The Rest of the Weaned Child

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It has been said that ‘Humility is a virtue that one lost when one thinks that he has it.’ How would you respond when a person say: “I am humble.”? Hmmm… not a picture of humility, is it? But we have heard of the phrase: “I am humbled….” This one sounds more humble, does it not?

David, the shepherd-boy-turned-king penned this psalm:

Psalm 131
1 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.

How does one humble himself before the Lord? How did David declare his humble state of mind and his meek stand of heart? He did not concern himself with ‘GREAT’ things – things that are too hard for him to grasp or understand. What are these ‘great’ things? Perhaps, things of the Lord? Things that only his Lord knows and understands. A humble person admits that there are things too great for him – there are matters that are too difficult for him to handle or understand. After this declaration of ignorance – that of not knowing, comes the more descriptive declaration of innocence: innocence of a young child.

2 Surely I have composed and quieted my soul;
Like a weaned child rests against his mother,
My soul is like a weaned child within me.

This metaphor aptly describes the humble stance of dependence – that of a weaned child resting in the bosom of his mother. How does one stay in a state of peace and calm? How does a person free himself from the struggles to know more or understand better things that are too great and too hard to grasp? Peaceful rest is found in the stillness of the soul. It is like the picture of a weaned child resting in his mother’s arms.

What does wean mean? To wean is to accustom (a baby) to food other than its mother’s milk. It also means to accustom (someone) to managing without something on which they have become dependent or of which they have become excessively fond.

A weaned restful child is a picture of dependent independence. He is now able to eat food other than his mother’s milk yet he is still dependent on his mother for rest and comfort. This is a paradox of a restful dependent soul that is not proud yet takes pride in being free from things that are too great to grasp.

3 O Israel, hope in the Lord
From this time forth and forever.

Hope… hope in what or more importantly, who? Hope in the Lord… for how long? from the present to the future. Hope is a positively pleasant expectation of things to come… hope that things do get better.

So a humble person is one who accepts his limitations and finds rest and hope in the Lord – the God who knows great things, the Lord who gives rest and the Lord of eternity! Amen.

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