Subject: Redeemer Downtown Devotional: Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost - September 23, 2012

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Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost - September 23, 2012

These devotionals are to help you prepare for each Sunday to come in the Christian Calendar.* 

[1] 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.

[2] But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
  like a weaned child with its mother;
  like a weaned child is my soul within me.

[3] O Israel, hope in the LORD
  from this time forth and forevermore.
Psalm 131 (ESV)
Psalm 131 is a simple and profound reminder of the benefits of a calmed and comforted soul. With verse one’s cautionary note against the dangers of pride and presumption, the psalmist reminds us that disquiet often comes from an inflated sense of ourselves over others (“ heart is not lifted up...”) and an overreaching desire for a life that is better than the one we have received (“...I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me...”). The constant comparison between one’s own status and possessions to those of others brings the deepest discontent. In reading these words, one wonders if the Psalmist was a New Yorker!

Verse two provides a picture of true contentment. It is that of a child who is no longer needy, clamoring, or grasping. This is the weaned child with his mother, no longer fretful or self-seeking or afraid (as when weaning), but at rest and secure. Instead of a discontented striving for something that he is sure is indispensible (his mother’s milk), the child possesses a quiet confidence that his mother will provide all of the love, security, and nourishment that he needs.

The psalm then closes by proclaiming the source of true contentment: deep trust in the Lord. Contentment doesn’t come with the satisfaction of all our ambitions, but by the replacement of those unsatisfying ambitions with the God who cares for and never fails His people and who offers deep-soul satisfaction and joy. Our Savior was able to endure the unimaginable hardship of the cross because His satisfaction, contentment, and hope was in the Father. Likewise, this same soul contentment is what sustains us through the comparatively small trials and struggles of daily life. Hope in the LORD, from this time forth and forevermore!
John C. Lin, Downtown Lead Pastor

Grant us, Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among things that are passing away, to hold fast to those that shall endure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Collect** from The Book of Common Prayer

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