The Songs and Their Solution

 •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 10
Of the 150 Psalms two of the shortest are 131 and 133; but they are spiritual gems of the inspired word. Each is a song of degrees of David. In the first of them we see Christ; in the other His brethren.
Surely only He could say that He was without the pride of the natural heart; only He could disclaim every scornful look. None but Himself could court the gaze of the Searcher of hearts, saying, "Jehovah, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty." What a lesson this for His saints. If ever there trod upon earth one in the form of our humanity who was entitled to carry a lofty mien, and to take in hand its great matters, it was He who voluntarily accepted the lowest place, and who said, "I am meek and lowly in heart;" the One who did neither strive nor cry, and whose voice was not heard in the streets! He made himself of no reputation, but took a bondsman's form, and humbled Himself therein unto absolute obedience, even unto death What a study for every true disciple is His Nazariteship, and His emptying Himself for that deep, deep descent which none can measure but He, for none ever made it save Himself; that unequaled stoop from God's eternal throne down to the place and the circumstances of penury, suffering, and shame, entitling Him unaffectedly to say, " My heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty."
Our first lesson then is one of lowliness; the second is separatedness. "Surely I have behaved and quieted myself as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child." Again are we struck with the fitness of these words in His lips How often, when we read this language, and much more of like import, we have to say, How true to the letter is all this of the eternal Son of the Father in His incarnate nature, God's lovely man upon earth But when we ask ourselves if it be equally descriptive of His disciples, our own hearts rebuke us, we are self-condemned, and have to confess with dismay that our following Him has been sadly like that of Peter-" afar off." But let us gaze with admiration upon Himself, and acknowledge in what divine perfection the Psalmist's utterance found its unqualified answer in the Lord Jesus 1 He who learned obedience by the things which He suffered also trod the path of practical separation-the unworldly One, the heavenly Stranger-who equally, amid attraction and distraction, behaved and quieted Himself "as a child that is wearied of his mother." The One who could truly say, as to experience, " My soul is even as a weaned child." It is indeed a beautiful lesson for faith; but again are we smitten with the conviction how imperfectly we have learned it One who is really weaned, we must observe, is not simply cut off from nature's springs, but has lost all his former relish for them; and has acquired in its place a new-born taste for the more solid food that is adapted for growth and maturity. Must we not admit that most of us are little, if at all, beyond that cutting off from the world-that which is of the earth earthy-which arises from the discovery that it is no longer allowable to us or consistent with the path of faith; but whose hearts linger over it, and whose appetite has never been eradicated? It is no little measure of attainment then, when neither cynically nor stoically, but solely because the heart is captive in glory with Christ, we pass by all that the world presents to the observing eye, the appreciative ear, the educated mind, the cultured taste-unattracted, unaffected, undetained! And doubtless more especially is that so in the case of those whose means enable, not to say permit, them to indulge and gratify what the most delicate and refined feeling alone seems so laudably to suggest. Thus how small the number of those who have positively turned away from nature's springs, having no longer any zest for her attractions, because of the excellence that has been found in that new and spiritual food by which Christ Himself is practically appropriated more and more by the soul; who, passing along the moving scenes of daily life, know how to refuse the world's good equally with the world's evil; before whom its brightest things are lusterless and its gavest scenes joyless, because of " the glory of that light " which has eclipsed everything but itself, and closed our eyes to all but Him who is its center and its source. It is these alone who can truthfully say-
" This world is a wilderness wide!
I have nothing to seek or to choose;
I've no thought in the waste to abide;
I've naught to regret nor to lose."
Few indeed are they whose affections are so wrapped up with Himself that without hyperbole they can affirm-
" 'Tis the treasure I've found in His love
That has made me a pilgrim below."
Only such can fittingly use the language of our psalm, "Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child!"
With manifest consistency there ensues confidence in the Lord, which is our third lesson. " Let Israel hope in Jehovah, from henceforth and forever." Nothing is so conducive to confidingness in Jehovah as the being weaned from natural things. The heart is free then to turn to Him who is invisible, and confidence in Himself is engendered and increased. And who is our great exemplar in this, also, but that blessed One who, in the same hour in which He pronounced woes upon the guilty cities which had witnessed His mighty works, and the unbelief of which had made them a waste and a wilderness to Him, rejoiced in spirit as He turned His sorrowful eyes upward saying, " I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth " (the heaven of His glory and joy, and the earth of His shame and sorrow), "that thou Nast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and past revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight." Could there, be a finer utterance or one of a deeper and more touching pathos? And how divinely does it exhibit Him as a child weaned from His mother (Israel and her cities) to find His meat in doing the will of Him that sent Him, and His peculiar joy in the revelation of His Father to the babes!
The fitting sequel we find in Psa. 133 The Spirit of God is there delineating the grace and the beauty of unity among saints, the brethren of Christ, a term applied both to the Church and to the remnant (Compare Matt. 28:1010Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me. (Matthew 28:10) with 25: 40) The first verse embodies the proposition; the second and third yield suited illustrations. Nothing could be higher in moral beauty than the first of these. (v. 2) The Spirit's unity is surely suggested; and the precious, holy anointing oil clearly prefigures the Holy Ghost Himself descending from the mitered head of the true Aaron (see Heb. 2:99But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. (Hebrews 2:9)) down to the very fringe of His garments. Nor is the illustration less appropriate than beautiful; for the saints should surely be to Christ as the flowing robes of His adorning, each having received the Holy Ghost-an unction from the Holy One-first poured out upon His person, and then having been a second time received by Him, descending from Him, the Head in Glory, upon the members of His body down to the very least. Nor is the closing verse less suggestive of the breadth of the stream by-and-by. When all His paths shall drop fatness! when the nation shall be united in Jehovah's land; when Israel and Judah shall dwell together as brethren; when, as the dew condensing on the mountain slopes of Hermon and of Zion, the Spirit shall be poured out from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest. (Isa. 32:1515Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest. (Isaiah 32:15)) Then, and not till then, shall He see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied!
" Lord, haste that day of cloudless ray,
That prospect bright, unfailing;
Where God shall shine, in light divine,
In glory never fading."
W. R. D.