Don’t know that I have a lot to say this morning. Don’t know that I should if I’m meditating on the quieted soul. After all, the songwriter’s picture of a weaned child isn’t that of a wailing child. A baby at rest in their mother’s arms isn’t a baby up in arms. A calm soul is a quiet soul.
Not because everything around is calm and quiet. And not because we’re not to thoughtfully engage in such things as pandemics, politics, and problems that have long haunted the land. But because, as the songwriter reminds me, we are not to walk in them.
O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore.
(Psalm 131:1-3 ESV)
Occupy. That’s the word I wonder about this morning. I do not occupy myself with things too great for me.
Not sure how I feel about other translations. CSB and NASB say “I do not get involved with.” NIV and NKJV, “I do not concern myself with.” Peterson cuts to the chase, “I haven’t meddled where I have no business” (MSG). But literally it reads “Nor have I walked in great things” (YLT).
I don’t think the songwriter is advocating an “ignorance is bliss” approach to the big things of life. But that we don’t live our lives consumed by things which are simply beyond us.
Maybe the clue is in the opening words of the song, a lifted up heart and eyes that are raised up. That, while ignorance is not the way, neither is arrogance. While being uninformed is not what’s advocated here, neither is a know-it-all attitude. That for the big issues of life — like suffering, like injustice, like what it means for the kingdom to come — at the end of the day, we don’t walk in them with arrogance that agitates. With pride that ultimately is unproductive. But we know rest amidst the troublesome, too big things of life because we know where, ultimately, our help comes from.
At some point, probably sooner than later, we need to calm ourselves, rest in the Father’s arms, and hope in the LORD.
And how’s that possible? Psalm 130 gives a clue.
O Israel, hope in the LORD! For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with Him is plentiful redemption.
(Psalm 130:7 ESV)
Steadfast love. Plentiful redemption. The character of God. The promise of God.
Isn’t that what I need to occupy myself with? Aren’t those the truths I need to walk in? I’m thinkin . . .
Isn’t that the context that corrals the anxiety fueled by unanswerable questions? The bearings that point us in the right direction when we feel things are out of control. The greater truths which allow us to be thoughtful but not obsessed? The remembrance that compels us to humble ourselves even as we exalt our God? I’m thinkin’ that too . . .
Okay, so maybe I have more to say than I first thought. But now it’s time to calm the soul. To quiet the spirit. To hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore. And to walk in that.
By His grace. For His glory.