The story is told about a woman who was riding a train who struck up a conversation with the little girl sitting next to her. The lady was concerned because the girl was all by herself and didn’t seem to have anyone attending her. The little girl was only five years old. At one point the woman asked, “Why child, are you not afraid to be riding all alone in this car?” The little girl began to giggle.
This little girl had no reason to be uneasy because she knew that she was always in the constant care of the one who loved her.
This story illustrates in a beautiful way how we should always be trusting in the Lord. Our Heavenly Father is the sovereign conductor of the universe. As we thunder through this world and face the trials that we do, it is important that we remember that we are always under the constant eye of Almighty God.
In this life we a flurry of misery and mayhem, but in those times of flux, we are to emulate the simple faith that this little girl did. Our Heavenly Father governs and sustains all things, and as His children must in His sovereign care.
This is why Psalm 131 is so wonderful. This psalm is all about that very thing. In this Psalm David recounts for us his trust in the sovereign care of God. And, as he does so, he shows us what true faith looks like. He shows us that if you are really trusting in the sovereign care of God, your life will be marked by three specific attributes, which are a humble spirit, a peaceful demeanor, and a reliable witness with others.
If you are trusting in God's sovereign care, then one of the things that will stand out in your life is your humility.
I. Humility 
The Psalm begins with three negations. Each one is a renunciation of some kind of pride. They are expressions of humility because each statement is a recognition of his limitation.
At the very outset he humbly acknowledges the limits of his personal jurisdiction. He says, “O Lord, my heart is not lifted up.” He begins by going right to the core of his being. He focuses on the heart. And if you have a heart that is lifted up, it means that it is raised higher than it should be. It has taken the place of God.
For instance, in the book of 2 Chronicles we read about King Uzziah. He was a good king, but it says that after he became strong, his heart was lifted up. He lost sight of the fact that he was a king to be in charge of civil things and he went in to the house of the Lord and started fiddling with the incense. That was the priests’ job. It was not in his jurisdiction.
Or you can read about how the Israelites were warned in Deut. 8. God warned them that when they came into the land they would grow economically wealthy. And he said that if they grow fat their hearts may be lifted up and they would forget the Lord. In other words, they would think that they brought themselves this prosperity with their own hands and they would not see it as part of the Lord’s reign over all the earth.
This idea of the heart being lifted up is a way of proud and losing sight of one’s jurisdiction. But in this Psalm he says that has not been the case with him. In essence he says, “I have renounced any claim to be above you, O God.”
And that is where true trust really displays itself. Those who trust the Lord are not control freaks. They are humble enough to acknowledge that they are not in control of everything. They admit that they are mere men have no power in the situation. When it comes to life events and how they transpire, they humbly recognize that that is God’s jurisdiction and not ours.
So you have to acknowledge the limits of your jurisdiction. But if you are trusting in God you also have to acknowledge the limits of your gifts and abilities. Look at the next portion of the verse. He says “my eyes are not raised too high.” This is biblical language describing one who is overly ambitious. He’s out to do something that he is not equipped to do.
Have you ever heard the expression, “His eyes were bigger than his stomach?” It means that you can’t eat everything that you thought you could. That kind of corresponds to what is said here about the eyes being lifted up and having that desire to do more than God has enabled you to do.
My wife and I sometimes watch shows on the home & garden channel. We just watched one about a guy who started all kinds of projects in the house, but never finished any of them. They were getting ready to buy a new house and they had a choice between a move in ready house and one that needed some fixing up. The man wanted the fixer upper. He said he could fix everything that needed fixing. His wife about had a conniption. For 6 years they lived in a house that had several half-finished projects. She didn’t want to live in a construction zone anymore.
Now this man’s eyes were lifted up. He was thinking that he had the ability to do something, when he really didn’t.
Humility is recognizing that you can’t fix something you don’t have the ability to fix. Humility is recognizing the limitation of your physic. And it is a mark of trust when you can humbly say, “Lord, I can’t fix this situation on my own.” Or, “Lord, I have no power to change things.” Maybe it is a medical condition or maybe it is your kids. You’ve done all that you can to teach them and nurture them, and there is nothing more you can do. It’s a heart issue at this point. You simply have to commend it to God’s hands and trust him to work things out.”
The third negation is the one I find most intriguing. He says, “I do not occupy myself with things too lofty for me.” In this statement he humbly acknowledges the limits of his intellect.
He’s acknowledged the limitations of his authority and physical capability. But here he goes one step further admits that some things are just beyond his understanding. And since he has no ability to comprehend them, he doesn’t feel obligated to comment upon them.
Now, when it comes to everyday life, this is just a good virtue to keep in mind. A real man of God shouldn’t comment on things that he is ignorant of or has very little knowledge. If you can’t bake, you shouldn’t tell the baker that he’s doing things wrong or give him suggestions on how to improve his cakes.
It is a mark of pride to pose as an expert you don’t have the foggiest clue about the subject, especially when it comes to God’s rule over your life.
When life happens, there is a temptation to grumble and complain. Do you know what you are doing in that instance? You are acting like you are wiser than God. You are basically telling God that you don’t deserve this or that He is not doing things right.
I love the Shorter Catechism’s definition of Providence. It asks the question, “What is providence?” And it answers by saying, “God’s providence is his most holy, wise, and powerful governing and sustaining all His creation and their actions.” If we grumble or complain, we are dealing with things too lofty for us. We are involving ourselves in intellectual pride.
And a mark of someone who really trusts God will be that he humbly (and quietly) accepts each turn of events as they come. He will realize that God’s all wise plan is being worked out, and in his humility he will acknowledge that it is all for the glory of God.
If you are trusting in God, you will demonstrate that kind of humility. You will renounce every form of pride and rest yourself in the goodness of God’s sovereign care.
And if you are resting in it, you’re life will show it. You will be at rest. You will notice that in verse 2, after describing his humility, he describes his serenity.
II. Serenity 
It starts off by saying, “But I have calmed and quieted my soul.” Here is a picture of complete stillness. His soul is experiencing perfect peace; it’s the peace that surpasses all understanding that the Apostle Paul speaks of. There is no restlessness or agitation because his soul is completely resting in the care of God.
You’ll notice that David uses the imagery of a weaned child to reinforce the kind of serenity that he’s experiencing. A weaned child was probably about 3-4 years old. (I know what you are thinking, a 3-4 year old is not typically the picture of something that is calm and quiet). But the idea is that the child is old enough that he doesn’t need to be nursed, but still completely dependent upon his mother. He doesn’t have to fuss and cry like a little baby because He knows his mother will take care of him.
It is a great picture of complete trust. He gives us a vivid illustration of complete reliance on God’s tender love.
But what should be even more vivid is that this verse tells us that we are typically the greatest impediments to our own peace.
Look at verse 2 again from that angle. Ask yourself, “Who does he say is the source of his peace?” It says, “I have calmed and quieted my soul.” It is interesting that he doesn’t say that God gave him peace. It doesn’t say that God calmed and quieted his soul. We know that ultimately it is God’s hand at work. But the focus isn’t there. It says that David’s calm soul is the result of his own doing. The means that God used to quiet David’s soul was David’s own determination to trust in the Lord.
And I want us to take that to heart. When we are not at peace, we have a responsibility to calm and quiet ourselves.
When we lack peace, we typically will ask God to give it to us. Don’t get me wrong, that’s good to do, but that might not be what we really need to do. The peace that we need might better be achieved through repentance. Instead of asking God to give us peace, we might be better off saying, “God, I am anxious because I do not trust that you are who you say you are. I am all worked up because I do not see you as the one who is perfectly good and perfectly sovereign. Forgive me for that and help me to revel in your greatness.”
Or, we may need to get our eyes off of ourselves or off of our circumstances and begin to concentrate more on who God says he is. Here’s that control freak intuition again. We look to ourselves and we think about our situation from that perspective and we can have no rest because there’s nothing we can do.
But that’s when we need to remember the main tenant of our Reformed theology. God is in control. He is the one who is pulling the levers.
So it might be good in such situations where you are not calmed and quieted to go back to the Scriptures and remember the supremacy of God. The prophet Isaiah says, “He keeps him in perfect peace who’s mind is stayed on Jehovah.” So you need to get your mind stayed on Jehovah. You need to think about some Scriptures that put your mind at ease.
For instance, Isaiah 40 says that God marked off the heavens with a span. A span is simply the length of your hand. It was the main source of measurement before measuring tapes and yard sticks came along. The Bible says that the whole universe is merely one palm length to God. That’s how “big” God is. Do you really then think that your situation is too big for Him?
Or think about what it says in the book of Daniel. In Daniel 4 it says, "All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, But He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; No one can ward off His hand or say to Him, 'What have You done?”
Tsunami’s are my favorite natural disaster. You may remember the Tsunami that hit Japan in 2011 and some of the footage that was captured on film. There was one clip that I saw where a huge tanker ship was picked up by the surge of waters that came rolling in. It looked like it might have been a toy in a bathtub. And that is exactly what it was to God. “He does according to his will among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can ward off his hand.”
It is important though, to get that angle. To fasten your mind upon the supremacy of God. We have to bring these kinds of Scriptures to mind because that’s the only way we will experience the repose that we should.
The key to a calm and quiet soul is embracing the supreme power and infinite kindness of our heavenly Father.
Years ago there was a young man who was a student at Covenant Seminary, a Reformed Seminary in St. Louis. An older man in his church asked if he could hitch a ride to the airport. The young man agreed. The day came for their trip to the airport and the young man ended up, through various events, being delayed. He was extremely late in picking up the older gentleman and as a result he was in quiet a bluster when he arrived. As they sped off towards the airport, of course, they got caught in all kinds of city traffic. This only made the seminary student all that much more flustered. The older gentleman just sat quietly in the passenger seat, enjoying the ride. The young man noticed that his passenger didn’t seem bothered at all the whole ride and he made mention of the gentleman’s composure. The older gentleman said, “Aren’t you a seminary student? Aren’t they teaching you about the sovereignty of God? It was obviously part of his plan that I not get there on time. If I miss my plane, He obviously had alternative plans for me.”
The young man learned more in that car ride than he did at any of his classes.
There is a third mark of trust though. Someone who puts his faith in God’s sovereign goodness will not only possess humility and serenity, he will also have credibility to speak to others.
III. Credibility 
That’s exactly what you see in verse 3. In verse 3 the Psalmist turns his attention away from himself and we see him crying out to his countrymen. The first two words attest to this. He says, “O Israel.”
The Psalmist has an opportunity now to have an audience with his compatriots. And the only reason why he does is because he has composed himself in a respectable way. His humility and his serenity allow him the credibility to speak and be heard.
To whom are you more likely to listen: to someone who’s life is drama, drama, drama—someone who is self-inflated and proud? Or are you more willing to listen to someone who is calm and lowly in spirit—someone who is demonstrating simple trust in God?
When you have that, you are in a position where you cannot just speak, but you can be heard.
And O what a message he brings. As he lifts his voice to the people of God he brings a message of hope. He says, “O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore.”
Hope is basically synonymous with trust, except for this difference: Trust has to do with the present moment. It has to do with the here and now. It is that firm confidence that recognizes the supremacy and authority of Christ at this very second. Hope is basically trust, but it has a reference to the future. It is the same confidence but it is applied to the fulfillment of that which is promised. I trust right now in the Lord and his promise. My hope is in the fact that the Lord will bring those promises to pass.
Well, that begs the question of what that promise is. And I think that this passage gives us an idea. It clues us in by saying, “O Israel, hope in the Lord forevermore.” The promise is eternal life. It is the belief that God will bring all things together for our good and allow us to glorify and enjoy him forever.
And this is an important part of trusting in God. If we are going to trust in God we must not have a short sighted view of God’s work. Our trust must take a panoramic view of things. And we must see all the events of our lives as part of the story that extends far into the distant reaches of the infinite future.
My family drove up to Toledo this past weekend because my daughter had a soccer tournament. And we noticed how the landscape changes so dramatically in just that little bit of time. Here in southern Ashland we are surrounded by the rolling foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The landscape here is perfect for hiking and it is stunning in its sculpture. But if you travel an hour west, things really flatten out. Your site line increases tremendously. As you get further away from here you can see way off into the distance, and sometimes it seems like you can see the end of the earth.
That’s the way we should see our daily lives. We should not just see the mountainous trials that are set before us. We should see them in the context of an ever rolling history. We should see them in the context of the unfolding fullness eternity.
And we must see them that way in order to help others to trust the Lord in their times of trail.
In 2 Corinthians Paul talks about our ministry of comforting one another. He says that we must comfort one another with the comfort that we ourselves have received from the Lord.
And one of the ways we comfort others is through what is said right here. “O Israel, hope in the Lord forevermore.” We should be able to speak to them because we’ve gained the credibility to do so. And as we speak to them we should point them to the sovereign goodness of God as it extends to the far off edges of forever.
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Matt is blessed to be a husband, father, and pastor in Ashland, Ohio.