Having chosen to enter a season of quietness, stepping back from public view, David examines the effect of humility on his soul. Psalm 131 contains several curious word pictures.
Was that capable and passionate man of war irritated and out of sorts because he had been reduced from captain of the team to spectator? Not in the least. He declares:
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.
I don’t find the slightest irritation in his words. The term “composed” means “to be smooth, even, level.” The same Hebrew word used here also appears in Isaiah 28:25 with reference to a farmer’s field that had once been rough and rugged but was now planted and “level.” David is saying that his inner soul is not churning and stormy, but calm and smooth. It is a beautiful description of tranquility and patience. The result is that he is “quieted” within; he is inwardly silent and still.
After the statement declaring his inner calm condition, David gives a tender illustration of a baby quietly resting on its mother—and twice he uses the word “weaned” to describe the child. The little tot no longer strives or frets to get milk from his mother; he’s no longer demanding or restless. All is calm. The roughness of self-will has been smoothed and is now calm and contented.
But wait! This isn’t complete unless you see how the symbolic analogy fits into David’s experience. Let’s do that by answering three questions:
- Who is the child? It is David’s inward being.
- Who is the mother? It is his public life.
- From what is he weaned? Clearly, from the affirmation of notoriety.
David no longer craves attention. He is weaned from the desire for prominence, the place of honor—the limelight. “I no longer need that,” says David. “I’m weaned!”
The term “weaned” also carries the connotation of “mature.” David no longer needs the mother’s milk of public attention because he is mature enough for solid food gained through humility. Note that the child is still related to the mother. David’s position as king necessarily places him in the public eye. He cannot carry out his duties without standing before people. However, like a mature son, he has cut the apron strings. He doesn’t depend upon mom anymore.
Maturity comes when we prefer the solid food of humility over the mother's milk of public attention.— Charles R. Swindoll Tweet This
Adapted from Charles R. Swindoll, Living the Psalms: Encouragement for the Daily Grind (Brentwood, Tenn.: Worthy Publishing, a division of Worthy Media, Inc., 2012). Copyright © 2012 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved. Used by permission.