Setting Things Right
A song of ascents. Of David.
My heart is not proud, LORD,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.
Israel, put your hope in the LORD
both now and forevermore.
My online Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “perplexity” as “the state of being very confused because something is difficult to understand.” I found high school algebra perplexing, but not nearly so perplexing as life. I think that’s why I am so drawn to this little psalm as it is about perplexity and what to do with it. What to do with innocent children who suffer? What to do with bad things happening to good people, and good things happening to the bad? I am perplexed. It doesn’t seem fair. No less than Job we sometimes are perplexed about the way God runs things. If He’s got the whole world in His hands, then why doesn’t He do something?
It’s these kinds of stinging questions that the psalmist David takes on in this psalm. In only a few verses Israel’s greatest king tells how he came through heartache, battles, outrage, and perplexity to inner peace and calm. For David there is a time for getting in God’s face, arguing with Him, venting, complaining (Psalm 13:1-2; 22:1-2; 142:2). But in this psalm David tells us how he let go of complaining and demanding to acknowledge that God’s ways are higher than our ways, beyond our understanding. He illustrates the place he has come to in his maturing faith by pointing to a weaned child resting contentedly on its mother’s breast.
When new parents bring their newborn home from the hospital they sometimes joke about the “new boss” ruling their house. Nursing babies have a way of making demands and taking over. They fuss and cry wanting to get what they want when they want it. And if they don’t get it, they’ll let everyone know. That is what makes weaning a baby difficult, as it involves curbing baby’s demands that mother satisfy him. But weaning is critical to the child’s maturation. The child must learn to stop demanding from mom, rather resting his head on her breast content just to be with her. He now drinks of her love rather than her milk.
David wants us to know that there was a time when like a baby, he was demanding of God, demanding of answers, demanding to know reasons why. But God has weaned David so that he is satisfied just to be with God.
David likely still has questions of God, he still wants to understand things beyond understanding, but he has made a decision. He has chosen not to “occupy” himself with things too great and wonderful for his understanding.
In the last sentence of this psalm David starts talking to you and me:
“…hope in the LORD both now and forevermore.” Having given his own example he calls us to follow him by resting in God and putting our “...hope in the LORD.”
We have many questions about life and things too difficult to understand, but we hope and wait expectantly for God because we know He will set things right!
READ REFLECT RESPOND REST