Despite the title of this post, no biblical psalm belongs to the academic theologian alone, nor does the academic theologian belong to some special class of Christians. At the same time, I cannot help but see a special significance in Psalm 131 for those of us who practice theology in an academic environment and occupy ourselves with investigating the most complex and demanding spiritual and theological questions out there on a daily basis. It reads,
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.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
Like a weaned child with its mother,
Like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth, and forevermore.
I know that when I begin unwittingly to twist my vocation into a matter of checking up on God and making sure that all his ways seem perfectly reasonable to us human beings, I certainly need this reminder to calm my mind before the God who does not need us to make sure he is properly handling his oversight of the world. It is a relief to recall that the ‘secret things’ belong to the LORD, while the ‘revealed things’ belong to us and to our children (Deut. 29:29).