Scripture reading – Psalm 131; Psalm 138

 

Today’s Scripture reading consists of two brief psalms that editors have attributed to 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 was titled “A Psalm of David,” and its occasion was not given, although there is some speculation it may have been penned when the king 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, after examining himself, he turned to the LORD and said: “Lord, 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” (Psalm 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]” (Psalm 131:2). The psalm ended with David expressing his confidence in the LORD, saying, “3Let Israel hope [a waiting expectation] in the Lord from henceforth and for ever” (Psalm 131:3).

 

Closing thoughts –

 

How do you answer critics? David gave his readers a great example of humility and a pattern to follow. First, he examined his heart to see if his critics had a basis for their reproach. When he reasoned he was innocent, he took his sorrows to the LORD and rested in the shadow of His compassion and promises.

 

Of course, should we realize we are guilty of pride and meddling in affairs beyond our capacity and understanding, we should confess our fault and humbly repent before the Lord.

 

Questions to consider –

  • If Psalm 131 was David’s answer to critics, what were they accusing him of? (Psalm 131:1)
  • What was David’s answer to his critics? (Psalm 131:2)

Psalm 138 – The Wonders of God’s Providences

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

 

David does not say, “I will praise thee, but “I will praise thee with my whole heart” (Psalm 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, Psalm 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 (Psalm 138:3).

 

Praise is Infectious (Psalm 138:4-5)

 

Speaking prophetically, David hoped his praise and testimonies of the LORD might influence other “kings of the earth” to praise the LORD and have faith in God (138:4; Isaiah 49:234). He longed for all in authority to join him in singing the ways and providences of the LORD, “For great is the glory of the LORD” (Psalm 138:5).

 

Three Comforting Truths (Psalm 138:6-8)

 

Three things regarding the LORD comforted David. First, “though the LORD be high,” He favors the lowly, and distances Himself from the proud” (138:6). What a wonderful and blessed truth for all humanity. The LORD is great and mighty; however, it is the common man, the humble, the “salt of the earth,” that he regards with special notice and care.

 

Secondly, David was comforted by the presence of the LORD in times of trouble (Psalm 138:7). I find verse 7 is reminiscent of Psalm 23:4, where David wrote, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.” The king had found that God restrains the wicked in their wrath and saves His people.

 

Finally, David concluded Psalm 138 with a verse that is one of the great promises of God’s providential work and oversight of His people. He wrote, “The 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” (Psalm 138:8).

Closing thoughts –

 

A thousand years after David penned Psalm 138:8, the apostle Paul wrote: “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, 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” (Psalm 138:8).

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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