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Bible Commentaries

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

Psalms 131

Verse 1

David claimed that he had not been proud. Pride is essentially a belief that one does not need God but is self-sufficient. Haughty or lofty looks with the eyes betray a proud attitude because they look down on other people with a feeling of superiority (cf. Psalms 18:27; Psalms 101:5; Proverbs 6:17; Proverbs 30:13). Pride also manifests itself in taking on projects for which one is not capable and thinking that one can handle them. The proud person overestimates his own abilities as well as his own importance. The humble person, however, has a realistic understanding of his or her capabilities and limitations (cf. Romans 12:3).

"The godly knows that true godliness begins in the ’heart’ that is not proud (cf. Proverbs 18:12), with eyes that do not envy (cf. Psalms 18:27; Psalms 101:5; Proverbs 16:5), and with a walk of life (MT, ’I do not walk’ for NIV, ’I do not concern myself’) that is not preoccupied with ’greatness’ (cf. Jeremiah 45:5) and with accomplishments (’wonderful,’ i.e., ’difficult’ or ’arduous’; cf. Deuteronomy 17:8; Deuteronomy 30:11)." [Note: VanGemeren, p. 803.]

Verses 1-2

1. A model of humility 131:1-2

Verses 1-3

Psalms 131

In just a few words, David spoke of his humble trust in the Lord and his hope in Him. These are remarkable statements for a powerful king to have written. This is an individual psalm of confidence that became a psalm of ascent.

"In this brief psalm, he [David] tells us the essentials of a life that glorifies God and accomplishes His work on earth." [Note: Ibid., p. 352.]

Verse 2

David had stopped being self-assertive and restless. Rather than constantly seeking self-gratification, he now rested in his lot. The ability to rest and be quiet, rather than struggling for what we want, is a sign of maturity as well as humility.

Verse 3

2. A model of hope 131:3

David called on the nation to follow his example and rest in confidence that the Lord would provide what His people needed. This dependent trust is a need God’s people never outgrow.

"The piety reflected in this psalm is directly opposed to modernity with its drive toward independence, self-sufficiency, and autonomy. It is worth noting that the Psalms deny the Oedipal inclination that there can be freedom only if the controlling, authoritarian father-god be slain or denied. The myth of modernity believes that real maturity is to be free of every relationship of dependence. But when the metaphor is changed from a harsh controlling father to a gently feeding mother, it is evident that the human goal need not be breaking away, but happy trust." [Note: Brueggemann, p. 49.]

This psalm is an excellent exposition of what it means to have faith as a child. We can trust God because He is who He is. We must trust Him because we are who we are.

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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 131". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". 2012.