You’re So Vain, You Probably Think This Psalm Is About You

David was passionate about leading his friends to acceptably worship the Holy God

In the midst of his discomfort, David is finding comfort in the LORD, and he longs for his children and people to do so as well. All true worshipers should humble themselves before the mighty hand of the Lord. For it is always better for one to humble oneself, than to be forcefully humbled by the loving God of discipline.

 

David, like almost every other hero in Scripture, is a complex figure. He is legendary in his worship and faithfulness. He is also a man who carries with him a reputation for committing great iniquity. His pride results in the defilement of Bathsheba and death of their son. His haughtiness continues on and results in the murder of Uriah. Later, at the end of his reign, his self-centered arrogance continues to show itself, and with his unacceptable census 70,000 Israelites are killed. (2 Samuel 24)

However, David is a man after God’s own heart. He is not one who camps in the valley of wickedness forever. He is like the Prodigal Son who realizes his sin, his misery, his consequences, and his loving Heavenly Father who forgives sin. So David humbles himself, and with a contrite heart seeks reconciliation with his Lord.

Then, on a better day, David composes a contemporary ballad to be used in congregational singing. He is passionate about leading his friends to acceptably worship the Holy God:

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)

His lips are humbled; they will not be singing his own praise today, but giving honor and glory to God.

His hands are humbled; they will not contribute to his sin, but will be instruments of God and used to write a timeless Psalm for corporate meditation.

His heart is humbled; he loves God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength and has less room for self-adoration at the present time.

His eyes are humbled; his perspective is not one who looks down on others, but one whose head is bowed and contrite.

His walk is humbled; he does not occupy himself with being so high, mighty, and pretentious.

His soul is humbled; like a child who has sought ultimate satisfaction from his mother’s breast, so David has sought ultimate satisfaction from temporal treats. And as a child is discomforted at the age of weaning, so he too has been discomforted. Pleasure, profit, praise, possessions, and power have not brought lasting contentment.

However, in the midst of his discomfort, David is finding comfort in the LORD, and he longs for his children and people to do so as well. All true worshipers should humble themselves before the mighty hand of the Lord. For it is always better for one to humble oneself, than to be forcefully humbled by the loving God of discipline.

Joseph A. Franks IV is a minister in the Presbyterian Church in America and is Pastor of Palmetto Hills Presbyterian Church in Simpsonville, South Carolina. This article first appeared on his blog, and is used with permission.