“Lord, my heart is not haughty, Nor my eyes lofty. Neither do I concern myself with great matters, Nor with things too profound for me.”
As this short psalm begins to unfold, David celebrates the condition of his heart. He is rejoicing that his heart is not haughty nor his eyes lofty. In other words he does not have an exalted view of himself. There is no indication within the psalm as to when it was composed. If it was written early on, David was a talented young man who was gifted as a musician and a shepherd. His musical talents had landed him a position as the private worship leader for the king. If it was written a little later, David had proved himself a valiant warrior and was in command of Israel’s forces and was the object of the attention of the young maidens in the land. If it was written in a later season, David had become king of the nation and brought Israel to the height of their success. Yet in all of his success he was careful not to become haughty or to have an exalted view of himself. It seems that David always saw himself as that young shepherd boy who sat among the sheep and fixed his eyes upon the Lord.
We live the age of self promotion. We do not need a press agent because we all have access to social media. Many of us spend hours each day coming up with just the right post for Facebook or image for Instagram. We want everyone to think we are the most creative parent, with the most talented children who go on the most imaginative vacations and accomplish the most extraordinary things. We are often guilty of not only have a lofty opinion of ourselves but wanting to make sure that everyone else has that same opinion. Perhaps it would do us good to consider how God views pride and humility.
Proverbs 3:34 “Surely He scorns the scornful, But gives grace to the humble.”
James 4:6 “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
1 Peter 5:5 “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
In the kingdom of God self exaltation is never the road the to take. If we want to experience the grace of God it is found by taking the low place and exalting the Lord and others.
“Seek the Lord, all you meek of the earth, who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden In the day of the Lord’s anger.”
Many things that are highly esteemed in our world have little value in the kingdom of God. We put such a high price tag on appearance, when God tells us that He looks past our temporal frame and into the heart. It use to be, countries were assessed financially by the amount of gold they had in reserve, but God uses that for asphalt in the new Jerusalem. Conversely, much of what is lightly esteemed by man is of the highest value to God. Here we are told of the great emphasis He places upon meekness and humility, two character traits that are not highly valued in our world today.
Meekness is often defined today as a form of weakness. In fact, one dictionary defined it as “spineless”, while another referred to the meek as “lacking strength or courage.” Biblical meekness is not a character flaw, but a strength exemplified in the life of Christ, and developed in the believer, as a fruit of the Spirit. It is perhaps best defined as strength under control. A few years ago I heard a friend of mine illustrate meekness this way. He described a time when he was sitting on a ferry, and across from him sat a man with a Great Dane. This massive creature was sitting quietly at his masters feet, watching him eat an ice cream cone. The man offered it to the dog and its massive tongue consumed the entire thing with one lick. A few moments later a woman approached carrying a little dog in her purse. No sooner had she sat down when the dog jumped out, ran toward the larger dog, and began to yip incessantly. Without a sound the Great Dane, whose head alone was larger than the other dog, leaned forward and blew in the face of the intruder, who turned, ran and hid under the safety of its owners purse. Certainly, in that case, strength was kept under control. We exercise meekness when we do not let our emotions control our lives, but keep them in check by doing the right thing.
Humility comes from a word that means low. It is choosing to take the low place by exalting others above ourselves. It is thinking of the needs of another, above our own. In our world we are told to follow our dreams and not to let anyone stand in our way. I recently saw a post that read “19 reasons to follow your dreams and ignore everyone else.” In the economy of God we are encouraged to do the exact opposite and look out for the interest of others by exalting them above ourselves. This is one of the chief traits seen in the life of Jesus. The Son of God was ever the servant of man. Whenever we see Jesus in the gospels, He is lowering Himself for the sake of others. It is not even surprising that He gets down on the ground and washes the feet of the twelve. By the time we read that story, it is almost expected.
Let’s seek to follow the pattern of Christ and have lives marked by meekness and humility. Certainly those traits will make us stand out in a culture which glorifies self above all else.