Thursday, July 11, 2013

Resting on the Ascent

“A Song of Ascents, of David. O LORD, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; nor do I involve myself in great matters, or in things too difficult for me. Surely I have composed and quieted my soul...” (Psalm 131:1,2a).

This isn’t a mystical quietism; after all, this is a song being sung, set in the midst of a collection of songs to be sung. They are to be sung on a pilgrimage commanded by the Law, the heart-meditation of God’s covenant people (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:2; 119:97; 1 Timothy 4:13,15). This is not a mystical quietism.

This isn’t a refusal to grasp for God with the mind – such would be a violation of the command to “love the Lord your God with all your...mind” (Matthew 22:37//Mark 12:30//Luke 10:27). In fact, David himself will give charge to his son Solomon to “know the God of your father, and serve Him with...a willing mind...if you seek Him, He will let you find Him” (1 Chronicles 28:9). This is not a falsely humble (read: lazy) refusal to think.

So what is David’s song teaching us as pilgrims wandering this world toward the fullness of Zion?

“ a weaned child rests against his mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me. O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forever” (131:2b,3). Nourished to healthy growth and yet still relying on the presence of the parent in unwavering love and trust, this is David’s song for the people he is shepherding as king.

So, Church, grow. Grow, though, without losing your loving dependence on your heavenly Father. Humbly learn from the Spirit by the Word every day as He is conforming you (including your mind) to the image of the Son (1 Corinthians 2:16).

“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil...beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking this way. For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end [of the “Ascent,” of which our song today sings], so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Hebrews 5:12-14; 6:9-12).
"Fish and Her Baby," by Vera Viglina

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