Life Need Not Be Full of Sound and Fury

by Bethany

Relevant Text: Ps. 131
Full Text: Ps. 62 + Ps. 131

Result: “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.” | Pride isn’t just about self; it’s also haughty about others – in order to see one’s own superiority, one must see others’ inferiority. Yet, David isn’t proud or haughty. Neither does he concern himself with grandiose endeavors or glories. He doesn’t think he can change the world; he knows that’s God’s job. He depends on God for everything – even his daily bread [1].

Route: “But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.” | David isn’t proud, haughty or arrogant because he’s quieted his noisy heart [2] [3]. He’s weaned himself from grasping at wind through God’s promises. David Powlison observes, “When a hungry child is placed on his mother’s lap, he is agitated. He roots around, squirming anxiously. If he doesn’t get immediate attention and satisfaction, he frets and fusses. He is frustrated and peevish because he wants something … You witness the childish versions of things that destroy adults: anxiety, depression, anger, jealousy, discontent, and confusion. We’ve all seen that. But then have you ever seen that same child two weeks later, when he is successfully weaned? The difference is amazing! A dramatic change has taken place. Now when that child is placed in his mother’s lap, he sits quietly, giving his attention in a different direction. The child rests upon his mother, at peace … Envision your own soul as a small child sitting on your lap. You used to be noisy, squirmy, and demanding. Now you sit still. That’s the picture of learning peace” [4].

Reason: “O Israel, put your hope in the LORD both now and forevermore.” | Jesus is our hope. Certainties – not impossibilities – lie with Him. Hope in God knows no limitations. The humility of Christ defeats our noisy, proud self-will. Jesus calms the storm within our hearts because he takes away our fears. Let us be weaned from our anxious pride as we learn to feast on His peace.

Prayer | Lord, We confess that our souls are noisy, trying to accomplish things too wonderful for us. Release our grips on things that are meant for You alone to handle. Wean us from ourselves and help us put our trust and peace in You. Amen.

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[1] “From your daily bread to your abilities and opportunities, these are gifts from God that you don’t control. What happens when you attempt to control another person’s attitudes and choices, to bend them to your will? You set yourself up for all sorts of ugly things. Despair or rage, anxiety or short-lived euphoria, suspicion or manipulation. What happens when you attempt to ensure that you will not get sick and die? You become obsessed with diet and exercise, or litigious towards doctors, or plagued with fear that any nagging pain might be the big one that finally gets you. What happens when you are obsessed with getting people to like you? You become flirtatious or artificial, a coward or a deceiver, a chameleon or a recluse. What happens when you live for success in sports, career, or your physical appearance? You get injured. You finally retire. Someone comes along who is better than you or better looking. You get old and wrinkled. You die. But when you pursue what you are called to pursue, it makes sense you’d have composure. You’ve discovered what you’re made for. Paul once put it this way, ‘Flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart’ (2 Tim. 2:22)” (David Powlison, “Peace, Be Still: Learning Psalm 131 by Heart.” The Journal of Biblical Counseling (Vol. 8:3, Spring 2000).

[2] See also Is. 57:20-21; 2 Ptr. 1:4.

[3] His life is the opposite from Macbeth’s characterization: “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Act V; scene v.

[4] David Powlison, “Peace, Be Still: Learning Psalm 131 by Heart.” The Journal of Biblical Counseling (Vol. 8:3, Spring 2000).

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One Comment to “Life Need Not Be Full of Sound and Fury”

  1. Thanks, Maz that’s an intriguing image. I can see it as a fire maikng the shape of a dandelion, or as a dandelion bending toward a fire (so the fire seems to be drawing the dandelion toward it), or even as the heat of July drawing a dandelion out of the ground!

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