A Weaned Child with His Mother

A song of ascents. Of David

My heart is not proud, Lord,
    my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
    or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quieted myself,
    I am like a weaned child with its mother;
    like a weaned child I am content.

Israel, put your hope in the Lord
    both now and forevermore.

Have you ever heard a newborn baby’s cry for milk? There are not many sounds in the world that are as disconcerting.  It is jarring and is meant to be. The mother can be warming up the milk, or preparing herself to nurse, yet a newborn will continue to scream when he is hungry until he is fed. An infant hasn’t learned to trust that his mother will feed him. He believes he must squirm, fuss, and cry to be fed. He is the picture of agitated, restless anxiety. Do his screams produce the milk? No, he is trying to control something that he absolutely cannot control. A baby is powerless to feed himself. His anxious wailings are an attempt to concern himself with things that are beyond his control, as David points out in this psalm. 

By the time a child is weaned and eating solid food, they have learned to trust their parents to feed them. They smell food cooking and know they will be fed when it is dinner time. The King James Version of Psalm 131 translates the word “calmed” in verse two as “behaved.” This gives us the picture of a child who has learned assurance and self-control; they trust their mother to feed them, and that gives them peace and contentment.[1]

David shows us how to trust in the Lord with a calm and quiet soul.  It requires humility to trust our heavenly Father the way a weaned child trusts his mother.  There cannot be arrogance or superiority when we acknowledge we control nothing and that we are totally unable to provide for ourselves. Humility is accepting our place as a dependent child. God alone can and will provide. Believing that we are solely responsible for producing good in our lives, or in the lives of those we love, breeds anxiety and discontent. 

Another metaphor comparing people with babies was used by the Apostle Paul. He said it is only mature, or spiritual, people who can be fed with solid food, “Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready” (1 Cor. 3:1-2).

In the verses immediately prior, Paul explained that spiritually mature people live by the Spirit and have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:6-16). They are able to interpret and discern truth by the Spirit. These are people who know that the things God is planning for them are too wonderful – too great for them to even imagine (Psalm 131: 1b). They are no longer infants because they live dependent on the Spirit and with the mind of Christ. It is the juxtaposition of the Kingdom of God; to think of oneself as independent is to be as an infant, but to know one’s dependence on God is to be mature.  The mature do not try to control things by their own power or interpret things with their fleshly wisdom. They know they must live as weaned children of their Father – without pride, without hubris – knowing they can do all things through Christ and no things without him. 

The spiritual people of Psalm 131 and 1 Corinthians 2-3 are calm and content, completely dependent on God for fleshly provision (food, clothing, shelter) and spiritual provision (discernment, wisdom, power). They do not mistakenly believe that they are producing revelation in their own strength (Eph.1:17). Their lives are spent resting in the satisfaction of dependence on the Spirit of God and hope in him for everything they need. These weaned children have learned that without the mind of Christ, everything in the spirit realm is foolishness to them – salvation, sanctification, discernment, our gifts, the power of God. The natural person (1 Cor. 2:14) cannot accept or understand the things of God. The spiritual person is content, not striving to understand things of God from a natural viewpoint, and not believing that they produce their own spirituality. They trust the Holy Spirit alone to give them understanding of and faith for the “things freely given to us by God” (I Cor. 2:12). 

Peace, contentment, unity, love, and trust are found when our hope is in the LORD. 


[1]God is our Father – Jesus called him Father, even Abba – Daddy. He is the Father with no beginning and no end — eternally generating the Son. Yet, he is not a man. “What is God? God is a Spirit and has not a body like men.” Catechism for Young Children: An Introduction to the Shorter Catechismhttps://reformed.org/historic-confessions/the-childrens-catechism/, Q.9. So, it is always fun to read similes in the Bible where God is compared to a mother as in Psalm 131. In addition to this Psalm there are others who use similes or metaphors of God as a maternal figure, i.e., Deut. 32:18, Isaiah 49:15, Isaiah 66:13, Matt. 23:37.  

Psalm 50

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

In reading Psalm 50 this morning, I was so encouraged and convicted. The LORD will summon the earth for judgment one day. 

The Israelites were worshipping in the manner God had instructed them. He brought no charges against them concerning their sacrifices (v.eight). Yet, they had begun going through the motions rather than worshipping from the heart. The LORD testified against them that their worship had become rote and motivated by duty (v.7).  God has no need for our worship. We don’t worship because of His need (“If I were hungry I would not tell you,” v.12). We worship him by and because of our need!

Our worship cannot be impelled by habit — it must be heartfelt, thankful (“thank offerings”), and displayed by a life of obedience (“fulfill your vows” v.14). It must be grounded in knowledge of our dependence on Him (“call on me in the day of trouble” v.15). That is how we honor him. 

How am I being hypocritical in my daily life of worship? God’s “silence” (v.21) does not indicate approval of how I am living my life. What can I change about my day-to-day (as well as Sunday) worship of the LORD that will make my heart and actions line up?

Honey from the Rock

“But he would feed you with the finest of wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.” Psalm 81:16

This beautiful picture of provision comes at the end of a psalm that reads more like a prophecy (ref: ESV study notes). Asaph’s song begins by commanding us to sing out loud to God, play instruments, and offer exuberant worship. He then transitions into describing how the LORD has delivered Israel and how Israel has not listened to his voice (v.11), so he “gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own counsels” (v.12). This psalm’s description of God’s deliverance explains that the way of blessing is to listen to his voice. Like a father, he wants to fill our mouths, feed us, and satisfy us.

The phrase from verse 16, “honey from the rock” jumped out at me. It reminded me of Moses striking the rock in Numbers 20 and his subsequent banning from the promised land. A glance at the cross references gave a hint in that direction by pointing to Moses’ song in Deuteronomy 32. Here, Moses names the LORD as “The Rock” and verse 13 says, “and he suckled him with honey out of the rock,” giving the picture of Israel being fed. This song the LORD gives Moses is after the infamous incident of Moses striking the rock in Numbers when the LORD commanded him to speak to the rock.

The apostle Paul explains this rock of provision for the Israelites, “for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ” (I Corinthians 10:4). So, we know that Jesus Christ is “The Rock” of Moses’ song, and he is the Rock that provided water for Israel in the desert. Jesus is the “stone the builder’s rejected” that became the “cornerstone”(Psalm 118:22, Matt. 21:42, Mark 12:10, Luke 20:17, 1 Peter 2:4-8). Additionally, he promises living water to those who come to him thirsty (John 7:37). He is the rock from which flows rivers of living water, and of whom we must eat and drink in order to have life (John 6:53).

God’s word to us, Jesus Christ — his redemptive story in the Bible — is also described as bread. He is God’s provision to us. John 6 has the miraculous feeding of the five thousand with a loaf of broken bread, followed by Jesus’ promise that he is the bread of life — the manna from heaven (v.32-35). Manna was described as having a “taste…like wafers made with honey” (Ex. 16:31). There are many other Scriptures that also describe God’s word –his daily bread to us — as honey:

“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103) Psalm 19 describes God’s law as “sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.” Ezekiel’s call from God to speak his word included eating a scroll from God that tasted as “sweet as honey” (Ezek. 3:3). The scroll the apostle John was given was sweet in his mouth but then turned bitter in his stomach with judgment (Revelation 10). So, from the rock which is Christ, he gives us the sweet word — his very self — as provision, mercy, and grace for each day.

The point of Psalm 81 is the imperative to listen and obey God’s voice. Its phrasing and imagery is meant to teach us that Jesus is the Rock and the Word filled with sweetness and provision. The LORD wants to satisfy us, to provide for us by his Son who is the honey-sweet manna, the bread of life, and the living water. He is the scroll that we eat, the words that we hear, and the Rock on which we fall to be broken in pieces in the sacrifice of worship for our King (Matt. 21:44).