My heart is not proud, O LORD, my eyes are not haughty. I do not aspire to great matters or things too lofty for me.
I. HE TELLS US WHAT IT IS NOT.
1. Pride of heart is absent from it. "My heart is not haughty." We may say this to our fellow-men, and deceive them by a show of humility; but it is quite another thing to affirm this, as is here done, before the Lord, "to whom all hearts are open, and from whom no secrets are hid" Happy are we if before him we can say this. For pride is destructive of all real happiness: it is continually meeting with rebuffs; nothing people like so much as to take down the man who is haughty of heart. To humiliate him is the keenest delight. If the devil has planted pride in all men's hearts, as he has, God has so ordered the world that every man's hand shall be against such pride.
2. It is free from ambition. "Nor mine eyes lofty." The man's eyes are not forever fixed on and hankering after something higher up in the world than it has yet reached. Blessed is the man who is content with the lot God hath ordered for him, and is solicitous only to be found faithful there.
3. And from presumption. "Neither do I exercise myself," etc. (ver. 1). But how many there are who are forever doing that which the psalmist here disclaims! David's brothers accused him of this, though wrongly, and blamed him for leaving his sheep to come to the battle-field. But though David was innocent of such fault, many are guilty of it. They want to know all mysteries, to be able to explain all that they see around them in God's providence, and all that they meet with in the Scriptures: they want to undertake work which is beyond them, whilst that which is within their power they refuse. They could sweep a crossing, but they want to rule a kingdom; they could manage the one talent, but because they have not the five, the one they have they bury, to their infinite shame and loss.
II. HE TELLS US WHAT IT IS. To have one's soul "as a child that is weaned from its mother." Therefore:
1. It is separation from what it once loved. It is a terrible time for the child when this separation has to be made: the metaphor is as touching and beautiful as it is powerfully expressive. And the soul knows how it once loved the world, not so much, perhaps, the evil things of the world as those that were not evil; but it has come to give them all up, and to be content with what the Lord orders for him. Yet morels it separated from the sinful ways of the world. Once it loved them, but that time is past.
2. And it is not only separated from them, but has ceased to desire them. The child is happy and at rest, though no longer allowed that in which it once so delighted. The very desire is gone.
3. And this is not through any disappointment, chagrin, or disgust with the world. Some men rush from the world in anger because of the way it has treated them. But this is not the motive here: such are wrenched from the world rather than weaned from it.
4. Nor either is it the relinquishment which comes from satiety with the world's pleasures; - from having had so much that the soul has come to care no more for it, its sweets clog and nauseate rather than give pleasure.
5. Nor from want of capacity to enjoy what the world has to offer. But it is a willing abandonment of that which once it delighted in - the world's pleasures, profits, honors, comforts, as well as its more questionable belongings.
III. HOW WAS THIS BROUGHT ABOUT?
1. It was not self-produced. No child ever weaned itself.
2. It has been the Lord's work. By his Holy Spirit and his providence he has wrought this wondrous change. Hence we have come to find that what once delighted us so much fails to do so now. The world has become embittered to our taste. Our God has separated us from what we loved and clung to; there was no chance of our voluntarily giving it up, and so God took it away. And he has given us what is better far than that which we have lost (cf. Psalm 63.). Higher, purer joys are ours. Also he has blessed our own endeavors after self-denial and renunciation; he has "worked in us to will and to do,' etc.
3. And the result is most blessed. The calm quiet and stillness of the soul; its freedom from fret; its heavenly peace.
IV. WHAT THIS EXPERIENCE LEADS TO. A delight in God, and a conviction of his love and faithfulness, which make him call upon all his countrymen to hope in the Lord. When the soul has this experience, it cannot but commend the Lord to others. It must bear its testimony. - S.C.
2 Samuel 6:21, 22). Equally well the psalm may agree with other situations in his history. Disclaiming pride, showing humility, and recommending hope in the Lord, it is a permanent song of Israel, suitable for all seasons. From the point of view of those for whom the Songs of Ascents were collected, a meaning of this psalm seems to be that, though brought back to their own land, yet the Israelites must not be a haughty and defiant people. Pride is a disease of the heart. David offers a sound heart to the Lord. "Lord, my heart is not haughty. In the same way he submits himself to the Physician in Psalm 139:23, 24. It is like Peter's appeal (John 21:17). Lowliness is recommended throughout the Bible in statements, precepts, and examples; and passages which show the danger of pride proclaim the blessedness of humility. Without it nothing is pleasing to God. Our incarnate Lord taught it by example, symbol, and speech (Matthew 18:1-6; Mark 10:13-16). Childlikeness is not childishness, but the halo of the saint, the likeness of the angel, the mind that was in Christ. A subdued and quiet spirit is serenity at home, equanimity in business, wisdom in learning, God's pursuing smile. The character of the weaned child before the Father of spirits should be retained in youth, through manhood, and into age, growing more and more in heavenly promise. Why should not the watchful soul, ransomed by the Son, endued with the Spirit, loved by the Father, be childlike to the end? O Wisdom of God, our Pattern and Saviour, whose love surpasses that of women, and on whom we more depend than the weaned child on his mother, we would listen to Thy guiding voice, cling to Thee with even and peaceful hearts, and be little children in Thy protecting arms (Psalm 18:27; Psalm 51:17; Psalm 138:6; Proverbs 11:2; Proverbs 16:19; Proverbs 18:12; Proverbs 22:4; Isaiah 57:15; Micah 6:8; Matthew 11:29; Matthew 23:12; Luke 18:14; Romans 12:3, 10, 16; Ephesians 4:2; Philippians 2:3; Colossians 3:12; James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:5).
Lord, my heart is not haughty.I. NEGATIVE.
1. Freedom from superciliousness.
2. Freedom from restlessness.
3. Freedom from worldliness.
1. To have the soul fixed on the supremely desirable for ever.
2. To have the soul fixed on the attainable for ever. Is the Lord desirable? Aye, supremely so. Is He attainable? Undoubtedly. He comes within the reach of all that hunger and thirst after Him.
(David Thomas, D. D.)
(E. J. Robinson.)
Nor mine eyes lofty.
Neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or1. The deep things of God should be approached by us with all lowliness of heart; and they should be studied, as it were. on our knees. There are mysteries in the Divine nature which cannot be understood (Job 11:7). An inscrutable darkness rests on all those points where the Divine and the human elements come into contact. The purpose or the foreknowledge of God: how can it be reconciled with our responsibility? How can the Eternal Spirit touch the springs of the heart, and move them at His pleasure, without destroying the moral freedom? How can the Divine and the human natures meet together without confusion, so as to form the one person of our adorable Redeemer? A loving humility is of more value here than theological science. If we would understand Divine things we must first love them, and place ourselves under the teaching of the Holy Spirit. One cannot admire enough the prayer of Anselm, a profound divine of our own country, in the eleventh century. "I do not seek, O Lord, to penetrate Thy depths. I by no means think my intellect equal to them: but I long to understand in some degree Thy truth, which my heart believes and loves. For I do not seek to understand that I may believe; but I believe, that I may understand."
2. Meanwhile, amidst this partial darkness, there are two topics of consolation.(1) On all matters connected with our salvation, whatever difficulties may exist in theory, there are none in practice.(2) What we know not now, we shall know hereafter.
1. Who can understand the mysteries of Providence? They are too high for me. Here is a soul all purity, and yet God seems to frown upon that poor life more and more. That life has no opportunity, no home, no work, no joy, no song. Oh, it is sad! How is it? We cannot tell; we must wait; in centuries to come we shall know. But I have noticed that even such a soul complains less than the people who look upon it. The soul has its own inmost delights; it says — It is well; I must wait for the Lord patiently, and at last I will see why it was; meanwhile, I have bread to eat that the world knoweth not of" there is a general impression that I am forsaken, but in my soul I know that God is with me. This is a mystery of grace. God's children are not so forsaken as they sometimes appear to be; the Lord knoweth His own, and He will not deny His own autograph, His own seal of love.
2. Who can understand Providence itself? It is its own greatest mystery. There is a greater mystery than the mysteries of Providence, and that greater mystery is Providence itself. The greatest mystery is God. What is Providence? Shall we break up the word into provideance? "Provide" — it is the word of a housewife; provide — see for, prepare for, arrange for; they will be back presently from the plough, have the meal ready; from the school, be ready with the little feast; from abroad, have the welcome ready prepared. This is providing for, seeing for, seeing after, being eyes to the blind and feet to the lame. This is the mystery of the Divine rule. It is too high for me.
3. But need we go so far away as to speak of the mysteries of Providence and of Providence itself? There is a mystery quite as great, and that is me itself. Who am I? What? Whence come? What is this life, this palpitation, this perpetual wonder and mystery? I think, I pray, I disbelieve, I harden myself into distrust; I have said, in moments of madness, "There is no God." Why, I am a mystery myself; the me stands next to the God in mysteriousness. If men would heed this doctrine they would be quieted often. Why go out of themselves to find mystery? The greatest mystery is at home — your own soul. Understand man, if you would understand God. So then we are humbled down into little services, domestic ministries, fraternal action of sympathy and healing and assistance. Yes, that is so. We do not need our wings yet. There is no humiliation in growth. Let us realize this doctrine and be sober-minded. Let us do just what little we can do. Yet it is not little, but very much; for God directs it, God accepts it, man needs it; all love is a gift Divine.
4. Here is a lesson to those who have great spiritual ambitions; men who want to be great readers of Divine mysteries, of Providence, of the plans and purposes of God. The Voice says — By and by, in a century, in a millennium, thou shalt see God. This is a hidden hope; this is not a mere sentiment, it is an inspiration, a source of strength, a great confidence; hold it and be strong. And here is a lesson to those who want to push their inquiries too far here and now. There be those who say to the preacher, and the teacher, and the expositor — How so? Explain this; what about this mystery? What is the answer to this great question? The answer is — Wait: what thou knowest not now, thou shalt know hereafter.
5. Here is a great lesson for all those of us who wish to live to-day, simply, earnestly, usefully. A man may stretch himself so high to see things beyond the stars that he may fall over the next stumbling-block: it should be ours to look around us, and below us, and see what we can do that is useful. Do not be the great man, the grand, mysterious soul, the cloud-flier, the planet, discoverer and wanderer, but keep thee near the shore, and keep thee near the haunt of poverty, and the bed of pain, and the nursery of childhood, and the school where ignorance seeks to be taught; be faithful in few things, and God will make thee ruler over many things.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
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