186 – Psalms 37 – Discouraged?
Where do you turn when you are discouraged? How do you deal with injustice? What do you do when fear suddenly overwhelms you? When will you feel safe and secure again? Why does discouragement, injustice, fear, and despondency seem to descend upon our nation like a cloud that refuses to lift these days? Can we do anything about any of this?
Maybe you’ve become depressed just reading these questions. I want to, first of all, acknowledge that if you are feeling any of these things it is understandable and you are not alone. In these tumultuous times, all of these negative emotions are normal. But I want to offer some hope.
There are forty verses in Psalm 37. I hope you will resolve to spend some time reading and considering this wonderful portion of scripture in its entirety. Let me help get you started. Consider the first verse.
1 Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
Let’s see if we can unpack this a little. Right away we are confronted with two imperatives or commands. Two things the audience is commanded to not do. 1) Do not fret, and 2) Do not be envious.
To me, the word “fret” means to worry, but we should probably consult the source language dictionary to be sure.
According to the “Genenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament”, the range of meaning for the word translated “fret” is, to burn, To be kindled, to be angry, to make to burn, to kindle anger.
The second imperative to not be envious seems obvious. We wouldn’t envy their iniquity, but we well may be tempted to envy their success and apparent freedom from consequence. After all, I can’t seem to get away with stealing a cookie before dinner, and look at all they have done without fear of consequence!
“And God, how can you command me to not get mad at these evildoers? Haven’t you seen what they’ve done?”
But we must read on to put things in perspective.
2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
And wither as the green herb.
This is why I’m not to get angry and or envious. These people will not enjoy their success for very long. Their success, if we can call it that, is fleeting at best.
Verse one gave two negative imperatives or things we are commanded to not do, then verse two gave us two reasons why. Next, verse three gives us four positive imperatives or things we need to be doing.
3 Trust in the LORD [Yahweh], and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Let me remind you of the context. The Psalmist is writing to an Old Testament audience. Furthermore, his audience is the Israelites – Yahweh’s covenant people. When the Psalmist commands dwell in the land he is referring to the land Yahweh gave them through Joshua after leading them out of bondage. Dwell there. Stay in the land and enjoy God’s provision. God was faithful to drive out the enemy and give them the land. They were to understand that Yahweh was faithful and could be counted on to be continuously faithful. The same is true of God today. He was and is faithful to us.
Bringing this forward to us today, you and I have a choice to make. Where will you and I dwell? Will we in anger and envy fix our eyes upon the wicked? Or will we:
- Trust in Yahweh.
- Do good.
- Dwell in the land.
- Feed on His [Yahweh’s] faithfulness.
There is so much more in Psalm 37, maybe we’ll look at more next time. I would encourage you to read it all the way through several times. Meditate on the truth found within. Make a conscious decision to do the imperatives listed in this wonderful Psalm. Then reap the benefits of obeying God’s Word.
God truly is worthy of all our praise, worship, and adoration.
All Scripture quotations from The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Print.