The Providence of God (Psalm 131; Psalm 138)

Scripture reading – Psalm 131; Psalm 138

Today’s Scripture reading consists of two brief psalms by David. Psalm 131 was titled, “A Song of Degrees of David,” and was numbered among the psalms sung when the priests ascended the steps of the Temple Mount. Psalm 138 is titled, “A Psalm of David,” and its occasion is not given, although there is some speculation it may have been penned when he was a young man.

Psalm 131 – David’s Answer to His Critics

Leadership invariably invites accusations, and it seems this brief psalm was David’s answer to those who accused him of being proud, and out of his element as king. David did not answer his critics; however, he turned to the LORD after examining himself, and said: “1Lord, My heart is not haughty [proud], nor mine eyes lofty [haughty]: Neither do I exercise [pry] myself in great matters, or in things too high for me” (131:1).

The king contended, “2Surely I have behaved and quieted myself [contented], As a child that is weaned of his mother: My soul is even as a weaned child [not fretting or protesting]” (131:2). The psalm ends with David expressing his confidence in the LORD, saying, “3Let Israel hope [a waiting expectation] in the Lord from henceforth and for ever” (131:3).

Closing thoughts – How do you answer critics? Follow David’s example, and first examine your heart to see if your critics have a basis for their reproach. Should you find you are innocent, take your sorrows to the LORD, and rest in the shadow of His compassion and promises; but if you are guilty, you must humbly repent before the Lord.

Psalm 138 – The Wonders of God’s Providences

An Offering of Praise, Leaving No Reserves (138:1-3)

David does not say simply, “I will praise thee, but “I will praise thee with my whole heart” (138:1). Every ounce of his being was committed to unashamedly worshipping the LORD. He promised to praise the LORD for His “lovingkindness” (favor, and goodness), and “truth” (faithfulness and honesty, 138:2). The king had experienced the LORD’s faithfulness, and when He cried to the LORD, He not only answered his prayers, but He strengthened his soul (138:3).

Praise is Infectious (138:4-5)

David hoped his praise and testimonies of the LORD might influence other “kings of the earth” to have faith in God (138:4). He longed for others to join him in singing of the ways, and providences of the LORD: “For great is the glory of the LORD” (138:5).

Three Comforting Truths (138:6-8)

Three things regarding the LORD comforted David. The first, “though the LORD be high,” He favors the lowly, and distances Himself from the proud (138:6).

David was also comforted by the presence of the LORD in times of trouble (138:7). He had found God restrains the wicked in their wrath, and He saves His people.

Psalm 138 concluded with a verse that is one of the great promises of God’s providential work and oversight of His people. David wrote, 8The Lord will perfect [complete] that which concerneth me [the LORD knows what is best for His children]: Thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: Forsake not the works of thine own hands”(138:8).

Closing thoughts – A thousand years after David penned Psalm 138:8, the apostle Paul wrote: “28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

What a wonderful truth! God is not only orchestrating events in the lives of those who love Him for their good, but He is with them to accomplish His purpose. And what is God’s plan and purpose? It is that His children would “be conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29).

I don’t know if you are in the midst of trials, and troubles; however, I assure you that the LORD’s mercies will never fail, and He will not forsake His children, for we are the “works of [His] hands” (138:8).

Copyright 2021 – Travis D. Smith