Psalms 37

Text:

"1 Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! 2 For they will soon fade like the grass  and wither like the green herb. 3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;  dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. 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 act. 6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. 7 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! 8 Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. 9 For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land. 10 In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there. 11 But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace. 12 The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes his teeth at him, 13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming. 14 The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose way is upright; 15 their sword shall enter their own heart, and their bows shall be broken. 16 Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked. 17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous. 18 The Lord knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will remain forever; 19 they are not put to shame in evil times; in the days of famine they have abundance. 20 But the wicked will perish; the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures; they vanish—like smoke they vanish away. 21 The wicked borrows but does not pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives; 22 for those blessed by the Lord shall inherit the land, but those cursed by him shall be cut off. 23 The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; 24 though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand. 25 I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken     or his children begging for bread. 26 He is ever lending generously, and his children become a blessing. 27 Turn away from evil and do good; so shall you dwell forever. 28 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. 29 The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever. 30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice. 31 The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip. 32 The wicked watches for the righteous and seeks to put him to death. 33 The Lord will not abandon him to his power or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial. 34 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. 35 I have seen a wicked, ruthless man, spreading himself like a green laurel tree. 36 But he passed away, and behold, he was no more; though I sought him, he could not be found. 37 Mark the blameless and behold the upright, for there is a future for the man of peace. 38 But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed; the future of the wicked shall be cut off. 39 The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; he is their stronghold in the 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."

Lexicon:

vs. 3 - trust (batach) - "to have confidence in, to be bold, to be secure, to be careless, to hope in, to set one's hope and confidence upon anyone, to fear nothing for oneself"

vs. 3 - dwell (shakan) - "to settle down, to abide, to reside, to rest, to permanently stay"

vs. 4 - delight ('anag) - "to be glad in anything, to take exquisite delight, to make merry over"

vs. 4 - desires (mish'alah) - "request, petition, prayer"

vs. 5 - commit (galal) - "to roll together, to trust"

vs. 5 - act ('asah) - "to work, to produce, to accomplish, to prepare, to bring to pass, to create"

vs. 7 - be still (damam) - "to be silent, to wait, to be dumb, to hold peace to quiet oneself, to stand still, to cease"

vs. 7 - wait patiently (chuwl) - "to dance, to trust, to hope, to writhe in pain, to stay, to be strong or firm"

vs. 7 - fret not (charah) - "to be hot, to be furious, to burn, to be angry or vexed, to grieve, to rival or emulate"

vs. 8 - refrain (raphah) - "to let alone, to be quiet, to forsake, to abandon, to let drop, to relax"

vs. 8 - forsake ('azab) - "to leave behind, to depart from, to let go, to loose, to set free"

vs. 8 - wrath (chemah) - "rage, indignation, poison, venom, anger, hot displeasure"

vs. 9 - wait (qavah) - "to look for, to hope, to expect, to bind or twist together"

vs. 9 - inherit (yarash) - "to seize, to take possession of, to occupy, to be an heir"

vs. 11 - abundnant peace (rob shalown) - "multitude of completeness, wholeness, soundness, safety, contentment, tranquility, welfare health, prosperity"

vs. 17 - upholds (camak) - "to support, to sustain, to refresh, to revive"

vs. 23 - established (kuwn) - "to be firm, to be stable, to be fixed, to be prepared and ready, to be securely directed, to be ordered, to be restored"

vs. 23 - delights (chaphets) - "to take pleasure in, to desire, to be pleased to do"

vs. 23 - in his way (derek) - "journey, path, road, course of life, mode of action, direction"

vs. 31 - in his heart (leb) - "inner part, mind, will, understanding, seat of courage/emotions/passions, soul"

vs . 37 - future ('achariyth) - "latter part, posterity, the end"

vs. 39 - stronghold (ma'owz) - "refuge, place or means of safety, protection, harbor, defense fortress, a fortified place"

vs. 40 - delivers (palat) - "to save, to bring to security, to carry away safely, to deliver from danger"

vs. 40 - saves (yasha') - "to deliver, to give victory to, to deliver from moral troubles, to make free, to liberate, to rescue, to make safe, salvation"

vs. 40 - refuge (chacah) - "to flee for protection, to put trust in God, to confide or hope in God"

What does this reveal about God's character?

God is full of promises!  This Psalms contains promise after promise, revealing the richness of God's goodness and character.  God is good to His those who trust in Him.  Notice the "if, then" statements throughout the chapter: (vs. 3-4) trust in the Lord....do good...dwell...delight in the Lord, THEN He will give you the desires of your heart; (vs. 5) commit your way....trust in Him, THEN He will act; (vs. 6-9) be still...wait patiently...fret not...refrain from anger...forsake wrath, THEN you shall inherit what the Lord has promised.  God will not force His will on us.  We must fully embrace Him, pursue Him and choose for His will to be carried out in our lives. This can be scary because we have our own dreams/goals/desires and fears/worries, but this Psalm of David reminds us that God is faithful, that He can be trusted, and that His promises are true.  God is calling us to let go today and to let Him direct and establish our steps.

Questions:

1) Do I expect the promises of God without first pursuing Him?  Has my image of God turned into a genie in a bottle?

2) Each of the imperative statements in verses 3-9 are so difficult.  Which one(s) do you feel you struggle with the most, and why?

3) Have you hidden God's Word in your heart?  Do you know Scripture?

4) Where do you run in times of trouble?  Do you put your hope and confidence in God or in man?

5) What is God calling you to do today, as you meditate on this passage?  Whatever it is, don't hesitate - do it now!

Prayer:

Father God, thank you for your Word that is rich with promises of your protection, guidance, provision, goodness, justice and faithfulness.  It is promises and encouragement like these that get me through the tough times.  Lord, help me to hide your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you (Psalms 119:11).  Give me a thirst and desire to do your will and to seek you wholeheartedly (Matthew 7:7).  Help me to lean not on my own understanding, but look to you to direct my steps (Proverbs 3:5-6).  Forgive my insolence when I expect your promises without first pursuing you.  Remind me that what you want is me - an intimate relationship with your child.  Father God, I let go of my dreams and desires.  I place them in your loving hands.  I let go of my fears and worries.  I release them to you and ask you to guide and strengthen me.  I ask you to weed out and remove anything not in line with your will for my life; and, I ask you to grow and fulfill every desire and dream that is in line with your perfect will for my life.  In you I place my trust.  You are my refuge and my deliverer, my fortress and my Savior.  Thank you for all you are and all you do for me.  In Jesus' name, Amen.