Reflections on Psalm 37   Leave a comment

1. Trust in the Lord and do not turn from Him
2. Wait on the Lord and strive for righteousness
3. Delight in the Lord and seek peace in Him
4. Come to the Lord and avoid utter destruction

“Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous.” — Psalm 37:16-17

I have the arm of the Lord under me, acting as my foundation. I have the arm of the Lord above me, giving me cover and protection. I have the arm of the Lord surrounding me, acting as my shelter and peace. Yet, I have nothing. In this world, I am poor and I am to be pitied. My God is weak, my faith is ignorant, my hope is foolishness. I have nothing!

But God promises that “better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked.” This isn’t me holding onto God, fighting off the temptations of my sinful neighbor offering me the world. This is me clinging to God, desperately trying to stay alive in a barrage of all the enemies of the entire world, throwing at me all their weapons of lust, of wealth, of glory. I am not standing up trying to dodge the jabs of my opponent. Rather, I am knocked onto the ground, shielding myself as best as possible against the barrage of the entire world, throwing all at me, even the kitchen sink, if that might jar loose my grip of God.

But all throughout, God is there, shielding me from the blows… Oh how I would be overcome so quickly were it not for His hand holding me up, protecting me from the barrage of the world, and giving me a place of rest and peace.

Yet God, through David, must give this promise in Psalm 37 because, although I be in the safety of His hands, I hear the assaults outside. I hear the threats to coax me out. I hear the promises of the world to hand over the keys to all they have if I would but join their cause. I hear Satan calling out to me, saying, “You will not surely die” (Genesis 3:4) and “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me” (Matthew 4:9).

I am weak. I peek through the fingers of God and I see the strength, the beauty, and the glory of the world… and I want it all. I am not only tempted with the grandeur of the world but with thoughts that God’s promises will never arrive for me–that it’s better to take the quick payout than to not get paid at all. But God promises throughout this psalm to “fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb” (Psalm 37:1-2). Over and over again, He acknowledges that the world is tempting–it has something appealing to offer. But He promises that He will destroy them, and you, too, if you ally yourself with them. And He promises redemption for those who are righteous–who hold fast to His promises and the hope found in Him. God promises, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). Or, as Dr. John Piper said, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart… the Lord.”

Don’t become another casualty to the world. Don’t become another victim to its cause. Don’t become an ally, shaking your fist at God and assaulting the hand that once held you. God warns of their fate over and over and over again… He makes it abundantly clear the fate they will befall: “they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb” (Psalm 37:2); “the evildoer shall be cut off” (Psalm 37:9); “in just a little while, the wicked will be no more” (Psalm 37:10); “the Lord laughs at the wicked, for He sees that his day is coming” (Psalm 37:13); “their sword shall enter their own heart, and their bows shall be broken” (Psalm 37:15); “the arms of the wicked shall be broken” (Psalm 37:17); “the wicked will perish; the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures; they vanish–like smoke they vanish away” (Psalm 37:20); “those cursed by Him shall be cut off” (Psalm 37:22); “the children of the wicked shall be cut off” (Psalm 37:28); “I have seen the wicked, ruthless man… but he passed away, and behold, he was no more” (Psalm 37:35-6); “transgressors shall be altogether destroyed; the future of the wicked shall be cut off” (Psalm 37:38). These are all warnings against the world and promises to His children.

“The Lord will not abandon him to his power, or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial. 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” (Psalm 37:33-4).

God promises to be there. He does not say that He will keep you from going to trial. He does not say that He will keep any hardships from coming your way. He does not say that you will not be hit by the various ammunitions of the world. But He does say one thing… wait… trust… and He will act, He will vindicate, and He will deliver.

Weak and weary saint, “trust in the Lord” (Psalm 37:3). Do not act as a spiritual hero, jumping out from behind your wall of safety to combat the world. You will be hit, you will be knocked down, and you will be overtaken. Rather, trust that God is waiting, God is working, and God is going to win. Remember His promises to you, and His threats against the world. Christian, do not be so foolish. Find peace and rest within the safety of His gentle touch. Hold fast to the anchor of His arms.

The world is in a battle with God. There is plenty of bloodshed. Do not be scared of the assault. Do not be anxious about the war. Do not be tempted by the promises of the world. “Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous.” He is sheltering you and protecting you, but He will soon raise His other hand in violent anger against the world, stopping their assault and destroying their assailants in an instant. Just remember His promises. Just delight in His ways. Just hold on to His hand… just wait, just wait.

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Posted June 11, 2009 by Mitchell J. Kim in Uncategorized

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