Psalm 37

The believer should never waste a minute fretting about his enemies,
but should look forward with the eye of faith,
when he will see no reason to envy wicked people their short-lived prosperity.
Those who make God their heart’s delight will have their heart’s desire and will be fully satisfied in Him.

1 Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.

2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.

3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.

7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.

8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.

9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.

10 For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.

11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

12 The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.

13 The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.

14 The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation.

15 Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.

16 A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.

17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the LORD upholdeth the righteous.

18 The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever.

19 They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.

20 But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.

21 The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.

22 For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.

23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.

24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.

25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

26 He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.

27 Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore.

28 For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.

29 The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever.

30 The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.

31 The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.

32 The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him.

33 The LORD will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged.

34 Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.

35 I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.

36 Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.

37 Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.

38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.

39 But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble.

40 And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.

Psalm 37:1-17 – ​A Sure Cure for Fretting

   This is an acrostic psalm, grappling with the problem of the inequality of human life and the apparent failure of God to reward His servants and punish His enemies as they deserve. Life and immortality, where we know that the balance will be readjusted, had not then been brought to light, and therefore the solution was far harder before the advent of our Lord than for us.
   But though the psalmist’s solution is therefore not complete, his teaching of the blessedness of absolute trust in God’s providence is very delightful. Fret not thyself; that is, do not give way to passionate resentment or bitter disappointment. Live in God; find your delight in contemplating His nature and His works; roll on Him the decision of your life-choices; trust in Him to supply all your need and work in your behalf. Be silent and rest!
   How dramatically this picture of the happy, restful child of God is contrasted with the wicked and his certain doom—like barren pastures scorched by heat, or thin smoke-columns vanishing in the air! “Wait and trust! —Through the Bible Day by Day

Psalm 37:4—Delight thyself also in the LORD.

​   One of Tauler’s hymns is a lovely specimen of how a man delights in the Lord. He takes a number of familiar instances of close affinity and interdependence, and applies them to the intimacy subsisting between him and his beloved Lord:–

       “As the bridegroom to his chosen,
          As the king unto his realm,
       As the keep unto the castle,
          As the pilot to the helm,
             So, Lord, art Thou to me.”

   But we cannot delight thus without effort. We must withdraw our eager desires from the things of earth, fastening and fixing them on Him. The current of our being must set towards God. We must cultivate the habit of holy intimacy with Him, whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain. We must accustom ourselves to hold up before us the successive attributes and works of God, till they strike our admiration, and elicit our homage.
   Then we shall find rest unto our souls, because He will give us the desires of our hearts. When God Himself is our desire we shall be for ever delivered from disappointment, because we can always have Him; we shall be removed from risk of penury and want, because we can have as much of Him as we need; we shall be beyond the fear of loss, because He changes not. They who want God possess Him. To long for God is to have that for which you long. To delight in God is to delight in One, of whom there is an infinity for everyone, so that there need be no stint, no jealousy, no envy, no satiety. Everyone can have as much as he can hold. “God giveth not the Spirit by measure” (John 3:34). There is no gauge of our consumption! —Our Daily Homily

Psalm 37:18-29 – ​Ways That God Establishes

   God takes pleasure in our lives. In each He is working out a plan. Even our failures do not turn Him away from us, for He keeps fast hold of our hands, Psalm 37:24. Long after His people have passed home, God sees to their children. If they follow in their parents’ ways, they are borne along in the stream of providential care; but obviously they may depart from it. What precious promises in Psalm 37:28, 31, 33, 37, 39-40! Never forsaken! Always sure of an Advocate in the Divine Presence! Not left to the mercy of our foes! Safely housed in the time of need! Dying in peace! Such are the blessings which accrue to the servant of God. Such has been the observation of one no longer young, Psalm 37:25.
   When taunted, persecuted, maligned, desperate, go into a silent place and lift your tear-stained face to Him. He understands the unspoken language of sighs and tears. Do not hurry Him; He has ages to work in. Wait patiently and rest. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Psalm 37:30-40 – ​Steps That Shall not Slide

   How dear this psalm has been to God’s saints! It has been peculiarly prized by them in all ages. Gerhardt has paraphrased it in his noble hymn:

       Give to the winds thy fears,
       Hope, and be undismayed.

When banished from Berlin by the Elector, he turned into a small wayside hostelry, not knowing where to go. Seeing his wife greatly depressed, he turned to find comfort for them both in these verses, and the conception of his hymn broke upon him. That evening messengers arrived from the Duke of Mecklenburg, offering Gerhardt an honorable position in his kingdom. Among many others, Psalm 37:5 was frequently quoted by David Livingstone. 
   The psalmist repeatedly insists that the fulfillment of God’s promises is conditioned by our faith, Psalm 37:40. The day may break stormily, but the storms expend themselves before nightfall and the sunset is golden. —Through the Bible Day by Day