Good evening, my brothers and sisters in Christ.
Simple Trust in the Lord
A Song of Ascents. Of David.
131 Lord, my heart is not [a]haughty,
Nor my eyes [b]lofty.
Neither do I [c]concern myself with great matters,
Nor with things too [d]profound for me.
2 Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul,
Like a weaned child with his mother,
Like a weaned child is my soul within me.
3 O Israel, hope in the Lord
From this time forth and forever.
Jared led a discussion on the importance of humility, using readings from Psalms 131 and Luke 18:9-14. He emphasized the contrast between humility and pride, as seen in the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18:9-14. Jared highlighted the tax collector's humility and accountability in prayer, contrasting it with the Pharisee's self-righteousness. He also referenced Psalms 131, which counsels against pretentiousness and concern with significant matters. Jared concluded by emphasizing the importance of remaining humble and not becoming self-righteous and the significance of seeking God's truth over religious practices.
The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector
9 Also, He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be [a]humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
We start with a Pharisee who was a highly respected and meticulous observer of the Law, along with a despised Tax Collector considered a sinner because he collaborates with the Roman Occupying forces and betrays his Jewish People (see v. 10). The Practices of the Pharisee are worthy examples to follow no doubt. His good deeds (fasting and giving tithes) are the primary weapons against the passions of lust and greed (adultery and extortion). However, one must be humble and have a repentant heart, meaning outward practices are considered worthless, leading only to pride and judgment of others. Notice he prayed with himself, and it seems God is absent when there is extreme pride and boasting (see vv. 11-12). The Tax Collector takes accountability for the state of his soul. He stood far from the altar of sacrifice, having his eyes cast down because he felt unworthy in the sight of God. Notice his prayer, "God be merciful to me a sinner," which became the foundation of the Jesus prayer, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner." As Orthodox Christians, we chant "Lord have mercy" for our Orthodox worship and personal prayers; his humility leads to forgiveness (see v. 13). We see in v. 14 that justified means to be forgiven and set right with God, inward humility is blessed while having pride in outward deeds in condemned by God.
In Christ, Love Jared W Campbell
“The Lord bless you and keep you.
25 The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you.
26 The Lord [a]lift His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.”’
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