1 Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong;
2 for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.
3 Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.
8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret-it leads only to evil.
9 For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.
10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found.
11 But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace.
12 The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them;
13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming.
14 The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright.
15 But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken.
16 Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked;
17 for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous.
18 The days of the blameless are known to the LORD, and their inheritance will endure forever.
19 In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.
20 But the wicked will perish: The Lord’s enemies will be like the beauty of the fields, they will vanish-vanish like smoke.
21 The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously;
22 those the LORD blesses will inherit the land, but those he curses will be cut off.
23 If the LORD delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm;
24 though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.
25 I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.
26 They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be blessed.
27 Turn from evil and do good; then you will dwell in the land forever.
28 For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. They will be protected forever, but the offspring of the wicked will be cut off;
29 the righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever.
30 The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks what is just.
31 The law of his God is in his heart; his feet do not slip.
32 The wicked lie in wait for the righteous, seeking their very lives;
33 but the LORD will not leave them in their power or let them be condemned when brought to trial.
34 Wait for the LORD and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are cut off, you will see it.
35 I have seen a wicked and ruthless man flourishing like a green tree in its native soil,
36 but he soon passed away and was no more; though I looked for him, he could not be found.
37 Consider the blameless, observe the upright; there is a future for the man of peace.
38 But all sinners will be destroyed; the future of the wicked will be cut off.
39 The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble.
40 The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.
This psalm is a psalm that readers 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 seemed 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 the 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 these phases 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
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 writes “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 another 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.”