St. Hilary begins his analysis of Psalm 130(131):
This Psalm, a short one, which demands an analytical rather than a homiletical treatment, teaches us the lesson of humility and meekness. Now, as we have in a great number of other places spoken about humility, there is no need to repeat the same things here. Of course we are bound to bear in mind in how great need our faith stands of humility when we hear the Prophet thus speaking of it as equivalent to the performance of the highest works: ‘O Lord, my heart is not exalted. For a troubled heart is the noblest sacrifice in the eyes of God.’ The heart, therefore, must not be lifted up by prosperity, but humbly kept within the bounds of meekness through the fear of God.
St. Hilary couldn’t be more clear: this Psalm is about humility. Note how important this characteristic is in the Christian life by the fact that St. Hilary does not feel the need to preach about what humility is — it has been spoken of so many times in other places that to speak of it here would be an unnecessary repetition (oh, what a luxury to be able to preach that!).
In these days of reality television, YouTube fame, and the idea that one can count their friends via social media like Facebook and Twitter, this is an interesting contrast and a reminder at how much we as Americans have not only forgotten this Christian virtue, but have actively turned our back on it.
Note how highly both St. Hilary and the Prophet value humility: it is the noblest sacrifice in the eyes of God. Notice also the framework within which we need to understand ourselves and why we must strive for humility: the fear of God.
Once again, we need to properly understand the word “fear.” We have seen the wonders of God and acknowledge that His power and love lay far beyond our grasp. Think for a moment of a beautiful sunset and the scenery that accompanies it (personally, this includes the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and strings of clouds that turn bright orange and purple). There is no human hand that can arrange that reality. This scene is made possible by the will of God alone. He is the one who created it. Period.
Fearing God means being in awe of that beauty, properly acknowledging God’s role in its existence and honoring Him for all that He has given to us. As it says in Proverbs 9:10, the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord. When we acknowledge His role in our life and all that surrounds us, it is easy to see the folly of reality television, YouTube fame, as well as Facebook and Twitter friendship. All of them grasp at human glory. When seen in comparison to the glory of God, they truly add up to nothing. When God is truly a focus in our life, humility is a necessary outcome.