By Warren Nunn
Those of us who regularly draw wisdom from the Bible are constantly encouraged and uplifted by various passages.
When something speaks clearly of a known situation, we are reminded that we have warnings from hundreds of years ago that describe what’s happening in our world right now.
Psalm 37 speaks specifically to those who acknowledge the one, true only God just as powerfully today as it did when King David wrote it under the guidance of Holy Spirit. And it is a reminder, a plea to those who deny God, that, if they continue so to do, they will be justly judged by the only One Who can rightly judge.
The Psalm starts:
Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
And wither as the green herb.
That tells we believers not to be disheartened because of how God haters impact the world.
Rather, we are encouraged to live in completely the opposite manner thus:
Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Give full attention to what God has laid before His people from Genesis to Revelation and live in a way that seeks alone to please Him; not the world.
A brief outline that believers down the ages have drawn from Scripture runs along these lines:
Humans rebelled against God in the Garden of Eden; that caused a barrier between us and God that God said could only be fixed by a perfect sacrifice. God provided the sacrifice through His Son Jesus Christ who lived a perfect life, died on the Cross for all sinners and Who God raised from the dead. For those who repent of their sin and believe that Christ died for them, they only will be acceptable in God’s eyes, because He looks only at Christ’s finished work and those who accept that. Our reward is living eternally with the Lord, free of sin; in perfect paradise.
The Psalm’s next section speaks to that:
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.
Our part is this is “easy”, in that we “only” have to accept Him at His Word, and He will take care of the rest.
He assures us of that over and over again as the Psalm continues to tell us not to let what happens around us to affect us:
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret—it only causes harm.
Again, He encourages us:
For evildoers shall be cut off;
But those who wait on the Lord,
They shall inherit the earth.
For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more;
Indeed, you will look carefully for his place,
But it shall be no more.
But the meek shall inherit the earth,
And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
Again and again He reaffirms His plan will come to pass. He only needs to tell us once, doesn’t He? But, as a loving Father, His reassurances are constantly restated:
The wicked plots against the just,
And gnashes at him with his teeth.
The Lord laughs at him,
For He sees that his day is coming.
The wicked have drawn the sword
And have bent their bow,
To cast down the poor and needy,
To slay those who are of upright conduct.
Their sword shall enter their own heart,
And their bows shall be broken.
Are you convinced yet? Again the Lord continues with more assurances:
A little that a righteous man has
Is better than the riches of many wicked.
For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,
But the Lord upholds the righteous.
The Lord knows the days of the upright,
And their inheritance shall be forever.
They shall not be ashamed in the evil time,
And in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.
But the wicked shall perish;
And the enemies of the Lord,
Like the splendor of the meadows, shall vanish.
Into smoke they shall vanish away.
Hope despite our weakness
It’s as though He knows how feeble we are and how we tend to allow hard times to falter or fall. Still the reminders flow:
The wicked borrows and does not repay,
But the righteous shows mercy and gives.
For those blessed by Him shall inherit the earth,
But those cursed by Him shall be cut off.
The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.
Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;
For the Lord upholds him with His hand.
David’s own experiences add to the certainty of God’s promises as he attests to having seen them at play in his life:
I have been young, and now am old;
Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken,
Nor his descendants begging bread.
He is ever merciful, and lends;
And his descendants are blessed.
Depart from evil, and do good;
And dwell forevermore.
For the Lord loves justice,
And does not forsake His saints;
They are preserved forever,
But the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off.
The righteous shall inherit the land,
And dwell in it forever.
This whole Psalm could be a prayer to be spoken over and over again to encourage:
The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom,
And his tongue talks of justice.
The law of his God is in his heart;
None of his steps shall slide.
The wicked watches the righteous,
And seeks to slay him.
The Lord will not leave him in his hand,
Nor condemn him when he is judged.
Are you not overwhelmed by the magnitude of these promises? We can and should live abundant lives, but in a way that it’s undeniable in Whom we place our hope.
Wait on the Lord,
And keep His way,
And He shall exalt you to inherit the land;
When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.
I have seen the wicked in great power,
And spreading himself like a native green tree.
Yet he passed away, and behold, he was no more;
Indeed I sought him, but he could not be found.
Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright;
For the future of that man is peace.
But the transgressors shall be destroyed together;
The future of the wicked shall be cut off.
And our ultimate reward is in His timing and perfect justice:
But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;
He is their strength in the time of trouble.
And the Lord shall help them and deliver them;
He shall deliver them from the wicked,
And save them,
Because they trust in Him.