Psalm 37 (Part 1) – Wisdom for Life

Reading Time: 7 Minutes

Psalm 37 combines the wisdom of the Prophets and the Book of Proverbs into one Psalm of instruction.

The question for the readers both then and now is this:

— Will we take the clue that the guidance presented in the Psalm is the way life to be lived?

— Will we choose between the pressures of the present or trust the promises of the future?

— Will we choose between faith and no faith?

As you prayerfully find an answer to these questions, I suggest that you take one of the sections of the Psalm and think about it throughout the day. Ask God to apply the verse to your situation in life.

Chaff

The very first words of the Psalms tells us who has the good life.

Happy are those
who reject the advice of evil people,
who do not follow the example of sinners
or join those who have no use for God.
Instead, they find joy in obeying the Law of the Lord,
and they study it day and night.
(Psalm 1.1-2)

The reason why we don’t follow the people who have no use for God is that they are no better or useful than chaff or straw.

But evil people are not like this at all;
they are like straw that the wind blows away.
(Psalm 1.4)

Psalm 37 picks up the theme of Psalm 1 and counsels us to not be worried or jealous of the apparent prosperity of those who have taken God out of their lives.

Don’t be worried on account of the wicked;
don’t be jealous of those who do wrong.
They will soon disappear like grass that dries up;
they will die like plants that wither.
(Psalm 37.1-2)

Trust and Do Good

Like the wisdom of Proverbs and the insights of the Prophets, the speaker presents three behaviors that are essential to the good life.

Trust in the Lord and do good;
live in the land and be safe.
Seek your happiness in the Lord,
and he will give you your heart’s desire.
(Psalm 37.3-4)

Trust in the Lord – Rather than take the advice of people who live distant from God, we fully rely on God, his will and his principles.

Do good – Faith is actively obedient. Faith is evident in our good behavior.

Seek your happiness in the Lord – A more familiar translation is, “Delight yourself in the Lord.”

People who end up being chaff delight in what is wrong. The writers of the Psalms, Prophets and Proverbs tell us that the pathway to the good life is to find our happiness in the Lord.

God’s Remedy for Worry

The Bible tells us, “Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5.7). As we follow the direction of the next verses, we will do just that.

Give yourself to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will help you;
he will make your righteousness shine like the noonday sun.
(Psalm 37.5-6)

“Roll the whole burden of life upon the Lord. Cast your anxiety, resign your will, submit your judgment, and leave it all with God” (Charles Spurgeon).

What a great way to get rid of envy and anxiety!

Action in Waiting

We are living in very troubled times. Worry, anxiety, envy, anger and other emotions are liable to take over our entire inner self. The speaker instructs us to follow a certain pathway.

Be patient and wait for the Lord to act;
don’t be worried about those who prosper
or those who succeed in their evil plans.
Don’t give in to worry or anger;
it only leads to trouble.
Those who trust in the Lord will possess the land,
but the wicked will be driven out.
(Psalm 37.7-9)

Psalm 34.8 challenges us to . . .

Find out for yourself how good the Lord is.
Happy are those who find safety with him.

Do you want to find our for yourself how good is the Lord? Rather than fret and worry about what is going on in life, trust the Lord and wait for him to act. This is a path to experience the Lord and his goodness.

While we are waiting on the Lord to act, we are not “doing nothing.” To wait on God is to declare that God is in control and not the people who have no desire for God.

The Meek Will Inherit the Earth

Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5.5)

“Meek” is a difficult word to understand in today’s culture. It may be better understood as “humbled.” God’s promise to those who have been humbled by oppressors and wrong-doers is that they have a preferred future as they trust him.

Soon the wicked will disappear;
you may look for them, but you won’t find them;
but the humble will possess the land
and enjoy prosperity and peace.
(Psalm 37.10-11)

The reason why we can wait on the Lord in expectant trust is that God cares for his faithful.

Someone once said, “People name their children ‘Paul,’ and their dog ‘Nero.'”

Paul was persecuted by Nero and other lesser named persons. He trusted God and God cared for him as only God can do.

May We Pray for You?

The prayer team at Maywood Baptist Church is honored to pray for you. Please email me at bsprad49@gmail.com or private message me on Facebook

2 Comments

  1. I just had a conversation a day or so ago with an adult child. She was talking about the two phrases she remembers hearing most often in our household….”treat others like you want to be treated” and “don’t worry about what other kids are doing, you do what is right.” I’m glad we instilled those Biblical principles. I wish I could say our household always lived by them – but we all had (have!) times when wanting to belong or selfishness overtook what should have been.

    There is great hope in following the Psalms, the Prophets and Proverbs. As you point out, there is much to be anxious for in our world today. Living by God’s standards truly will lessen our anxieties. These aren’t just cute t-shirt worthy quotes….these are words to live by. To bask in. To be immersed in.

    So in praying verses 5-6 this morning, I say, “Lord, I give myself to the Lord;
    I trust in You, and know You will help me;
    You will make righteousness shine like the noonday sun.”

    Liked by 1 person

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