Psalm 131: A New Orientation

Psalm 131: A New Orientation

When we come before God, what bragging rights do we have? The person with the highest IQ in the world and the infant born yesterday are on a level playing field compared to what God knows. But this is more than acknowledging the distance between Creator and creation. We do not have to rely on our intelligence and abilities to save or give us significance. We do not have to know all there is to know because we are known and belong to a God who does.

Adam and Eve were tempted to believe, “You will be like God,” and that lie has been deceiving us ever since. We may not self-identify as deities demanding sacrifices and overt worship, but we may fall for subtler versions. One variation combines ideas that are very common today:

  • I have no limits.
  • I am sufficient on my own.
  • My worth depends on achieving the above.

Motivational merchandise tells us, “Wish it. Dream it. Do it!,” which sounds remarkably like the prosperity gospel. But wishes and dreams require resources that can run out. Aspirations demand skill and talent that may never be ours. We live in time and space with bodies and minds that are finite.

We have also inherited the cultural myth of the self-made man or woman. A rags-to-riches tale of success where it is possible to make it on our own without owing anything to anyone else. This teaches us that dependence is weakness and a source of shame. But total self-sufficiency is physically impossible for human beings. A baby is born helpless. Aging can return us to a needy condition. And regardless of age, what do we have that we have not received?[1]

God is the only being sufficient in himself. God is omniscient, knowing all things because he is their creator and source. We were meant to live in happy dependence upon him for every aspect of our lives – material and immaterial. Therefore, it should be no surprise that falling for the lie of no limits and no dependence is exhausting. Just look at the different sectors of society where people of all ages are experiencing burn out because of the pressure to live up to impossible ideals. We cannot do it all. We cannot know it all.

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