Psalm 37 is another psalm written by David, but it was written when he was much older according to verse 25. It is another acrostic Psalm, but it is similar to a Proverb and is considered a teaching or wisdom Psalm. It is one of four psalms that discusses the† power, greed, and prosperity of the wicked (Ps. 10; 37; 49; 73). In this Psalm, David teaches us how we should deal with the reality that the wicked are successful and prosperous at times. He also tells us how God will always be with the righteous and how the wicked will not prevail.
Psalm 37:1 A Psalm of David. Do not fret because of evildoers, Nor be envious of 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; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.† 4 Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.† 5 Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.† 6 He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, And your justice as the noonday. †
Our world will always have evildoers in it, but we should never worry about them or what success they are having, and we should certainly not be envious of what they have because their success will be short lived. David illustrates this by comparing the wicked† to temporary nature of †grass and smoke. Even if someone wicked continues to prosper till the day he dies, his works and prosperity will end there, and he will be like the rich man in Luke 16; he will find himself in the torments of hell for eternity while the righteous like Lazarus will enjoy the comfort of heaven.
When we remind ourselves about the temporary nature of our lives on this earth compared to eternity, it will help us not to be envious of evildoers because we can know that their success and way of life will only last short term, which is why David tells us to trust in the Lord and do good. Since we know God keeps His promises and makes things work out for the best, we should take great delight in the Lord and realize that He will give us what we need. We can know that when we pray for something that is in accordance to His will, He will make it happen. Those who trust in God and serve Him with love will rewarded by God; if not in this life, we will be rewarded in heaven.
Psalm 37:7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.† 8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret -- it only causes harm.† 9 For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the LORD, They shall inherit the earth.† 10 For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; Indeed, you will look carefully for his place, But it shall be no more.† 11 But the meek shall inherit the earth, And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
It will test our faith in God when we see those we know are evil and that do all kinds of horrible things, yet they continue to prosper. However, David tells us not to fret that is to burn with anger when we see this happening. Instead, he wants us to rest in the Lord and wait on Him patiently. David knows what he is talking about because he has experienced this throughout his life. There were times when his enemies had him surrounded and he felt vulnerable, and he did not like how successful his enemy were at times, but he did his best to trust in God and wait on His timing, and this always worked out well for him in the end.
The worse thing we could do is to become angry and unleash our wrath on the wicked because it will cause us to sin. As James said:
James 1:19 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;† 20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
Paul adds this insight:
Romans 12:19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord.† 20 Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head."† 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Back in our Psalm, David says the reason we need to wait on the Lord is because He will cut off the evildoers, but He will do it in his own time. During the time this Psalm was written, God had already cut down many of Davidís enemies before Him and so the righteous and the meek were the ones that received the land that God had promised. If we will trust in God, we can know that through His providence He will deal with the evildoers today as well. Whether it happens today, 20 years from now, or at the final judgment, we need to let God take care of it and not allow it to make us angry or full of wrath. Just take comfort in knowing that God is control and will take care of the wicked and the righteous.
Psalm 37:12 The wicked plots against the just, And gnashes at him with his teeth.† 13 The Lord laughs at him, For He sees that his day is coming.† 14 The wicked have drawn the sword And have bent their bow, To cast down the poor and needy, To slay those who are of upright conduct.† 15 Their sword shall enter their own heart, And their bows shall be broken.
Many times those who follow the wicked way become our enemy because they cannot stand the righteous, They will do what they can to plot against and gnash their teeth at us like a lion who wants to devour it prey. When the wicked makes their plans and think they are accomplishing something great, David says God laughs at them because in the end they will not be victorious, but victims of Godís wrath, and there is nothing they can do about it.
Yes, they may win some battles against the righteous, but they will never win the war because the final word on the matter with be the day of Judgment when God will separate the wicked from the righteous, and the wicked will suffer eternal torment for their wicked ways. Basically, their wickedness will be their downfall as David said, 15 Their sword shall enter their own heart, And their bows shall be broken.
While we can gleam a spiritual message from this, David also had in mind how God continued to deliver the enemies of God to the children of Israel as they took over the land of Canaan, and how they would continue to subdue their enemies as long they remained faithful to God.
Psalm 37:16 A little that a righteous man has Is better than the riches 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 upright, And their inheritance shall be forever.† 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, Like the splendor of the meadows, shall vanish. Into smoke they shall vanish away.† 21 The wicked borrows and does not repay, But the righteous shows mercy and gives.† 22 For those blessed by Him shall inherit the earth, But those cursed by Him shall be cut off.
Sometimes the wicked may be swimming in material wealth and prosperity, but to live for God and to trust in Him is far greater than material things. Besides, those things they have will not last because as David says, the arms of the wicked will be broken, but the righteous will continue to prosper physically, but more importantly spiritually.
The destination of the wicked is no secret, because the wicked are predestined to perish and be cut off from the Lord forever in the pits of hell. Again, there time is limited because they are like the flowers of the field, here today, gone tomorrow, but the righteous has the promise of enduring and continuing to prosper in heaven for eternity.
David talks about how the wicked are people who borrow and donít pay back because they always want to take and not give, but the righteous person is the one who has a giving spirit and wants to do what they can to help those in need. As Jesus said, it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).
During the O.T. times, we can see how the children of
Psalm 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way.† 24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the LORD upholds him with His hand.† 25 I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread.† 26 He is ever merciful, and lends; And his descendants are blessed.
Those who pursue God and the righteous path, will allow their steps to be directed by God. Those that love the Lord, will find great joy in allowing Him to be their guide. We can know that if we are walking in the light of righteousness, even if we fall from time to time, we will not be completely cut off from God, because He will be there for us to give us the strength and the encouragement we need to get back up and continue our journey to heaven. As John said:
1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.† 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.† 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Back in our Psalm, David is describing Godís mercy and His grace. David thinks back over his life, and he has seen firsthand that God does not neglect His children because David has never seen one of Godís children destitute or begging for bread. If we will put our trust in God, we will have what we need to sustain us, and we can have the same attitude expressed by Paul in:
1 Timothy 6:6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain.† 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.† 8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
Psalm 37:27 Depart from evil, and do good; And dwell forevermore.† 28 For the LORD loves justice, And does not forsake His saints; They are preserved forever, But the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off.† 29 The righteous shall inherit the land, And dwell in it forever.† 30 The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, And his tongue talks of justice.† 31 The law of his God is in his heart; None of his steps shall slide.
David uses the simplest terms for living for God. Depart from evil and do good, which will cause us to dwell forevermore. Of course, it is much easier to say than it is to do, but if we want to have home in heaven and be pleasing to God, that is exactly what we must do, depart from evil and do good.
Since the Lord loves
justice and will not forsake those who follow Him it should encourage us stay
away from wickedness and embrace righteousness because the righteous will be
preserved forever, but the wicked will be cut off. Again, the immediate thought
is how the children of
Those who allow God to direct their steps will also speak with wisdom and with justice because when we allow Godís Word to sink deep down in our hearts, we will speak as the oracles of God. As long as we continue to allow God to direct our steps, we will not slide or slip off† the pathway the lead to eternal life.
Psalm 37:32 The wicked watches the righteous, And seeks 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 you to inherit the land; When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.
Once again, David emphasizes how the wicked cannot stand the righteous and how they will do what they can to destroy them, but God will not leave the righteous in their hands, and God will not condemn the righteous just because the wicked do. We need to keep in mind that when it says God will deliver us from the hands our enemies, it is speaking in general terms because there will be instances where the righteous may even be put to death by the wicked like James or any other number of martyred Christians. Even in these instances, the wicked can only affect the body of the saint because they cannot touch his soul. In a spiritual sense, there is no wicked deed that our soul cannot escape from because only God has the power over our soul as Jesus said:
Matthew 10:28 "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. †
So, never stop waiting on the Lord, no matter what circumstance you find yourself in.
David ends his Psalm by saying:
Psalm 37:35 I have seen the wicked in great power, And spreading himself like a native green tree.† 36 Yet he passed away, and behold, he was no more; Indeed I sought him, but he could not be found.† 37 Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright; For the future of that man is peace.† 38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together; The future of the wicked shall be cut off.† 39 But the salvation of the righteous is from 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.
Again, David is looking back at his life and the challenges he faced against his enemies. Even those wicked enemies that became very powerful and grew great in number, eventually, they were brought low, and when David tried to find them, he could not. But, when he recalls those who stood up for God and the righteous way, in the end they continued to prosper.
Yes, the wicked may become powerful and rich for a season, but it will not last because they will be brought low, and even if they die while living in prosperity, they cannot take it with them, and the judgment of God will be upon them, but the righteous can rest assured that when they trust in God and keep the faith, God will take care of them, and they will always be victorious in the end because every faithful child of will get to enjoy the riches of heaven and get to be with God Almighty.
In conclusion, let us learn from this Psalm not to worry or get angry about how the wicked prosper or seem to get away with murder. Instead, let us focus on Godís love and trust in His timing and justice. We can rest assured that the blessing we have as Christians far outweigh anything the wicked can have because we have the hope of heaven and all spiritual riches that go along with it, but the wicked have nothing to look forward to because their home will be with the devil and his angels. I want to conclude my lesson with the Word of Jesus:
Matthew 6:25 "
Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what
you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more
than food and the body more than clothing?†
26 "Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow
nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you
not of more value than they?† 27
"Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?† 28 "So why do you worry about
clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil
nor spin;† 29 "and yet I
say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of
these.† 30 "Now if God so
clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the
oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little
faith?† 31 "Therefore do
not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What
shall we wear?'† 32 "For
after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that
you need all these things.† 33
"But seek first the