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“I have calmed and quieted my soul.”  Psalm 131:2

How did David get into that quiet place before God? He forsook ambition. “My eyes are not raised too high,” he wrote in Psalm 131. He checked that restless impulse of ingratitude and the itch of attention-seeking. He settled into the role and place God had assigned to him, because he trusted in the wisdom and goodness of God’s providential care.

“Like a weaned child is my soul within me.” No longer fretful, demanding, impatient, infantile, David’s heart came to rest with a sense of God’s plan, God’s nearness. The prodigal living near to his Father again--David was deeply happy just to be there.

The upward glance to the higher place of visibility and recognition, the longing for more attention and acclaim--it destroys quietness of heart. Francis Schaeffer, in his sermon “No little people, no little places,” counsels us to look by faith beyond our place, wherever it may be, into the greater battle raging in the heavenlies today, the real battle of our generation that bears no necessary relation to the seeming prominence or the seeming obscurity of the soldiers involved, and trust that the Lord of hosts is deploying each of us most effectively right where we are, moment by moment. Human appearances can be false. Divine strategies are unfailing.

Unless I am extruded (Schaeffer’s wonderful word) into the higher place by the force of God’s own hand, my life ends up counting for less than before, not more, no matter how impressive my promotion may appear.

Quietness of heart before God is more powerful than prominence of position among men.


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One thought on “Quietness vs. prominence”

  1. SOUL JA says:

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH, I REALLY LOVE YOU LAST SENTENCE. IT RESONATES WELL WITH WHAT DAVID SAID IN PSALM 16:11 “…..IN YOU PRESENCE IS FULLNESS OF JOY; AT YOU RIGHT HAND ARE PLEASURES FOREVERMORE.”

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Ray Ortlund


Ray Ortlund is senior pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and serves as a Council member with The Gospel Coalition. You can follow him on Twitter.

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