Psalms 37

Psalm 37

He Will Not Forsake His Saints

Of David.

37   Fret not yourself because of evildoers;
    be not envious of wrongdoers!
  For they will soon fade like the grass
    and wither like the green herb.
  Trust in the LORD, and do good;
    dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
  Delight yourself 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 act.
  He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
    and your justice as the noonday.
  Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;
    fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
    over the man who carries out evil devices!
  Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
    Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
  For the evildoers shall be cut off,
    but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land.
  In just a little while, the wicked will be no more;
    though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.
  But the meek shall inherit the land
    and delight themselves in abundant peace.
  The wicked plots against the righteous
    and gnashes his teeth at him,
  but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
    for he sees that his day is coming.
  The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows
    to bring down the poor and needy,
    to slay those whose way is upright;
  their sword shall enter their own heart,
    and their bows shall be broken.
  Better is the little that the righteous has
    than the abundance 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 blameless,
    and their heritage will remain forever;
  they are not put to shame in evil times;
    in the days of famine they have abundance.
  But the wicked will perish;
    the enemies of the LORD are like the glory of the pastures;
    they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.
  The wicked borrows but does not pay back,
    but the righteous is generous and gives;
  for those blessed by the LORD shall inherit the land,
    but those cursed by him shall be cut off.
  The steps of a man are established by the LORD,
    when he delights in his way;
  though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,
    for the LORD upholds his hand.
  I have been young, and now am old,
    yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
    or his children begging for bread.
  He is ever lending generously,
    and his children become a blessing.
  Turn away from evil and do good;
    so shall you dwell forever.
  For the LORD loves justice;
    he will not forsake his saints.
  They are preserved forever,
    but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
  The righteous shall inherit the land
    and dwell upon it forever.
  The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom,
    and his tongue speaks justice.
  The law of his God is in his heart;
    his steps do not slip.
  The wicked watches for the righteous
    and seeks to put him to death.
  The LORD will not abandon him to his power
    or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial.
  Wait for the LORD and keep his way,
    and he will exalt you to inherit the land;
    you will look on when the wicked are cut off.
  I have seen a wicked, ruthless man,
    spreading himself like a green laurel tree.
  But he passed away, and behold, he was no more;
    though I sought him, he could not be found.
  Mark the blameless and behold the upright,
    for there is a future for the man of peace.
  But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed;
    the future of the wicked shall be cut off.
  The salvation of the righteous is from the LORD;
    he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.
  The LORD helps them and delivers them;
    he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
    because they take refuge in him.


Psalm 37 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

It is sometimes difficult to understand why the evil continues to prosper. We struggle to reconcile how they are getting away with corruption, deceit, and manipulation right in front of God’s eyes. In fact, this psalm assumes that we, as faithful believers, will struggle with this truth. It’s not a matter of if, but when.

Don’t be worried on account of the wicked; don’t be jealous of those who do wrong. 2 They will soon disappear like grass that dries up; they will die like plants that wither.

Psalms 37:1-2 GNB

The primary difference between the wicked and the faithful is how they choose to live their lives. The wicked indulge in temporary pleasures. They use others to selfishly gain their own desires. They do not wait patiently for anything, but go out and get what they want however they can. Believers live for God’s eternal kingdom. Their hope is rooted in the life to come, not in this finite and temporary existence.

The most difficult part of this whole scenario is that it takes faith to believe that God will restore the righteous and destroy the wicked. We are living in a time when right is wrong and wrong is right. People are so deceived. The psalmist’s prescription for dealing with this problem is two-fold.

  1. Trust the Lord and do good. This may seem obvious, but how many of us are pushing forward living righteous and holy lives despite what we see around us? There is a temptation to engage in prosperous evil like others. There is also a temptation to go out and correct all the wrongs that we see. This is not the prescription that the psalmist recommends. He encourages us to seek and find our happiness in the Lord. He promises us that if we seek God, He will give us greater prosperity than material blessings. He will give us the deepest desires of our hearts.
  2. Be patient and don’t worry about the wicked. This is difficult. Patience is something we all struggle with. It is much easier to wait for something that we can see than to wait for something that seems contrary to the facts at hand. When evil and suffering overwhelm us, the psalmist urges us to wait on the Lord. Wait on Him for your blessings but also wait for Him to punish the wicked. In fact, worrying about the wicked is a slippery slope because it leads to all kinds of other issues. Becoming angry and wrathful at the wicked only leads to more wrongdoing. Let the Lord fight your battles!

What I find interesting about these verses is that they give us practical advice on how we deal with evil both internally and externally. This can be tricky. For instance, sometimes we agree to “do good” by following God closely in our spiritual lives but still hold grudges and vengeance towards the wicked. This is where our external outlook is skewed. Similarly, we may agree to be patient and wait for the Lord to deal with the wicked but compromise in our own spiritual lives. It’s possible for us to compare ourselves to those who are eviler than us and excuse our current behavior and struggles.

God’s desire is that we take responsibility for our own spiritual health while at the same time letting Him handle those who are opposed to Him. This doesn’t mean that we always remain silent and do nothing. It does mean, however, that we seek Him in all things and wait for Him to lead us before we take our first step.

Look, I know there are people in your life that frustrate you. When people are acting in rebellion and affecting so many others it can be enraging. But God’s desire is for us to come to Him! Seek knowledge and wisdom from God in the current situation. Wait on the Lord. Trust that He will make things right. Pray toward what your role should be. And finally, live and model a holy life yourself so that others have nothing bad to say about you.

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Your thoughts have put me in my Prayer Closet today. I do struggle with this. But above all else I trust Him. Thank you Father!