Ps 131:1 My heart is not proud, O LORD, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. 2 But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me. 3 O Israel, put your hope in the LORD both now and forevermore. Our sense of contentment is usually circumstantial. When our circumstances meet our expectations we often feel content. Knowing this we often lower our expectations and desires, or even resign from them all together to escape disappointment and anxiety.
Contentment for David however was relational. He found contentment despite his circumstance because he anchored it in his relationship with God. David writes: “O Israel, put your hope in the LORD both now and forevermore.”
He invokes the image of a baby with its mother. Like an infant frantically rooting for her mother’s nipple, we often frantically root for that one ultimate thing to give us soul-rest. “But I have calmed and quieted my soul,” David says, “like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.”
Like a weaned child, no longer wanting his mother’s milk, David was content without that which used to seem indispensable. He testifies to his freedom in three areas of his life which modern folks today often find indispensable for our meaning and validation.
Freedom and autonomy: David writes, “My heart is not proud,” Social status: David writes, “O LORD, my eyes are not haughty;” Vocation: David writes, “I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.”
As good as his independence, status and calling was, he no longer rooted for them desperately like an infant – as if they were ultimate. His desires grew up. It reminds me of what C.S. Lewis wrote in The Weight of Glory:
“Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”