Continuing our Summer of Psalms series, Pastor Chris jumps into Psalms chapter 37. This Psalm written by King David is a Wisdom Psalm very similar to something you would find in Proverbs. Even some similar phrasing as well as a familiar verse that Jesus used when preaching the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 5.
This Psalm address the age old question of, “Why does good things happen to bad people?” It helps the faithful see that it really is better to stay loyal to the Lord., and the Lord makes distinctions between these groups in His timing. And we as faithful ones committed to the Lord must wait patiently.
In the first 11 verse of the chapter, David outlines a mathematical equation for us to better understand and to hold on when it seems that things are falling apart around us and when it feels as if the wicked are succeeding. It goes something like this: Trust + Commit + Rest + Let Go + Hope = Faith / Fear.
When we trust God and even delight in Him as verse 3 and 4 tell us, there is something to be enjoyed. When was the last time that you just delighted or took enjoyment in the presence of God? This then leads us into the next part of the equation, commit. How committed to the Lord are you? What are you holding back? The Hebrew word here for commit is something inline with being all in. Committing to the point of no return. The imagery used is along the lines of baking something and mixing all of the ingredients for dough and then rolling them together. Once all of the items are rolled together, there is no turning back. You cannot just pull out the flour or salt or anything that you mixed together. Are you committed to the Lord in the way that you can no longer go back to who you were before?
The next part of the math is Rest. When was the last time that you just rested in the presence of the Lord? There are 2 types of worship. Personal worship in your bible reading time, singing along to a worship song, your prayer life and then there is Corporate Worship, Family Church Worship. We live in a day that makes us think that we don’t need to go to church with other people. We are good on our own. There is something that is missed in our spiritual life when this happens. We need to rest with our Christian brothers and sisters in life and walk along side them and expect God to show up on a Sunday no matter how, where, of what is apart of that service.
The last 2 parts of the equation are all about letting anger go and refraining from frustration that comes in life due to the wicked. Life is going to come at us, the question is how are we going to respond? The final part is Hope. “Hope in the Lord, those who Hope will inherit the land.” (Psalm 37:9) David is talking about the faithfulness of God when the wicked are done away with, the faithful will remain.
But what does all of this equal? Faith over Fear! This is a great math problem because we are actually given the answer in the first verse. It says, “Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong;” Worry really is fear. We worry, we fret, we obsess, we compare ourself with everyone around us and we even go beyond that. -I heard the quote: “I am an old man that has had a lot of trouble, but most of it never happened.” We borrow trouble that may never happen. Another translation of verse 1 says “Don’t be annoyed by anyone who does wrong, and don’t envy them.”
Why should we not worry or fret or be annoyed by those who do wrong? Verse 2 tells us, “for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.” No matter how much they think that they are in control, have the money to make everything happen just right, take leadership so they can lord over those less than then, or get any with anything, it is not going to last. Just like the grass or flowers that look good for a time, they will wither away and be no more.
So how should we conduct ourself? We are not to live a wicked life as outlined in verse 12-20 because we know that the wicked parish but how are we to live? Psalm 37:27-28 says, “Turn from evil and do good; then you will dwell in the land forever. For the Lord loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones.” We are to do good, live generous lives, help others around us, and love everyone. And when we are established in the Lord when it looks like we are falling or tripping, God will uphold us. He has got our back!
David ends the Psalm with these verses, “The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in 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 37:39-40) Trust, Commit, Rest, Let Go, and Hope and we can live a life of Faith over Fear. This is how we are to live a righteous life.
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