Oh Lord my heart is not lifted up
My eyes are not raised too high
I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me
But I have calmed and quieted my soul
Like a weaned child and its mother
Like a weaned child is my soul, within me
Oh Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore
It is common for people to feel overwhelmed. We can feel overwhelmed with huge life issues such as the death of a loved one or we can be overwhelmed with smaller issues like that quiz that you forgot that you had tomorrow morning.
Doing work among Muslims can be overwhelming sometimes. The Hui. 15 million people. Most of them have never heard the Gospel. Their huge micromanaging government, their several-thousand-year-old culture, their friends and their family all discourage them from believing in Christ.
They speak Chinese. Oh except for when they discuss religious things… then they add in Chineseified Arabic words because Chinese isn’t a difficult language to learn so we should add in some contextualized version of Arabic. Not to mention the racial tensions between their people group and the majority Han Chinese people group that actually has seen notable spiritual growth in the last several years. Political tensions between countries also makes sharing with nationals hard for foreigners. What should we do?
Strategize? Plan? Study up? Nope. David says we need to quiet ourselves. How so?
Like a soldier prepping for battle with his rifle? Like a snake before it strikes with its venom? Like the calm before the storm with its might? Nope. Like a weaned child with its mother.
Warrior King David. The slayer of thousands… sorry… ten thousands. He says when he’s overwhelmed he settles down like a child with his mother.
This is interesting biblical language. It is rare that feminine imagery is used to describe God. We see this in Isaiah 66:
For thus says the Lord:
“Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river,
and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;
and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip,
and bounced upon her knees.
As one whom his mother comforts,
so I will comfort you;
you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.
Jesus echoes the maternal language: “How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37)
David is appealing to a gentle nurturing side of God his father when he compares himself to a child. A weaned child. This is a child who actually isn’t in need of milk (a practical need). This child wants his mother to hold him for emotional reasons.
He’s coming to God saying that he doesn’t need anything except for God. He’s not occupying himself with things too great for him. He’s quiet. He’s coming to God asking to just be with God. Then there is the last line of his poem.
Oh Israel, hope in the Lord
After David is calmed, quieted and is not occupying himself with whatever is overwhelming him he’s able to then encourage others to simply trust in the Lord. Why? Because that’s exactly what he just started doing.
Strategizing is great. Planning is awesome. Praying and asking God to do specific things is a must. However, one of the main ways the Hui are going to be reached is through disciples who are making disciples. The way to make disciples is to be a disciple. The way to be a disciple is to love the person of God.
If you really want to make disciples that multiply into the nations, go to God for God. Love His person more than His power. Trust in Him. Once you’re trusting in God you will naturally do what David does and begin to passionately call others to do so. Once your challenge to others to trust in God is flowing out of your heart, whatever was overwhelming will still be there but it will be in perspective… smaller than God who is holding you.
In summary: When you’re overwhelmed, go to God for God.
- Pray for workers on the field. Pray that when they are overwhelmed they will reconnect with God in an intimate way so that they can continue their work with genuine passion.
- Pray for the Hui. Pray that as believers around them handle being overwhelmed by running first to the person of God instead of skipping him and heading straight toward the power of God that the Hui would desire an intimate relationship with a real personal Savior.