Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.…
This psalm is called "a Psalm of David," and there seems no sufficient reason for doubting that it comes from his pen. Probably it belongs to one or other of the few peaceful seasons of his troubled reign, in which he was at leisure to practise that self-discipline which makes men strong, and those habits of meditation which make men wise. We have here a rare and a beautiful state of mind; and there are two expressions in this second verse which will help us to understand it. "I have behaved and quieted myself;" literally, "I have stilled and hushed my soul." The idea seems to be that of checking and restraining himself. The man has reproved his wayward impulses; he has arrested unreasonable ambitions and unseemly desires; he has taken himself in hand, and has dealt firmly and faithfully with that turbulent compound. His mind, for a time long or short, and from causes which he does not explain, has been like a troubled sea; and he has ruled the raging of its waters, and hushed the violence of the storm. The second expression is more striking still. For some reason or other the psalmist has not only been in a stormy mood, but in an uneasy, fretful, unsatisfied mood as well. He has been like a child passing through its first troubles. There is no vehemence in what he is here alluding to. His soul is not in arms. It is irritation, disappointment, unsatisfied desire, with perhaps a general sense of not being able to make the thing out. But it is all over now. From many a source of earthly joy and satisfaction he has had to wean himself away. And he has done it. The painful business is over; and in the sweet content of a tranquil, satisfied, and assured mind, his "soul is even as a weaned child." Humility — a just estimate of oneself, a just conception of what one is, what one has a right to demand from life, what one really has a right to be angry and disappointed over; a clear perception of our relations to a Divine Being, to this great and wondrous universe in which we find ourselves, and to man, our brother and fellow-traveller: this is the sweet secret of peace, now and always. Have you ever known pride happy? You could as soon find a cone standing unsupported on its apex. Pride, in every form of it, is a monster with many mouths; and some of them are always crying, in all the bitterness of unsatisfied desire, "Give, give!" Notice here how thoroughly in this matter David is at one with a Greater than David (Matthew 11:27, 28). Not until we have brought down those high and haughty minds of ours; not until we have learned, I do not say the sad, but the sober look; not until lofty imaginations are in the dust at our feet, imaginations which in every direction are their own scourge, — can we know anything of the weaned condition of David's mind, or enter "into the rest which remaineth for the people of God." I hardly know which to admire the more in David — his profound wisdom, or his profound piety. Certainly it is as sure a mark of wisdom to know the limits of inquiry in any direction, and reverently to bow to them, as it is within such limits to reverently prosecute such inquiry. And the piety of it all is quite as great as the practical wisdom. It is so eminently characteristic of a true and trustful child to be able and willing to say, "I cannot understand these things; but my Father knows all about them." Is that childish talk? Then let me be a child. I have read somewhere, "Of such is the kingdom of heaven." Do you tell me that it is not knowledge? I say, it is better than knowledge; for it comes of the love that shall endure, when knowledge shall have "vanished away."
Parallel VersesKJV: Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.