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Psalm 37
Of David. (This psalm is an acrostic poem, each stanza beginning with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet)
1Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers!
2For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb.
3Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
4Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.
6He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.
7Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!
8Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
9For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.
10In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.
11But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.
12The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes his teeth at him,
13but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming.
14The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose way is upright;
15their sword shall enter their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.
16Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked.
17For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous.
18The Lord knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will remain forever;
19they are not put to shame in evil times; in the days of famine they have abundance.
20But the wicked will perish; the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures; they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.
21The wicked borrows but does not pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives;
22for those blessed by the Lord shall inherit the land, but those cursed by him shall be cut off.
23The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way;
24though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.
25I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.
26He is ever lending generously, and his children become a blessing.
27Turn away from evil and do good; so shall you dwell forever.
28For the Lord loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
29The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever.
30The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice.
31The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip.
32The wicked watches for the righteous and seeks to put him to death.
33The Lord will not abandon him to his power or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial.
34Wait 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.
35I have seen a wicked, ruthless man, spreading himself like a green laurel tree.
36But he passed away, and behold, he was no more; though I sought him, he could not be found.
37Mark the blameless and behold the upright, for there is a future for the man of peace.
38But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed; the future of the wicked shall be cut off.
39The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.
40The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.

This psalm seems long and meandering to me. But there is one overarching theme despite the many side roads taken to get there. David wrote this psalm using the first letters of the Hebrew alphabet as his start point. That’s why the psalm is so repetitive. But the point is fairly simple: it may seem like the Lord doesn’t mete out justice the way we think He should when He allows the wicked to prosper and the His people to struggle. But we must keep the big picture in mind. We have eternal life with God because of Jesus’ suffering and death. We get to experience forever the victory that He won on the cross. The prosperity of the wicked is fleeting. It may in fact last for their entire lives. But their eternity won’t be as sweet as ours. And it is up to God alone as to the final outcome for everyone.

With that big picture in mind, there are several of these verses that are pure gold. In the midst of the psalm, on three separate occasions, David takes time to extol the benefits of living life with God.

3Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
4Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.
7Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;

29The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever.
30The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice.
31The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip.

39The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.
40The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.

Each of these passages makes me take pause and say “yes, that is the life I want to have!” David expresses genuine frustration at the way life seems to treat the evil with reward. But if we allow the Spirit to speak through our hearts we have to acknowledge that the life we truly want isn’t one of monetary wealth or great popularity but instead a life of trust in the Lord and faithfulness. Even without monetary wealth, this is a rich life indeed.

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