Lord, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty. I do not get involved with things too great or too wondrous for me (131:1 CSB).
We continue to examine the attitude of childlike trust set forth in this verse.
When David says that both heart and eyes are not proud or haughty, he is not saying that both the inner and outer man are humble. “Haughty eyes” is an idiom for a proud attitude (Psalm 18:27; Proverbs 6:17; 21:4; Isaiah 10:12), though certainly pride does show itself in the eyes (Isaiah 2:11; 5:15; Psalm 101:5). The way to change from pride to humility is to gain a better, richer acquaintance of the majesty of God and the Lord’s evaluation of our sinfulness. The Psalms have much to say on both topics. Read a psalm the way you would look at beautiful scenery. You would not take a brief glance and move on. You would allow your soul to “drink in” the view. You would want to share it with those you love. You would take photos of it, so that you could remember the view. On the other hand, no normal person likes to look long at ugliness and oppression and suffering. But there are times we must. Allow the Psalms to grip your heart in both directions, and humility will be the outcome the Holy Spirit produces.
I do not get involved with things too great or too wondrous for me. The word for “get involved” (“exercise” in the KJV and “concern” NIV) is the word “walk”. This verb is “the verb most frequently employed to describe the act or process of living” (Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis). David is talking about his habitual way of life. Matters that are too difficult (Deuteronomy 17:8) or too amazing (Proverbs 30:18) for him to comprehend, he allows to be resolved by God.
We need to recognize that life is filled with complex situations. We are tempted to try to explain God’s providence, in order that we can rest. Religious people want to know why such a horrible event has occurred. A childlike trust demands that we stop trying and allow God to “tie up the loose ends”.
The text is not saying to avoid life’s challenges, but to submit one’s view of them to God’s revelation. An important verse is Deuteronomy 29:29. The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law (NIV). We must follow two guiding principles:
- Strive to know all that God has revealed in the Scriptures. This requires time and work. It is more than quick “devotional” Bible reading. Racing through the Bible on a reading plan will not allow you to stop and ponder. But to make progress you must do this.
- Stay away from demands to know what God has not revealed. This includes both theological issues and the interpretation of life’s events. Who can perfectly say “I know for certain that this is why that happened”? One event may be used by God to accomplish many purposes. Stop with what God says. If the Lord wanted us to know more about some people and events recorded in the Bible, he would have told us.
Our “theological boxes” must be as big as the infinite God, or he will break them apart every time we try to put him and his providence in the box we have carefully constructed. We must learn to say, “I don’t know, but I know God knows what he is doing” (cf. Romans 8:28-30).
Consider chess problems: “White to move and checkmate in 2 moves”. Many strange moves are the “key” to the problem. When the key move is made by White, no matter how Black replies, Black will be checkmated by White’s next move. We must calmly watch God make his “strange moves” that are the key to glorifying his name. He is the great Master of the world. Stand back and watch what grace and judgments he will bring forth through Covid-19.
Grace and peace,