Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Mind Not High Things

"A Song of Ascents. Of David.
O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore." - Psalm 131:1-3 ESV

Such a good psalm.

One key to apply the wisdom expressed in it is to understand the context. Songs of ascent were sung on the uphill journey to Jerusalem on the way to one of the feasts. At points in Jewish history they were sung going up the steps to the temple. Tradition says that some groups would stop on a step and sing a psalm and then move to the next step and sing another one.

The Hebrew word translated 'too great' is gadowl (Strong's H1419) and it means great in magnitude.

In a way this is the simplification we long to achieve when we go on a special trip like a wedding in another city, a vacation or a trip to a fair. The psalmist isn't saying they never mind high things or attempt large or complicated tasks they are saying that this is not the time to do those things because the family, with other families, is traveling to Jerusalem and it in a time for worship, fellowship and a narrowing of purpose.

It is also time to have a weaned soul that can endure discomfort knowing the provision is coming like a child that sees a schedule for feeding and is not driven and ruled by it's hunger to react and demand in panic.

"So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his... For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." - Hebrews 4:9-10, 12-16 ESV

There is a rest to enter into. There is a throne to go boldly towards. On this trip things are simplified. The truth that is God's sword cuts and divides so that motives and intentions are defined and visible. Attitudes become evident on trips like these. We are not mentally wrestling with large luggage that breaks our back. We travel light and have what we need. We pack with purpose knowing when we are going and why we are going there.

We have a destination and we worship as we go and say, 'hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore' because we value the pilgrim life and the vacation journey.

The high things are for another time because when we function in God's word and simplicity we get definition that exposes and illuminates the light burden of being yoked up with Jesus. The word of God whittles that large unmanageable thing into smaller manageable parts.

Jesus has passed through the Heavens already. He has moved past principalities and powers and sits at our destination. We can rest going there also.


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