PSALM ONE HUNDRED THIRTY-ONE
Outline
  1. Profession of Trust in Yahweh (v.1)
  2. Metaphor of Trust (v.2)
  3. Summons to the Corporate Community (v.3)
TITLE A Song of Ascents, of David ( ryvi [n.m.s.] tAl[]M;h [def.art.w/n.f.p., ma-alah, step] dwId'l [prep.w/pr.n.]).
Profession of Trust (v.1)

VERSE 1 O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty ( hw"hy>.; [pr.n.] yBili [prep.w/n.m.s., lebh, heart] Hb;g"-al{ [neg. + Qal.pf.3.m.s., babhah, be high; "proud"] yn:y[e [n.f.dual.w/1.c.s.sf., ayin, eye] Wmr'-al{w [conj.w/neg. + Qal.pf.3.c.p., rum, be high, lofty]);

Nor do I involve myself in great matters ( yTik.L;hi-al{w> [conj.w/neg. + Hiphil.pf.1.c.s., halakh, walk; "involve"] tAldog>Bi [prep.w/adj.m.p., gadhol, great; "great matters"]),

Or things too difficult for me ( tAal'p.nIb.W [conj.w/niphil.pt.f.p., pala, be wonderful; to do extraordinary] `yNIM,mi [prep.1.c.s.sf.; "for me"]).

ANALYSIS: VERSE 1

  1. This psalm has an enigmatic quality about it, due in part to its brevity.
  2. It is generally taken as a psalm of confidence or trust in Yahweh.
  3. Its theme is child-like resignation to God.
  4. The name of David in the heading draws our attention to the qualities which helped to make him great.
  5. Its awakens memories of his modesty, simplicity, and lack of rancor (malignant hatred of enemies).
  6. In general, David is the model of the state of mind which is expressed in this demure (serious) little song.
  7. He did not push himself forward in life, but suffered himself to be drawn out of seclusion.
  8. He did not take possession of the throne violently, but after his anointing willingly and patiently traveled the long, thorny, and circuitous way of abasement until he received from Godís hand that which he was promised.
  9. The persecutions of Saul lasted for about ten years, and his kingship in Hebron, at first only incipient, seven-and-a-half years.
  10. He left it entirely to God to remove Saul and Ishbosheth.
  11. He let Shimei curse him.
  12. He left Jerusalem before Absalom.
  13. Submission to Godís timing, resignation to His dispensations, content with that which was allotted to him, are the distinguishing traits of his noble character.
  14. His career began with small beginnings under difficult circumstances, which school taught him humble contentment and calm waiting.
  15. In v.1 David employs a triple negative before the Lord, professing what he in is not all about.
  16. For all his considerable achievements and successes, David could honestly assert that his heart was not given over to pride.
  17. This MAS did not rule in his life, even after he enjoyed unparalleled success.
  18. Pride is a MAS which has its root in the heart, and in the eyes it especially finds expression.
  19. Furthermore, he did not have the facial look of a proud man, as indicated in the words "nor my eyes haughty".
  20. The pride of countenance and bearing were absent from David.
  21. This sin got other kings of his line into trouble (Uzziah and Hezekiah; 2Chr.26:16 and 32:25).
  22. Pride is a MAS that God very much is against (2Sam.22:28; Prov.8:13; 16:5; 29:23; 30:13; Jam.4:6).
  23. It would be easy to make this verse an excuse to avoid the challenges of life.
  24. But the sin rejected in v.1a is pride (cf. the portrait of the supercilious [air of superiority] in Prov.30:13), while the sin of v.1b is self-assertion and the sin of v.1c is presumption.
  25. This first undervalues others, the second overestimates and overreaches oneself.
  26. Verse 1b,c concerns itself with pride of endeavor and modus operandi (mode of action).
  27. Throughout his career, David avoided those "great things" which were not part and parcel with his calling.
  28. His accomplishments on behalf of his people were considerable by any standards (2Sam.7:8,9).
  29. Yet he refused allurements that did not directly contribute to his calling and office.
  30. David did not go beyond the glory and glamour that was his allotment.
  31. He could have launched out into ill-advised and grandiose enterprises, as he had the resources to do so, but unlike his son Solomon, he shied away from things which did not contribute to or compliment his calling.
  32. In v.1c he affirms that he did not engage in things which were "too difficult" for him.
  33. An example of this character trait is when, as a youth, he refused to fight Goliath with weapons that at that stage in his life he had no experience with.
  34. The opposite of "great things" is not that which is little or mean, but things which are grandiose and counterproductive to the things he was supposed to be about.
  35. The opposite of "things too difficult" is things which are attainable and compatible with his niche at any given period in his life.
  36. Recognize your own limitations and donít let pride lead you into situations which are beyond your current abilities (v.1c).
  37. Donít engage in things simply because they are impressive to the cosmic mind-set (v.1b).
Metaphor of Trust (v.2)

VERSE 2 Surely I have composed and quieted my soul ( al{-~ai [adv. + neg.; if not = "Surely"] ytiyWIvi [Piel.pf.1.c.s., shawah, set in place; "composed"] yTim.m;Adw> [conj. w/Piel.pf.1.c.s., damam, be silent; be silenced] yvip.n: [n.f.s.w/1.c.s.sf., soul]);

Like a weaned child rests against his mother ( lmuG"K; [prep.w/Qal.pass.pt.m.s., gamal, to deal fully with; be weaned; "weaned child"] yl;[' [prep.w/1.c.s.sf., "rest against"] Ama [n.f.s.w/3.m.s.sf., am, mother]),

My soul is like a weaned child within me ( `yvip.n: [n.f.s.w/1c.s.sf., "my soul"] lmug"K [prep.w/Qal.pass.pt.m.s., gamal, to deal fully with; wean] yle[ [prep.w/1c.s.sf.; "within me"]).

ANALYSIS: VERSE 2

  1. Davidís confession and profession of trust before the Lord continues in v.2.
  2. "Surely" ("if not") serves to introduce an asseveration (solemn statement) after an implied oath.
  3. "Surely", here, has an adversative sense of "but".
  4. The Hebrew verb "I have composed" (shawah) is used of leveling ground (Isa.28:25).
  5. The psalmist has leveled or smoothed his soul, so that humility and contentment is its entire and uniform state.
  6. He has "quieted/calmed" his soul from STA-sponsored ambitions so that he is at rest/peace with the allotted blessings of God.
  7. He lets God work on his behalf and open (or close) doors of opportunity.
  8. His soul is like the surface of a calm lake.
  9. What David did was to put his confidence in God and His promises.
  10. This level of spirituality was attained only by overruling his head-strong self.
  11. Eventually he learned the lesson of reliance upon God in the small and great things of life.
  12. Many an outburst of self-will had to be reigned in.
  13. His metaphor for such dependence is that of a weaned child who no longer frets over that which was once considered indispensable.
  14. His soul learned a comparable lesson.
  15. A baby is pacified at its motherís breast, which parallels the believerís state of fretful unrest until he/she grows up in the Lord.
  16. Before we are weaned, so to speak, we tend to be self-seeking, which can often be attributed to pride.
  17. But with training we come to a place where we are no longer in bondage to that which we consider indispensable.
  18. Impatience gives way to a state of calm trust, as in the case of a weaned child who lies upon its motherís breast without crying impatiently and craving for that which is a thing of the past.
  19. So was Davidís soul over the course of his Ph2.
  20. Such became Davidís relationship to God as he matured over the years.
  21. His soul became like "a weaned child" not nearly as subject to the fretful cravings of his self-will.
Summons to Trust (v.3)

VERSE 3 O Israel, hope in the LORD ( laer'f.Yi [pr.n.] lxey: [Piel.imper., yachal, wait, hope] hw"hy>-la, [prep. + pr.n.])

From this time forth and forever ( hT'[;me [prep.w/adv. of time, now] `~l'A[-d[;w> [conj.w/prep., until + n.m.s., olam, ever]).

ANALYSIS: VERSE 3

  1. Israel, like the psalmist, is to renounce self-will and prideful pursuits, and make the Lord her provision (Ps.119:57; cp. 28:7; 54:4; 73:28; 92:15; 118:14).
  2. Israel, like David, can be weaned from her insubstantial ambitions.
  3. So he calls upon his people to make God their trust.
  4. Israel will attain to this high summons in the Kingdom Age.
  5. It is attainable for every believer who, like David, composes and quiets the soul by applying BD to the everyday challenges to faith.
 
END: PSALM ONE HUNDRED THIRTY-ONE
JACK M. BALLINGER
JANUARY, 1998
 
© Copyright 1998, Maranatha Church Inc.