The Book of Psalms

Wednesday: Like a Satisfied Child


Theme: Overcoming Arrogance
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
As we saw in yesterday’s study, David had learned to subdue pride. This is an important lesson for us to learn, too. In fact, it is the most important of all lessons having to do with Christian character, since pride is the most serious and pervasive of all vices. It is why the Bible has much to say about humility. Just a few psalms after this we read, “Though the LORD is on high, he looks upon the lowly, but the proud he knows from afar” (Ps. 138:6). Proverbs 3:34 is a key text: “He mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble.” James quotes it in chapter 4 (“That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble,’” James 4:6), and so does Peter in 1 Peter 5 (“All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble,’” v. 5). James also writes, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up” (v. 10).
James must have learned this from Jesus. For he would have heard Jesus say, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:28, 29). 
Some years ago, when the American film star John Wayne had his first operation for cancer, I remember seeing a film clip in which he emerged from the hospital claiming soberly but hopefully, “I licked the big ‘C’” (meaning cancer). He hadn’t, of course. He later died from it. But what I want to suggest here is that each of us can and needs to “lick the big ‘P’”, which is pride. We can do it by doing exactly what Jesus challenged us to do, namely, taking up his yoke and learning from him. Indeed, the closer we get to Jesus the less pride we will have, for all true greatness is in him. 
2. Arrogance: “my eyes are not haughty.” The second vice David says he had learned to overcome is arrogance, which he expresses by claiming that his eyes were not haughty. 
Arrogance is an expression of pride. It is the proud who are arrogant. But arrogance goes beyond pride in that it is pride looking down on other people. “Haughty” comes from the word “high,” of course. David is saying, “My eyes are not high (or lifted up).” But this is a quite different way of lifting up one’s eyes than in Psalm 121:1, for instance. That verse says, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills,” meaning that the psalmist is standing below and looking upward beyond the hills to God. In the psalm we are studying, the picture is of a proud person who has moved upward to take God’s place from which he is then able to look down on other people. 
There is nothing in the record of David’s life that would lead us to think that he was ever really arrogant. But if God delivered him from pride, which he claims, then God must have delivered him from arrogance too, since arrogance would certainly have followed in pride’s wake if he had actually been prideful. The important thing is that we should not be arrogant, which we will not be only if we learn to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God. Peter wrote, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (1 Peter 5:6).
Study Questions: 

Why does the Bible have much to say about humility? 
What lesson can we learn from David’s testing? 
Distinguish between pride and arrogance.

Application: Memorize several of the passages about humility to have ready when you become prideful. 
Prayer: Ask God to reveal to you ways that you are prideful. Humble yourself under God’s mighty hand. 
Key Point: The closer we get to Jesus the less pride we will have, for all true greatness is in him.

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