“LORD, teach me to be content”
A Psalm of Instruction
Psalm 131 LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor my eyes lofty. Neither do I concern myself with great matters, nor with things too profound for me. Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with his mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in the LORD, from this time forth and forever.
In this three-verse psalm penned by King David, the virtue of Christian contentment is extolled. The illustration of a weaned child–lying quietly on its mother’s lap, no longer clamoring for the breast, content with the fact that it has its mother–is used to portray the child of God satisfied in the Lord.
The child of God has every reason to be content because he knows that God promises to give him everything he needs–everything he needs for his earthly life; everything he needs for spiritual life; everything he needs for eternal life in the hereafter (Cf. Rom. 8:32, 1 Cor. 3:21-22, 2 Cor. 6:10b).
Why did the pilgrims traveling up to Jerusalem need this reminder? The prophets of the Lord had promised great things upon their return to Canaan from Babylon–the restoration of their land and nation and temple. When these promises did not come to fruition immediately, they were tempted to become discontented and discouraged. As the returned exiles sang this song on the way to Zion, they would have been reminded and encouraged–through the pious example of their forefather David who wrote this psalm–to wait patiently for the fulfillment of God’s promises.
Sometimes we too are tempted to become discontented and dissatisfied with the Lord’s timetable in His dealings with us. When He delays to answer our prayer and we can’t understnad why; when we’re called upon to endure a difficult trial and we can’t see the good in it; when things aren’t going in our life the way we would like them to–then let us listen to the advice which this psalm offers: commend the matter into the hands of the Lord who knows what is best for His people, and be content.
“O Israel, hope in the Lord, from this time forth and forever.”