Psalms 37:0 ¶ A Psalm of David.
This is yet another psalm from the heart of David. We learn from verse 25 that he is writing this when he is an older man.
Psalms 37:1 ¶ Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.
Psalms 37:2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.
“fret” = “to glow or grow warm; figuratively (usually) to blaze up, of anger, zeal, jealousy”
David is basically telling us not to be jealous of those that seem to be getting away with doing evil and prospering and not let that fact provoke us to anger. He reminds us that the time of their judgment is sure.
Spurgeon: “Evil men instead of being envied, are to be viewed with horror and aversion; yet their loaded tables, and gilded trappings, are too apt to fascinate our poor half opened eyes. Who envies the fat bullock the ribbons and garlands which decorate him as he is led to the shambles? Yet the case is a parallel one; for ungodly rich men are but as beasts fattened for the slaughter.”
Psalms 37:3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
Instead of fretting over evildoers, we should focus on trusting in the LORD and doing good so that we may reap the benefits of His provision. To trust in the LORD is to have faith that He can and will do what we cannot; He can and will provide what we can’t.
That’s so easy to say, yet so hard to do—especially when one is struggling with troubles in one’s own life. It’s hard not to make comparisons and wonder why God would allow evil men to prosper and His children suffer. That is why we have to keep our eyes on the LORD and the truth of His word. We know that the troubles of this world are nothing compared to the blessing that awaits us in eternity. We know that the riches of this life are not worth the misery of living an eternity in hell.
Romans 8:16–18 “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
We must remember that the LORD told us that we would experience trouble in this world, but we will gain the victory in Him.
John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
Psalms 37:4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
To delight in the LORD is to take pleasure in His will, His truth. When that is true, the desires of one’s heart will align with His heart; and He will give accordingly.
Psalms 37:5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
The Hebrew for “commit” was interesting; it referenced rolling together. It’s another way of expressing trust, of saying that you choose to make His will your will. Scripture is clear that His will always comes to pass.
Isaiah 46:9–10 “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure….”
Psalms 37:6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.
Those that trust in the LORD will be revealed as righteous and justified before creation.
Romans 8:19 “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.”
Colossians 3:3–4 “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”
Psalms 37:7 ¶ 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.
Psalms 37:8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.
I liked this definition from Webster for “rest”: “freedom from everything which wearies or disturbs; peace.” “Patience” is a reference to enduring physically with suffering and remaining calm and content. The psalmist is telling us again not to let the prosperity of the wicked to disturb our peace and not to let it cause us worry or stress. He tells us not to get angry because that can lead to doing evil yourself. That only results in harm to yourself.
The Hebrew for “rest” states “to be dumb…be silent….” To rest in the LORD is not to complain but to wait patiently for Him to act in judgment against the wicked.
Psalms 37:9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.
Psalms 37:10 For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.
Psalms 37:11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
David reminds us that evildoers will be destroyed, but those that have faith in the LORD will inherit the earth. One day the wicked will be destroyed and will no longer be a problem to you. Those who humble themselves before the LORD will inherit the earth and delight in the prosperity of God’s peace when He establishes His kingdom and rules from the throne of David.
Matthew 5:5 “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.”
“yet a little while” - It’s all a matter of perspective. From God’s perspective—about which the psalmist seems aware—it is but a little while.
Psalms 90:4 “For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.”
Psalms 37:12 The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.
Psalms 37:13 The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.
The wicked always look for ways to cause trouble for those that are just, that seek to follow the LORD in faith and obedience. God looks at these people with scorn because He knows that their day of judgment is coming.
Psalms 37:14 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.
Psalms 37:15 Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.
The wicked always look to take advantage of the poor and needy and to get rid of those who live righteously before God. They will soon find that their evil intentions will result in their own destruction.
Psalms 37:16 A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.
Psalms 37:17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the LORD upholdeth the righteous.
Psalms 37:18 The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever.
It is far better to have little and be righteous than to be rich and wicked. The LORD will one day reverse the situation. The wicked will lose their power; they will lose their ability to inflict harm. The LORD will establish and sustain the righteous in peace, and they will enjoy an inheritance from the LORD for eternity.
We are joint-heirs with Christ and will share in all the blessings of His inheritance.
Romans 8:16–17 “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”
Psalms 37:19 They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.
The LORD will not disappoint those that trust in Him during times of adversity and grief. He will provide for His own in days of lack.
Sometimes these truths are difficult to embrace at face value when we know of Christians suffering and in need. I think that is when it is most important for us to remember that the child of faith has aligned his/her will with God’s will and that we don’t understand all His ways. His promises are true! Yet, God’s way of keeping those promises often don’t align with our timing or expectations.
Psalms 37:20 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.
The wicked shall perish. The enemies of the LORD will be like the fat of the lambs that are sacrificed and is completely consumed and disappears like smoke.
Psalms 37:21 ¶ The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.
Psalms 37:22 For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.
David shares another difference between those that are wicked and those that are righteous. The wicked are takers that borrow with no intention of paying their debt, while the righteous are givers that are generous and merciful. Those that are blessed by the LORD (the righteous) will inherit the earth. Those that are cursed by the LORD will be destroyed.
Psalms 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.
Psalms 37:24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.
The word for “steps” makes reference to companionship. When a person is walking in companionship with the LORD, he is walking with delight and desire to please the LORD. Though he may stumble along the way, he will not stay down because the LORD will lift him up and sustain him with His strength.
Spurgeon: “Sorrow may bring us to the earth, and death may bring us to the grave, but lower we cannot sink, and out of the lowest of all we shall arise to the highest of all.”
Psalms 37:25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.
Psalms 37:26 He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.
David notes that he is no longer a young man. In his experience, he has never seen the righteous man forsaken by the LORD or his family reduced to beggary. The LORD is ever merciful and kind and abides with that person and blesses his family.
Psalms 37:27 Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore.
Psalms 37:28 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.
Psalms 37:29 The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever.
David warns us to stay away from evil and choose to do good—as defined by the word of God—throughout life. The LORD loves justice and will not forsake those that trust in Him. His saints can look forward to everlasting life in His presence; the wicked, however, face eternal destruction. Righteous saints will inherit the earth and dwell there for eternity.
Psalms 37:30 The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.
Psalms 37:31 The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.
David describes the righteous person as one that speaks wisdom and promotes justice because he treasures God’s law and lives accordingly.
Psalms 37:32 The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him.
Psalms 37:33 The LORD will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged.
The wicked are infuriated by the life of the righteous, so they seek to destroy them. The LORD will not abandon or condemn the righteous man.
NIV Commentary: “The ungodly cannot tolerate true piety. They can readily dismiss the hypocrite, the fake, and the enthusiast, but the living faith of the wise evokes furious reprisal.”
Psalms 37:34 ¶ 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.
The Hebrew for “wait” implies bound together in expectation. As we wait upon the LORD, we should follow Him in obedience. The reward will be to inherit the land. We will be witnesses when the wicked are finally be destroyed.
We should be waiting together in expectation to see prophecy fulfilled since the signs of the times surround us. One day soon He is coming to take us home; and soon after that, we will return with Him to witness the defeat of the forces of evil and the establishment of His kingdom. Such expectation is the greatest motivation in striving to live in obedience to the LORD.
Psalms 37:35 I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.
Psalms 37:36 Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.
David admits to seeing wicked men in power, prospering with far reaching influence as pictured by a green bay tree. Yet, one thing is sure—They always pass off the scene in death never to be found again.
Psalms 37:37 Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.
Psalms 37:38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.
David urges us to take note of the person that lives a clean life and is morally upright, because that man’s destiny is one of peace. However, the future of those who choose to rebel against the LORD in disobedience to live wicked lives is one of destruction.
Psalms 37:39 But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble.
Psalms 37:40 And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.
The LORD provides salvation to those that are righteous and choose to follow Him in faith and obedience. He is their help and strength in time of trouble. He will deliver them from the wicked and save them. Why? Because they trust in Him.
That last point is the key. The LORD delivers those that trust in Him. The LORD works all things together for good for those that love Him.
Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God….”
These promises in scripture that we often quote so glibly come with the caveat that we trust the LORD, that we love Him. And we all know that our actions are the proof of such faith and love.