When we begin to talk about the two ideas of the church and the state, there is of course a clear contrast between the two. But when we start to think about them on a deeper level, there are two areas of ambiguity. One of these is what I have called the secular church because although the church should be sacred, it's nevertheless often quite secular to the degree that it operates according to the world's principles, formulated by the world's wisdom, the world's theology, the world's agenda and the world's methods. The second area of ambiguity is the state. The ambiguity that concerns the state is reflected in Scripture.

There are few psalms in the Psalter that are more personal, intimate or even introspective than this one. But it is important to see that although David is writing chiefly about himself and his own experience of learning to trust and love God, he does not leave the psalm at that point. Instead, at the end of the psalm, he looks to those about him, to Israel, and challenges them to learn what he had learned and “put [their] hope in God”: “O Israel, put your hope in the LORD both now and forevermore.”

To summarize this week's study so far, we note that Psalm 131 is David's personal testimony, including his rejection of pride and arrogance, which we have already discussed, and also ambition, which we discuss in today's study. 

As we saw in yesterday's study, David had learned to subdue pride. This is an important lesson for us to learn, too. In fact, it is the most important of all lessons having to do with Christian character, since pride is the most serious and pervasive of all vices. It is why the Bible has much to say about humility. 

Psalm 131 is a personal testimony, as I said earlier, and one part of it is its acknowledgement of what David was or was inclined to be before God changed him and he learned to be satisfied with God alone. He speaks of these things negatively, saying what he is not like now because of God's grace. But he must have been inclined to these things once, which is why he is rejecting them. They are pride, arrogance and ambition, all in verse 1.