Homily Fellowship

New Year Day Message

Sunday, 5 January 2020, 11 am


Humble and Trust in the Lord! - Psalm 131


“Humble and trust in the Lord” has become a cliché because of casual overuse.  This common or popular expression by many Christians has been used often without deeper thoughts and commitments.  It has lost its impact on the discipline of a sanctified heart.

This was what Charles Spurgeon said of Psalm 131:

It is one of the shortest Psalms to read, but one of the longest to learn.   It speaks of a young child, but it contains the experience of a man in Christ. Lowliness and humility are here seen in connection with a sanctified heart, a will subdued to the mind of God, and a hope looking to the Lord alone; happy is the man who can without falsehood use these words as his own; for he wears about him the likeness of his Lord, who said, "I am meek and lowly in heart."[i]

Spurgeon had given us the theme of this Psalm:

  • Lowliness and humility are connected to a sanctified heart
  • The will of a sanctified heart is subdued (surrendered) to God
  • The hope of a sanctified heart is put in the Lord alone

This psalm was written by David, the man whom God had made to be a great king of Israel.  Yet, a great King David had many lowest moments of life and he wrote this psalm when he was hurting.  The great king worshipped God with a humble heart.  He was grateful that He could trust God and could talk with Him about unhappy things.  He was thankful to God for His graciousness upon a king who was not perfect.

During our own moments of depressions and hurts, do we humble our hearts before God and pour out to Him?  During moments of success and jubilation (joyful celebration), do we humble our hearts before God and give him thanks?

In this psalm, David expressed his humility, his confidence, and his commitment to perform the will of God.[ii]  This is a Psalm suitable for all of us to begin 2020.  If Psalm 131 be our foundation to spiritual health, we will continue to grow in holiness through this new year in our discipleship journey.  If we remember Psalm 131, in any undesirable situation, we will let these three verses pull us back to refocus our spiritual life.  Humble and trust in the Lord to help us perform the will of God.


Psalm 131 is a continuation of Psalm 130, which contains 8 verses.  King David was crying out to God …

Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord; 2Lord, hear my voice.  Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you. I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word, I put my hopeI wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, … Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.

These are comforting words in David’s prayer …

  • V3-4: When there is a record of sins, we have the hope of forgiveness from God. God forgives us when we honour Him.
  • V5: When we wait upon the Lord, meaning always looking for God’s direction, we are putting our hope in God’s promises, i.e. His Word.
  • V6: Waiting upon the Lord is like us being watchmen or watchwomen – looking with yearning and expectation.
  • V7: Israel, put your hope in the Lord – repeated in Psalm 131 verse 3 – ‘Israel’ is referring to the people of God. If you are the people of God, then put your hope in God.
  • V7-8: Why? Because the Lord’s love is reliable, His love is full of redemption.

Redemption saves us from our sins – there is hope of forgiveness in the Lord.

What kind of heart will receive this hope of forgiveness and redemption?  The three verses from Psalm 131 will speak tremendous truth to people who value the Word of God.

  1. The virtue of a humble heart (131:1)

Lord, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty. I don’t concern myself with matters too great or too awesome for me to grasp.

The word ‘haughty’ means ‘snobbish or arrogant’.  King David had everything to be proud of … his kingdom, his wealth, his wisdom, his power, his possessions … but this man knew all that he had possessed belonged to God, including his heart.  He knew God had chosen him to be the king of Israel.  In this verse, David claimed that he was able to achieve a humble heart. His love of God and his worship of the Lord had kept his heart humble.

Scriptures remind us that “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 – King David would be familiar with this teaching from the Old Testament.  He knew his heart was on display in God’s view all the time.  And so are ours … God looks at the intentions of our hearts all the time.

There are many reminders In the New Testament about the Lord’s expectation of His people’s attitudes, just to retrieve two from James:

  • James 4:6 … “God opposes the proud but shows favour to the humble.”
  • James 4:10 “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

The Life Application Bible give us a comparison between Pride and Humility:[iii]

Pride =

  • overvaluing ourselves and undervaluing others
  • leads to restlessness - makes us dissatisfied with what we have and concerned about what everyone else is doing,
  • keeps us always hungering for more attention and adoration.

Humility =

  • puts others first and allows us to be content with God’s leading in our lives,
  • contentment gives us security so that we no longer have to prove ourselves to others,

The virtue of a humble heart relieves us from concerns or matters that are too great for us to prove ourselves but to rely on God.

Psalm 131 verse 1 inspires us to let humility affect our perspectives to serve God and others.  The next verse teaches us the way to cultivate a humble heart.

  1. The way to a humble heart (131:2)

Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself, like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk.  Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.

David used a child as his model, comparing his soul as a weaned child, he stated that his soul was calm and quiet. The image of a nursing child will suggest ultimate dependence on the mother but the image in this verse suggest a nursing child no longer in need to depend on the mother.  This is a statement of no longer needing the comfort and security a nursing child needs, and yet remaining calm and quiet or peaceful.  It is a soul relieved from the contentment of security at the mother’s side and becoming a soul that is resting contently at the side of God.[iv]  It gives us the picture that a nursing child will be anxious when pull away from the mother but a weaned child, weaned from anxieties from all around, seek security and contentment in the Lord.

This part of Psalm 131 reminds us about Isaiah 49:15 … God’s love is higher than a mother’s love … “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!”

It would not be wrong to consider that weaned child is still a child and Scripture has reference to the Lord’s teaching about childlike faith.  Our Saviour has taught us about humility when He says in Matthew 18:3 … “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”  Like little children, with humble and sincere hearts, we are taught not to be dependable on status and influences to get things going our ways.  We would be dependable upon the Lord to help us get things moving in ways that would benefit us in the long run.

  1. The call to trust in the Lord (131:3)

O Israel, put your hope in the Lord - now and always.

It would be a great challenge for many people when called to move out of self-competent pride into humbleness, to trust the Lord and fully rest on His promises and provisions.  Would it be difficult to believe and practise these two verses from Psalm 46?

  • Verse 1 – “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.”
  • Verse 10 - “Be still and know that I am God!

This is how we can put our hope in the Lord – now and always.

Tracking back to Psalm 130:5 - I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word, I put my hope.  We are called to have confidence in God, to trust in Him, and to put our hope in Him.  A weaned child, a child of God who trust in God does not worry about the future.

I believe all of us have been watching the devastating telecasts of the catastrophic bushfires around our country Australia for months now.  People are suffering … those who lost loved ones, those who lost their properties, those who are fire fighters, those who are in authorities … Would it be easy for anyone to say ‘God ain’t dead!”.

In this story: God Ain't Dead! (written by Multnomah W. Aldrich), the author describes a picture of a burnt down house.[v]  He says:

I am not a connoisseur of great art, but from time to time a painting or picture will really speak a clear, strong message to me. Some time ago, I saw a picture of an old burned-out mountain shack. All that remained was the chimney...the charred debris of what had been that family's sole possession. In front of this destroyed home stood an old grandfather-looking man dressed only in his underclothes with a small boy clutching a pair of patched overalls. It was evident that the child was crying. Beneath the picture were the words which the artist felt the old man was speaking to the boy. They were simple words, yet they presented a profound theology and philosophy of life. Those words were, "Hush child, God ain't dead!"

That vivid picture of that burned-out mountain shack, that old man, the weeping child, and those words "God ain't dead? keep returning to my mind. Instead of it being a reminder of the despair of life, it has come to be a reminder of hope! I need reminders that there is hope in this world.  In the midst of all of life's troubles and failures, I need mental pictures to remind me that all is not lost as long as God is alive and in control of His world.

What is it … a picture or story, an incident or a personal experience … that reminds you that God is still alive?  In this coming new year, we will journey not in a religion, but in building and strengthening our individual relationship with the Lord.  This is the only way for us to know that God is alive amongst us.


May we keep returning to Psalm 131 through this new year to help us focus and refocus.

At the beginning of the sermon, we obtain from Spurgeon the theme of this Psalm:

  • Lowliness and humility are connected to a sanctified heart
  • The will of a sanctified heart is subdued (surrendered) to God
  • The hope of a sanctified heart is in the Lord alone

To humble and trust in the Lord require us to cultivate a sanctified heart.  J.I. Packer says it well, that: in spiritual life, nothing stands still – it is either we grow in humbleness or we grow in pride.  In “Rediscovering Holiness”, Packer says:

The focus of health in the soul is humility, while the root of inward corruption is pride. In the spiritual life, nothing stands still. If we are not constantly growing downward into humility, we shall be steadily swelling up and running to seed under the influence of pride.[vi]

Therefore, as we continue to cultivate our spiritual life through the new year, we will seek to keep moving and moving in the right direction.  May the Lord be our Helper through the ministry of His Holy Spirit.  May we learn to cultivate the virtue of a humble heart and place our total trust in the Lord of hopefulness.

Rev Susan Lee

3 January 2020



Aldrich, Multnomah W.  When God Was Taken Captive (1989) – quoted by James DeLoach, Second

Baptist Church of Houston.

Carson, D.A., et al. New Bible Commentary – 21st Century Edition. Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994.

Leupold, H.C. Exposition of Psalms. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1990.

Wilcock, Michael. The Message of Psalms 73-150. Nottingham: Inter-Varsity Press, 2001.

The Treasury of David by Charles Spurgeon – Psalm 131


[i] http://www.romans45.org/spurgeon/treasury/ps131.htm

[ii] http://www.romans45.org/spurgeon/treasury/ps131.htm

[iii] Life Application Bible, p. 1050-1051

[iv] H.C. Leupold, Exposition of Psalms, 909

[v] James DeLoach, associate pastor of the Second Baptist Church of Houston, quoted in When God Was Taken Captive, W. Aldrich, Multnomah, 1989, p. 24.

[vi] J.I. Packer, in Rediscovering Holiness, said:  quoted in Christianity Today, November 9, 1992, p. 37