Psalm 37

IMG_4046Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.  For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.  Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.  Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.  Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.  And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.   Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospered in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass.  Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.  For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.  For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.  But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.  The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.  The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.  The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation.  Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.  A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.   For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the Lord upholdeth the righteous.  The Lord knoweth 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 shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.  The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.  For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.  The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.  Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.  I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.  He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.  Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore.  For the Lord loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.  The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein forever.  The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.  The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.  The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him.  The Lord will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged.  Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.  I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.  Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.  Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.  But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.  But the salvation of the righteous is of 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. (KJV)

This psalm is a psalm that reader’s turn to when they face difficult times in their life.  These times are not just trouble times, but usually a time when the only one a person can turn to is God.  However, it is also a time when God has also seem to have forsaken them.  It was this psalm that I turned to at one of the most difficult times in my life.  It is a time when the wickedness of someone who at one time was very close to me turned and tried to destroy everything in my life.  It was a time like Joseph faced when his own brothers sold him as a slave.  It was a time in my life that I learned how to pray thy will be done instead of my will be done.  Verses four and five gave me at that time an insight on how to pray.  Three things on my part were required: delight myself in the Lord, commit my ways to the Lord, and trust in the Lord; by following these three simple steps the Lord will give to me the desires of my heart.

I now realize that these principles become clearer as one ages and applies life experiences to the scriptures.  It is in the example that God gave me from the life of Joseph that I can see how these principles governed his life.  He was only seventeen when his own brothers sold him into slavery.  However, instead of trying to gain his freedom and taking vengeance on his brothers for this act he accepted the place where the Lord placed him and committed his ways to the Lord.  The phase “but the Lord was with Joseph” characterized his life.  Joseph learned to apply the principles of trust and obey in his life and knew that God would be with him, both in the hard times as well as the good times.  He was a slave and a prisoner of the state for thirteen years, yet he still followed the principles of committing your ways to the Lord and trusting in Him (trust and obey).  It was at the time of Jacob’s death that we truly see how these principles played out in Joseph’s life.  As I read Genesis chapter fifty I realized Joseph’s brothers had not ask for forgiven yet for their treatment of Joseph at age seventeen.  This selfish act on their part not only effected Joseph life, but also had a profound effect on Jacob his father and Benjamin his brother.  It took thirty-nine years, the death of their father, and the fear that Joseph would pay them back in full for all the wrong they did to him  before they tried to patch up the incident with Joseph.  And even in this process they did not want to address the real issues which was the fact of their own sinfulness in the way they handed Joseph over into slavery.  Joseph weep when they spoke, because he had already forgiven them, but he saw how they lived in fear because they could not face the truth of forgiveness.  Joseph answer to them reveals his trust on the Lord to guide his life.  When you are following these principles then you like Joseph can say “for I am in God’s place”.   When walking with God in this world we will face times in our life when people (even our own family) do evil things against us.  However, if we wait on the Lord and keep his ways then we will see the desire of our hearts fulfilled and will be able to say “therefore what you meant for evil against me, God meant it for good”.

“The law of his God is in his heart; his feet do not slip” the righteous will not fall.  As we see the fruit of wicked schemes of greed and corruption around us fall we must realize that God is our stronghold the one we take refuge in these times of trouble.  So when the topic about the economic failures and other events of disaster from around the world come about in your conversation you can take comfort in these verses.  Live by the phases highlighted in yellow and know that God is our refuge.  Then let the world see God’s law alive in your life so that the light of his law will reflect God to them.  These phases are:

Do not fret (3 times)

Do not be envious of those who do wrong Trust in the Lord (2 times)

Delight yourself in the Lord

Commit your ways to the Lord

Be still before the Lord

Wait patiently for him (2 times)

Refrain from anger

Turn from wrath

Hope in the Lord

Give generously

Turn from evil and do good

Utters wisdom and speak what is just

Keep the Lord way

Consider the blameless

Observe the upright

Seek refuge in the Lord

Verse 25 “I was young and now I am old” lets us know that this psalm was written when David was old.   This psalm reflects David’s beliefs and pattern of life that as a king and a father he wanted to pass on to others.  In Psalm 51:12, 13 he write “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.  Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you.”  His desire was to live by God’s ways and teach others of the joy of living in God’s ways.  Ecclesiastes is another example of scripture that was written by an old man.  However, this was written by Solomon who at the end of his life was told that the kingdom that God had given his father and when to him would not be passed to his son.  Why?  Because he forsook God’s ways and served other God’s.  It is interesting to see his words in Ecclesiastes: 12:8-14 “Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher; all is vanity.  And further, because the Preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he pondered, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs.  The Preacher sought to find out acceptable words, and that which was written uprightly, even words of truth.  The words of the wise are as goads; and as nails well fastened are the words of the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.  And furthermore, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.  This is the end of the matter; all hath been heard: fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every work into judgment, with every hidden thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”   Therefore heed the words of David in this psalm so that in your old age you will not have to write as Solomon did in Ecclesiastes 12:1 “Remember also thy Creator in the days of thy youth, before the evil days come and the years draw nigh, when thou shall say I have no pleasure in them.”