Today’s Lectio Divina: Psalm 131. (MsgB)
A Pilgrim Song.
God, I’m not trying to rule the roost, I don’t want to be king of the mountain.
I haven’t meddled where I have no business or fantasized grandiose plans.
I’ve kept my feet on the ground, I’ve cultivated a quiet heart.
Like a baby content in its mother’s arms, my soul is a baby content.
Wait, Israel, for God. Wait with hope. Hope now; hope always!
I love it when instructions are simple and direct. Like when my wife tells me how to warm up a slice of pizza.
Step One: Put pizza slice in microwave. No foil, stupid!
Step Two: Hit the 30-second button.
Step Three: Remove pizza and eat.
Three easy steps to a simple lunch.
So it is with Psalm 131. Three verses. Three easy-to-follow steps to following God in this lifetime. So easy, even a child can do it. Maybe that’s why this Psalm is included in the 15 Songs of Ascent. As I see it, this one was written for simple people and old guys like me. People who don’t want a complicated, 500-page manual for successful Christianity. Just three steps. Easy as making a pizza lunch in your microwave. Let’s review.
Step One: K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple, stupid!) In other words, forget about that voice inside you that says I’m gonna be the next Billy Graham, Rick Warren or Warren Buffet. Stop your stupid pipe-dreams that drive you to being the biggest, brightest and best banana in the bunch. Winning the lottery would be nice, but quite honestly, I’m much better off just taking the basic talents God has given me and simply going out each day with one goal. How about if you and I just focus on allowing the Lord to help us love the ‘hell’ out of anyone and everyone we meet. Keep it simple and basic, folks. Love your God. Love people around you. Repeat process.
Step Two: Cultivate a Quiet Heart. This, quite honestly, is not an easy assignment. Cultivating something means giving time, energy and resources toward the development of that thing you are hoping to cultivate. A quiet heart does not come as standard equipment for most folks I know, myself included. So when the Psalmist says that he or she is “baby content,” sadly I picture myself more as a screaming little infant who won’t shut my trap until God gives me exactly what I want! So, let me be honest here. It really hasn’t been until the last couple years when God started helping me to put a plug in my mouth and simply learn to sit and be quiet for more than ten minutes at a time. Those in ministry are particularly hard to train in cultivating quiet hearts. But…it is possible. If we set our minds and intentions toward it!
Step Three: Wait with Hope. Again, this is a choice I must make. Since much of this lifetime is spent waiting, it’s too bad I haven’t practiced the fine art of waiting with hope! Sadly, most of my life, if I’ve been willing to wait at all, it’s been with worry and anxiety…not with hope. Hope, you see, is a gift from God. Worry and anxiety are not. Hope springs eternal in the heart of our Creator. Worry and anxiety are birthed out of the darkness of my soul. One looks to the future with anticipation and joy, while the other is full of dread, and doom-n-gloom. My choice today, since I have to wait for something, is to choose my friends carefully. Would I rather wait on the corner with my old buddies Worry and Anxiety? Or maybe I could just walk down the street another block and spend my time waiting for the God-bus hanging out with Hope?
So there you have it my friends. As simple as warming up a slice of pizza in the microwave.
- Cultivate a Quiet Heart.
- Wait with Hope.
Excuse me. I just heard my stomach growl. Better go grab one of those slices of pizza in the frig and try out my new three-step plan.
My prayer: Father God, thank You that Your Word is pretty simple and direct at times. I so appreciate short and sweet instructions. Now empower me, Holy Spirit, to live out these three basic steps, giving me both the grace and patience to make my busy life and active mind conform to Yours. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: How have I betrayed these three simple steps found in Psalm 131 over the last few months? Am I pushing hard to become the biggest and best? Am I running my mind and heart in overdrive? Am I choosing to wait with worry and anxiety at my side? What might it look like today to intentionally step out of the traffic and allow God to simplify my life?
So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?
Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Contemplative Activist network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.
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