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.
Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
he will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.
Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret – it leads only to evil.
For those who are evil will be destroyed,
but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.
A little while, and the wicked will be no more;(Ps. 37:1-11 NIV)
though you look for them, they will not be found.
But the meek will inherit the land
and enjoy peace and prosperity.
This Psalm is a wisdom Psalm. The issue facing the Psalmist is that the way of folly appears to be proving to be a successful way to live. The Psalmist is concerned about the issues of life and death, wisdom and folly, and reward and punishment. The problem that concerns him is why does the wicked appear to enjoy the reward for their evil. The evil have power, greed and prosperity and to any casual onlooker it would appear that the evil way is the better way. What the Psalmist needs to understand is that he has taken a short-term view.
The Psalmist is encouraged to trust in the Lord. The Psalm recognises how easy it is to be adversely affected by the prosperity of the wicked. They may appear to have power and prestige but under the hand of God they are mere mortals. Just like grass they will wither and die away. The matter of the evil people must be left to God. The Psalmist’s responsibility is to take his eye of the wicked and fix his eye upon the Lord and do good. Rather than allow vexation of spirit to consume them, they should get on with life and enjoy what God has given them. The Psalmist is to be satisfied with the Lord by delighting in the Lord, and the Lord will provide him with the desires of his heart. There are many things in life that we cannot change, but what we can change is our attitude. The attitude change comes when we trust and delight in the Lord. The desires of our hearts become wholesome desires. When we fret over the prosperity of the wicked and perhaps even feel that we should have the kind of prosperity that the wicked have, then the desires of our heart are not appropriate for a child of God. It is better to enjoy what we have with the blessing of the Lord upon it.
The Psalmist calls upon us to commit our way to the Lord. To commit to the Lord is to set aside the anger at those who have prospered. To commit our way to the Lord is to adopt the wise way of living. The wise way to live is to wait on God’s time and God will bring justice. The reward from the Lord will come from living the wise way and in hope for the future blessing that God will give. Our reward will be righteous and not ill-gotten gain like the prosperity of the wicked. The reward of the righteous will be radiant and evident for all to see. The glory of the people of God will be as bright as the noonday sun when God establishes His rule of righteousness.
If you are consumed by anger you become enraged and want to take matters into your own hands, but the wise way is to be still before the Lord and wait patiently on the Lord’s time. We are not to fret when the evil prosper, because that only leads us into the evil way. Those who are evil will be destroyed but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.
The concept of land is a prominent theme in the OT. The Promised Land never had clearly defined boundaries. In the book of Joshua the people of God has much land still to be possessed. When the people of God turned away from the Lord, they were taken out of the land. As you read the OT prophets the concept of land expands to speak about the lands beyond the rivers. In the NT the land expands yet further to take in the whole world – the great commission is to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. The land promise has not yet been fulfilled, but it will be fulfilled for the OT and NT church when Christ comes back again, when the people of God will inherit the land in Christ in the New Heavens and the New Earth. This will all come soon; in a little while the Lord shall reign, the wicked will be no more. You may look for the wicked, you may even expect to see them because they had gained prosperity and property, but they will not be found. But for the meek who have quietly waited and patiently hoped, they will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity.
Be still my soul
Lord our God it does disturb us that the ungodly impose laws upon us that are contrary to Your law. They ask us questions to check if we agree with their politically correct values. Many Christians have been taken to court because they sought to uphold Christian values. Lord we do trust You, but help us when we doubt. Help us to be patient and to wait for Your time. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen