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Seeing Things Differently

Psalm 131

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. (New International Version)

Psalm 131 is classified as a psalm of confidence. Charles Spurgeon says that the psalm expresses David's humility, confidence, and commitment to perform the will of God.

I understand that interpretation. But quite honestly, after reading this psalm several times, I felt that it defeats the purpose to claim that you’re humble.

Then I read a different translation of the psalm, this one from the New Revised Standard Version.

O 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 quietened my soul,

like a weaned child with its mother;

like a weaned child is my soul within me.

O Israel, hope in the Lord

from this time forth and for evermore.

The first time I read it, I had to stop and reread it because I was confused. The wording of the first verse reminded me of Psalm 121 (I lift up my eyes...), and I had to double-check what I was reading.

Taking out the words haughty and proud gave it a totally different tone for me. It no longer sounded like someone saying they are humble. It sounded like someone acknowledging that they have so much further to go.

Take time to see things differently this holiday season.

- Ann Iona Warner


OK, that’s the original blog I wrote.

What I chose not to put in was some of the ways our family members are looking at things differently. One son talked about sending his unspent haircut money to the food pantry. Dave and I both had problems coming up with gift lists since we tend to buy what we want when we want it, so Dave suggested donations to Habitat for Humanity or a local food pantry. Another child put PhilaAbundance on one of his lists.

And as I finished writing, the following list popped up on my computer screen. “I do not occupy myself with things too great or too marvelous for me” says Psalm 131. Like Goldilocks and Three Bears, this list is just right.


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