Why did David seem so proud of his humility (Psalm 131:1)?

"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." (NIV)

Psalms 131:1

ESV - 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.

Clarify Share Report Asked July 14 2020 My picture Jack Gutknecht

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Open uri20130622 23898 8dsex Kelli Hamann Supporter Pastor's Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Teacher, Writer, Cellist
I don't think the verses referred to in the question details necessarily indicate that David was proud. Context is always key, and if you read this entire psalm, I believe the context helps us to understand more accurately the heart of David:

"2 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."

In essence, David is offering this psalm as a statement of his absolute trust in God, hence the reason for stating that he isn't concerned about things that are above his understanding. His statement that he is not proud is simply a tantamount statement to the other: He is admitting that he doesn't take much stock in his own wisdom; he doesn't equate himself with God, nor does he equate his level of understanding with that of God's.

The last verse offers his closing statements and his reason for citing all of the prior verses: He encourages all of Israel to put their hope in God, not men. In fact, this psalm might have been offered in response to praise from the people of Israel, who were prone at times to giving David great credit for coming to their rescue:

"As they danced, they sang:
'Saul has slain his thousands,
and David his tens of thousands.'" 
(1 Samuel 18:7)

One last thought: Often when we read something that is quoted by someone, our inability to see a person's facial expressions and hear his/her voice inflections makes it difficult to truly understand the motives and intentions of the person being quoted. When I picture David stating these verses, I don't picture him stating them with pride. Rather, I picture him pouring his heart out in prayer for the people of Israel, pleading with them to turn to God with all their hearts.

July 15 2020 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
Since the Bible refers to David as a man after God's own heart, perhaps his statements such as the one noted in the question (which were apparently inspired for a purpose) can be regarded as an excusable guide for believers as to how they are to feel, think, or behave in respect to their relationship with God.

However, I would also agree with C. S. Lewis when he said that, for us as Christians, humility does not mean thinking less of ourselves, but thinking of ourselves less. We should keep our thoughts focused on how we can be of service to God and others, and then we won't even have time to ponder on thoughts such as those expressed by David, but can leave the commendation of ourselves to Him and them.

July 14 2020 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini Grant Abbott Child of Father, Follower of Son, Student of Spirit
David says he doesn’t concern himself with great matters or things too wonderful for him. It is completely natural for kings to exactly do these things because they have all the power, control and resources to do that. Kings and other leaders often struggle with sin of pride and his son Solomon certainly did.

If we think that David’s statement might be pride disguised as false humility, we need to study his attitudes, words and actions in all the 70 Psalms he wrote.

Personally, I think David in this psalm alone is affirming his trust in God, by saying he feels like a small child, not a king, and he needs to be cared for by his God. He prays that Israel would have the same Hope in God that he does.

July 15 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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