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Resting Like A Child 21 FEBRUARY 2021 | WESLEY 136th ANNIVERSARY COMBINED WORSHIP SERVICE | BISHOP DR GORDON WONG

Resting Like A Child

21 FEBRUARY 2021 | WESLEY 136th ANNIVERSARY COMBINED WORSHIP SERVICE

Bishop Dr Gordon Wong

Scripture Passage: Psalm 131 (NIV)

WATCH | SERMON (VIDEO)

READ | SERMON NOTES

Summary | Psalm 131 is a psalm that Bishop Wong preaches and re-preaches to himself at the start of each new year. It is a psalm that paints a posture each of us should have in our relationship with God.

An Irish blessing goes as follows:

May you have the hindsight to know where you've been,

The foresight to know where you are going,

And the insight to know when you have gone too far

An insight into knowing when we have gone too far appears to be echoed in Ps.131:1b:“I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me”. Is this an excuse to cop out or be indifferent to matters that should concern us? No, for the first part of verse 1 makes clear that the psalmist is not against progress or hard work but warns against pride and self-destruction. When we try to fix things at all costs, or are relentless in our pursuit of success, we are in danger of destroying ourselves and our family. We may be seduced into taking on matters too great for us; to chew off more than we can manage, resulting in us choking. A healthy aspiration may become a harmful ambition. The latter results in pushing ourselves too far, which takes a toll on ourselves and those around us. The Lord warns: “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”

The superscript of Psalm 131 indicates the psalm could be “of” or “for” or “to” David, whom we associate with the slaying of the giant Goliath. David represents the “successful” person. As king, he had relentless aspirations. Like the chairmen, presidents, leaders of our day, David would have faced daily stress and strain. Ps. 131:1 therefore reminds David that he cannot and should not, go too far. Busyness may feed the ego, but it will starve the soul. For those in high places, pray against pride and haughtiness.

But how can we be saved from pride? Verse 2 teaches us that we need to be like a weaned child. Such a child is not a baby, who cries and fusses for everything he wants and is unable to do anything for himself. Though we should be fully dependent on God, we cannot become lazy or infantile in our ways. We should not leave it to God to feed the poor and comfort the sick. A weaned child is also not an adult child who is no longer dependent on his mother. The weaned child, therefore, is one who is able to feed himself on solid food but is still dependent on his mother, to prepare the food and provide protection. This is a picture of our Christian faith. We trust and depend on God and avoid the extremes of doing too little and too much. It is not easy to achieve this balance. The Hebrew word that starts verse 2 indicates a strong and determined pledge to be quiet and composed. Resting in God in dependency does not come naturally and requires deliberate effort.

The psalm ends with an invitation for all of us to put our trust and hope in the Lord. This is the secret to contentment and peace. This psalm, which takes only a few seconds to read takes us a lifetime to learn.

Take time today to rest. Be like a weaned child.

(Sermon Notes by Angela Goh)

PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS

1. Consider how God has spoken to you through this sermon What are 3 points that stood out for me in this sermon?

2. What are 2 questions (or things) that I struggled with?

3. What is the 1 promise that I may rest on, or 1 thing that I may do?