Like a Weaned Child
(H) A Song of Ascents. Of David. (1) Yahweh, my heart is not proud. My eyes are not haughty. I do not occupy myself with great matters or things beyond my capacity, (2) but I have calmed and quieted my soul like a weaned child with its mother. Like a weaned child (is) my soul within me. (3) Wait for Yahweh, Israel, from now on and forever.
Several parallelisms, synonyms, and one major repetition are found in this brief psalm. Note first that David pairs both “my heart...not proud” with “my eyes...not haughty” and “great matters” with “things beyond my capacity” (vs.1). In the next verse two synonyms, “calmed” and “quieted,” introduce the repetition of “like a weaned child with its mother” (vs. 2). Twice “soul” is used in this verse. This brief psalm closes with an exhortation seen many times in the psalms: “Wait for Yahweh” (vs. 3).
I. What I do not do (1)
II. What I do (2)
III. What Israel should do (3)
We demonstrate our faith in Yahweh when we place in his powerful hands everything over which we have no control.
Psalm 131 is the Old Testament counterpart to what Jesus taught his disciples: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 18:3 & 4). The attitude of childlike dependence on a loving parent is at the heart of the relationship we are to sustain with our heavenly Father.
Consider the implications of the metaphor, “a weaned child with its mother.” Most mothers wean children during their first or second year when they have advanced to the toddler stage. The child is learning independence by eating solid food, exploring, and playing with other children. No longer is he a baby, crying for the breast whenever hungry. She is now old enough to wait for mealtimes, yet not old enough to feed herself.
One danger for children at this stage is that they will try to do too much, go too far, become too independent of their parents. This helps us understand what we face in our spiritual growth as we learn to distinguish between what we can do for ourselves as opposed to what we must rely on our heavenly Father to do for us in terms of direction, protection, and provision for our needs. While we are no longer infants, we are certainly not grownups who function independently. Spiritually, we never outgrow our need to depend on the Father’s care.