Psalm 37

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, April 15, 2019 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

In one of the commentaries I use, the Expositor’s Bible Commentary, the heading they gave Psalm 37 is, “Wise Living in a Crooked Generation.” Anyone following the news headlines in the U.S. for the last decade or so would probably agree that we are living in a “crooked generation,” and as Christ followers we are called to still live in a wise manner. One of the issues this psalm addresses is how the wicked seem to prosper even while the righteous suffer. So, this psalm seems especially applicable for our world today, even though it was written a few thousand years ago.

Verses 1-2 summarize what our mindset should be: “Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.” That sounds simple enough, right? But it’s really much easier said than done. We are so often envious of those who get what they want in life, even if they came by those things in an evil manner. Those who do wrong and not follow the narrow path of God’s Word seem to have so much more pleasure and fun in this life, don’t they? But their enjoyment is only for this lifetime, and they will pay for their lack of faith for all eternity.

So what should we do instead of worrying about those who are evil and being envious of them? We get the answer in verses 3-8: trust in God, take delight in Him, commit our ways to Him, be still and wait patiently on Him, refrain from anger, and don’t fret.

What is the result of all of this? “For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land… But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity” (verses 9 and 11). You may be thinking that inheriting land isn’t much motivation for you; it sure isn’t that appealing to a city girl such as myself. But the land represents God’s kingdom, so “inheriting the land” is really inheriting the Kingdom of God! With that Kingdom, we also will enjoy peace, which is an amazing gift from God to us.

Verses 12-26 give us lots of contrasts between the ways of the righteous and the ways of the wicked. Read that passage and see which category you, those around you, and society as a whole are a part of. This passage shows that the righteous and the wicked will always be at odds, polar opposites of each other in what they do. Society may want to tell us that there is a gray area, that not everything is black and white, but God’s Word makes it pretty clear that there are just two groups of people: the righteous who follow Him and keep His ways, and the unrighteous who don’t.

But that doesn’t mean that being one of the righteous ones is easy; it’s definitely not. That’s why we need God’s Word, including psalms such as this one, to continually encourage us to follow God’s path. Some of that encouragement can be found in verses 27-29: “Turn from evil and do good; then you will dwell in the land forever. For the Lord loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. Wrongdoers will be completely destroyed; the offspring of the wicked will perish. The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever.” Again, while dwelling in the land referred to physically inhabiting God’s promised land for the people of Israel, for us today it means being a part of God’s Kingdom. We will be able to dwell with Him forever!

The psalm closes with how we should respond to facing the evils of this world. When we follow God, our wise response should be that we put our hope in Him, be obedient to Him, and have faith in His justice. Verse 34 tells us this: “Hope in the Lord and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are destroyed, you will see it.”

We will see those who do evil in this world flourish for a time, but their prosperity will not last (verses 35-36). We should live our lives like those we see who are righteous, and not like the sinners who will be destroyed (verses 37-38). But as we’re reminded in verses 39-40, none of this can be done in our own strength. It all comes from God - His power, His strength, and His deliverance in our lives!

What is your reaction when you see someone enjoying prosperity in this world? How do you feel when a person prospers when you know they have done evil, and it seems like you’re getting nowhere by following God’s ways? Be encouraged by Psalm 37 to continue to trust in God and follow His righteous ways. Your eternity with God is much more valuable than someone else’s temporary prosperity in this world!

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