True Humility

Psalm 72: 8 – 9

May he also rule from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth. Let the nomads of the desert bow before him, and his enemies lick the dust.

You will undoubtedly sense a change of tone in this psalm. David didn’t write this one. It is written by his son, Solomon. The kingdom falls apart after Solomon, the kingdom that God gave to David for eternity. You begin to see the unravelling even here. Compare this psalm with the one’s David wrote.  Here, we find Solomon praying for himself, not about rescue from enemies, but increasing his holdings.

This is another example where one must really read the entire psalm to get the flavor. Solomon was concerned about his ability to rule the kingdom. At first glance his importuning of God for the wisdom to rule the country appears as humility, and at one level I believe it to be so. At a higher level, though, Solomon mirrors our prayers and feelings. Compared with the prayers and the songs of David, we see that humility is often a cloak for the real underlying demon – pride.

David didn’t have confidence in his ability to rule the kingdom either. He did, however, have confidence in the Father, and David trusted his friend and strong right hand to be with him and to rule through him. It may be a subtle shift, but this micron of perspective shift makes all the difference in the world. Solomon was overwhelmed with by the responsibility of leading the kingdom. The reason, though, is because his eyes were fixed on himself.

We can all become overwhelmed by what God has called us to do, but if we do it is because we are looking at our own abilities. We become focused on ourselves rather than on the Father. David told Goliath that he came in the name of the Lord and that the God of Israel would deliver the Philistine giant into his hands. David was looking for God to do something. If he had considered himself responsible for the victory, we would not have this great story to admire. He either would have been defeated, or, more likely, he would never have faced the giant. We know we cannot succeed in our own strength so we think God will anoint us with his strength and then we will prevail. In our spirits we know this is not quite right. The victory is not ours, but the Lord’s.

So, David spent less time in prayers like these and much more time praising the Lord and declaring His greatness. He focused his attention on the righteous kindness of God and His delivering power. He glorified God in song and in deed. Go back and look at the construction of David’s prayers. There is a real secret here. Our words show where we are in our walk with God. Solomon’s show that his eyes were on himself. He lacked confidence because he was looking at himself rather than at God. He prayed for God to make him a great king with much land. Perhaps, those breaths would have been better spent praising the real King.