Theme: Learning to Trust God Completely
In this week’s lessons, we learn of our need to love God for who he is and to trust him completely.
Scripture: Psalm 131:1-3
Having spoken of the negatives that once frowned upon his life in verse 1 (pride, arrogance and ambition), David turns next to the right, positive attitude in verse 2, saying that he had learned to trust God completely like a weaned child that has learned to trust his or her mother. It is not unusual in the Bible to find God pictured as a father (see Deut. 1:31; Hosea 11:1-4; Matt. 6:9; and other texts). But as far as I know, the only other passages that picture God as a mother are in Isaiah. Toward the end of that important prophecy God asks, “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you” (Isa. 49:15). And again, a few chapters later, God says, “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you” (Isa. 66:13).
In these passages the emphasis is on God’s determination to remember, care for and comfort his spiritual children, as a mother usually cares for and comforts the children God has given her. But in Psalm 131 the emphasis is upon the child, to whom David compares himself. He says that he is “like a weaned child with its mother” (v. 2).
The emphasis here is on “weaned,” and this is one reason I have been writing about the change to which David is testifying and not merely about the virtues of humility and trust, which are the opposites of pride and ambition. When David says that his soul is “like a weaned child,” he is not saying that he has always been content with God or even merely that he is content with God now. He is reflecting on the difficult weaning process in which a child is broken of its dependence on its mother’s milk and is taught to take other foods instead. Weaning is usually accompanied by resistance and struggle on the child’s part, even by hot tears, angry accusing glances and fierce temper tantrums, and it is difficult for the mother. But weaning is necessary if the child is to mature. What David is saying is that he has come through the weaning process and has learned to trust God to care for him and provide for him, not on David’s own terms but on God’s terms.
Let me put it this way. Before he was weaned, David wanted God only for what he could get from God. But after he was weaned, having learned that God loved him and would care for him even if it was not exactly the way he anticipated or most wanted, he came to love God for himself. And that was a better and much more mature relationship. Have you learned that? Have you learned to love God for himself and not merely for what you can get from him?
There are few psalms in the Psalter that are more personal, intimate or even introspective than this one. But it is important to see that although David is writing chiefly about himself and his own experience of learning to trust and love God, he does not leave the psalm at that point. Instead, at the end of the psalm, he looks to those about him, to Israel, and challenges them to learn what he had learned and “put [their] hope in God”: “O Israel, put your hope in the LORD both now and forevermore.”
Why does he tell them this? Because only God is worthy of our hope and will never disappoint us. To learn that lesson is to mature, to begin to grow up spiritually. It is disappointing that so many Christians are still infants.
What image does Psalm 131 have in common with Isa. 49:15 and 66:13?
Describe the shift that takes place in verse 2 of the psalm.
How does David end the psalm?
Is your love for God himself or for what you can get from him?
What stage of development are you in in your Christian growth—a grown-up or an infant?
Prayer: Pray for those around you that they would put their hope in God.
Key Point: Only God is worthy of our hope and will never disappoint us.