Psalm 131:2 (NKJV)
2 Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, Like a weaned child with his mother; Like a weaned child is my soul within me.
A couple weeks ago we spoke of the lesson that infants teach us in their hunger. Just as infants cry and pull at their mother’s clothing to get at the milk, so we as the people of God are to hunger and thirst for the Word of God. We are to long for the pure milk of the Word that by it we may grow in respect to salvation. But children aren’t always quite so passionate about eating. Is there anything to learn when they grow up a bit? According to the psalmist the answer is yes.
Psalm 131 is one of the songs of ascent, sung when the men of Israel would journey to Jerusalem for one of the three annual feasts. God had commanded that the men of Israel appear before Him in Jerusalem three times per year. While sometimes whole families were able to travel to Jerusalem, frequently because of the cost and inconvenience involved, only the men were able.
Imagine, then, the fears that would beset families as the men prepared to go. The men would worry about their wives and children – will they be well when I return? will enemies attack while I am gone? The women would worry about their husbands, their children, themselves – will my husband return? what will I do if he doesn’t? what will I do if our enemies attack? how will I protect our home? Fear was a great temptation.
But God had not left them without assurance – He had promised them that He would take care of them during these times; that He would be their Protector and Defender. Exodus 34:23-24 declares, “Three times in the year all your men shall appear before the Lord, the Lord God of Israel. For I will cast out the nations before you and enlarge your borders; neither will any man covet your land when you go up to appear before the Lord your God three times in the year.” God promised that He would protect their homes as they went up to Jerusalem. And so the question became – will we trust Him, will we believe Him?
Around this question began to swirl a collection of songs, called the psalms of ascent. These are Psalms 120-134 in the Psalter. These psalms were especially sung in this time when the men of Israel were called to leave their homes and journey to Jerusalem.
Psalm 131 was sung to move the Israelites to patient trust in the promise of God. And notice the heart of the meditation: Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, Like a weaned child with his mother; Like a weaned child is my soul within me. The psalmist was a careful student of the people of God – not just the big people, but the little ones as well. And in the life of weaned children, he learned what we are to be like in times of trial.
As husbands and fathers made the trip to Jerusalem and feared for their families, as wives, mothers, and children remained at home and feared what could face them with the men away and their enemies surrounding them, this psalm would have been a great comfort and encouragement. What do we learn from weaned children? To be calm and quiet in the presence of our provider – no longer pulling and yanking at our mother’s breast to get that food. No instead now we know that our mother cares for us, we know that she shall feed us, we no longer fear that she will forsake us; for she has demonstrated her love for us time and again and we trust her.
This is the message learned from weaned children in our text today – our attitude to the Lord God is to be like this little child toward his mother. But often it is quite the opposite. We fuss and whine; we yank at the blouse, pull at the bra, trying to convince God to feed us when he has already promised to do so.
So the call of weaned children is this: trust God, he will provide for you, he will protect you, he will fulfill his promises. Entrust yourself to him and to His loving care. Reminded that we have failed to trust Him, let us kneel and confess our sin to Him.