord will keep His Word? Do they believe the Lord can handle any problem they may face? These are all issues of faith that, when believed, gave them great hope for their future.
David understood the Lord’s promises that He gave to his nation…
Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3)
It was because of these promises that David found confidence in the Lord’s blessings of His people. Keep in mind, the physical nation of Israel, gives us an earthly picture of the wonderful spiritual nation of Israel that contains all who are saved (both Jew and Gentile)…
“For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.And as many as walk according to this rule, peace [be] on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.” (Galatians 6:13-16)
“Therefore [it is] of faith, that [it might be] by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,” (Romans 4:16)
Therefore the promises that God gave to the physical nation of Israel are simply pictures and foreshadowings of the wonderful promises God given to His spiritually chosen people. If the physical Israelites had reason to find hope in the Lord during OT times, how much more do we, as God’s spiritual nation, have hope for our future based upon these great covenantal promises given to us?
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, [as] silver and gold, from your vain conversation [received] by tradition from your fathers;But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.” (1 Peter 1:18-21)
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:1-2)
As citizens of the Israel of God, all who have trusted in Christ have entered into the wonderful blessings afford to them as the nation and family of God. Among those blessings are the promise of living an eternity with Christ in New Jerusalem on the New Earth. May we all hold fast to this great hope and always be encouraged in His service…
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of [them], and embraced [them], and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
And truly, if they had been mindful of that [country] from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.But now they desire a better [country], that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten [son],Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:Accounting that God [was] able to raise [him] up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.
By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.”
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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