"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. But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, put your hope in the LORD both now and forevermore." Psalm 131:1-3 (NIV)
2020 will be remembered for how the COVID-19 pandemic devastated the entire world. The global death toll continues to rise, and hundreds of thousands are grieving. In Singapore, we have largely been blessed and our physical casualties are limited. For many of us, the disruption has been to our usual rhythms of life.
God’s ministry has continued in Singapore – but mostly online. I remember thinking, at the start of the crisis, that it was an opportunity to slow down personal ministry and reflect more on Christ – and to pray for contentment in His promises, even as uncertainties increased in this world. However, I did not grasp this opportunity. Instead, my heart became busier and noisier than ever – as I shopped around for all kinds of online ministry methods, and tried to make them even more successful than physical meet-ups.
In that busy-ness, God reminded me of Psalm 131. There are just three verses. It powerfully speaks of how we can “still and quiet” ourselves – because we have hope in the LORD.
We can have such hope in Him, even amidst great adversity. In Old Testament times, Psalm 131 would have reminded
Israel to hope for a full restoration by God – even as they experienced great suffering in exile. They should hope – because God had promised Abraham, the forefather of the Israelites, that the exile would eventually end, and God is faithful to His promises.
The Israelites were to trust in Him and quiet themselves. But it would have been hard to do so. Instead, the Israelites probably continued to expect, clamour for and work towards immediate blessing and relief of suffering. It is just like how a toddler finds it difficult to wean off mother’s milk. He cries and reaches out for it, demanding that it be readily available.
But as we grow, we need something even more nourishing. A child soon needs solid food. For us faithful, our maturity must come to be built on an assured hope in God. Such hope means we can be certain that God is still fulfilling His great and wonderful plans – even as great troubles inevitably come. We can be humble and wait upon His timing, rather than be proud and haughty, questioning His wisdom at every turn.
Brothers and sisters, as His children in modern days, we also have the immense privilege of knowing how God has kept His promise. He has forever secured our salvation, through Jesus’ death and resurrection. More so than the Israelites, we should understand why we can quiet ourselves, in our knowledge of Christ.
Father God, inscribe Psalm 131 more and more
onto our hearts. Help us to learn how to humbly rest, as we trust in Your power to fulfill Your promises. We may take a lifetime to still our hearts – as preacher Charles Spurgeon said,
Psalm 131 is “one of the shortest to read,
but one of the longest to learn” –
but keep reminding us, and keep us in hope,
even amidst suffering. Help us to desire the peace we can have, as we lie in Your arms –
our loving and faithful Father God. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
By Delwyn Goh – MINDEF Research Officer
Reproduced from MCF 50th Anniversary Commemorative Publication