Fret not thyself because of evildoers,
neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
and wither as the green herb.
Trust in the LORD, and do good;
so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
Delight thyself also in the LORD,
and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
Commit thy way unto the LORD,
trust also in Him,
and He shall bring it to pass.
And He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light,
and thy judgment as the noonday.
Rest in the LORD,
and wait patiently for Him…
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath:
fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.
For evildoers shall be cut off,
but those that wait upon the LORD,
they shall inherit the earth.
For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be:
yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.
But the meek shall inherit the earth,
and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
The LORD knows the days of the upright,
and their inheritance shall be forever.
They shall not be ashamed in the evil time,
and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.
Selected verses from Psalm 37
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This has long been a favorite passage of mine. In fact, I would venture to say that verses 1-8 of Psalm 37 are my life’s verses, and I claimed them when I was but a young girl. Take a look at the commands given to us here:
- Fret not
- Trust in the Lord
- Do good
- Delight in the Lord
- Commit your way to the Lord
- Trust in Him [repeated]
- Rest in the Lord
- Wait patiently for Him
- Fret not [repeated]
- Cease from anger
- Forsake wrath
- Fret not [for the third time]
These are not hard commands, they are impossible. Why do you think God tells us twice to trust Him, and three times not to fret? Because He knows how quickly we are prone to take our eyes off Him when the waves crash around us, and He knows that we are worry-warthogs. But just reading what God expects of me produces a calm in my spirit and motivates me to pray, “Dear Lord, I want to trust You, I want to do good, to delight in You, to commit my way to You, rest in You and wait patiently for You. I desire to cease from anger and forsake wrath. And above all, I long give You all my worries, and all my cares. But I need You. I cannot do any of this without You. Please, Lord, work this in me.” And He will.
But this passage has more than just commands; it also has promises.
- The evildoers will be cut down like the grass (v.2).
- You will dwell in the land and be fed (v.3).
- God will give you the desires of your heart (v.4).
- He will bring it to pass (v.5).
- He will protect your character (v.6).
- Evildoers will be cut off (repeated, v.9).
- They who wait on the Lord will inherit the earth (v.9).
Do you get what God is saying here? He will take care of you. No matter what your need is, no matter what problem you are facing, He is able and willing to take care of it. So just sit still, rest, wait, and let God be God.
A Prescription for Peace
Do you have peace in your heart and life? Do you want peace? Right here in Psalm 37 we have a prescription for peace.
- Trust — This implies a relationship. You have to start by receiving God’s gift of grace by faith. There is only one way to come to God, and that is through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. God is so much more than “the man upstairs,” guiding the affairs of men. He is our Father, to those who have that relationship. He loves us, and He desires to walk and talk with us as friend with friend. When you have a friendship built on trust, you have a rare jewel indeed, someone to whom you can tell anything and you know it will stay right there. Not only that, but that person will listen to what you say because he accepts you for who you are. God is like that because God is the best Friend anyone could ever have. Fathers fail us. Friends fail us. But God will never leave you or forsake you. He never fails.2.
- Delight — Only God can fully fulfill the desires of the heart, but you have to plunge in, not just stick a toe in. It’s like getting into the swimming pool. When you step in slowly, the water feels cold and uncomfortable; but when you dive or jump in, it feels cool and refreshing. People who do not know the Lord cannot understand the joy that comes from serving Him, but I can tell you that there is nothing like it.3.
- Commit — Based on the Hebrew word which means “to roll onto, or to give over,” this essentially says, “Give it to God.” Let Him direct your steps. If you are single and desiring to be married, let Him bring you a candidate for marriage. I promise He is a better judge of character than you or I because He sees the heart. You and I can be deceived. We only see what people want us to see. Sometimes we only see what we want to see. I myself quit looking for a mate. In fact, I quit looking to be married at all, and God brought the perfect man along for me at just the right time—then He had to convince me that it was okay to get married! But this idea of committing your way to the Lord works in every area of life, not just marriage.
The key to finding the rest areas on this journey called Life is to learn these three things: Trust, Delight, and Commit. But even when you find rest, this is not a time to do nothing. You must continue to trust, continue to delight, continue to commit—and above all, continue to rest and wait, because God’s will takes time.
The Lord Knows
“The Lord knows the days of the upright, and their inheritance shall be forever” (Psalm 37:18).
I might just as easily say, Only the Lord knows the days of the upright. God knows how many days each one of us has been granted to live on this earth, and He knows all that will happen to us from the beginning to the end of our days. We make plans for tomorrow, but we cannot know exactly what tomorrow will bring. Only God knows that. And none of us knows when we will breathe our last breath, but God does.
…and their inheritance shall be forever. These bodies are not designed to last forever. They last as long as we need them to, and then they decay and return to dust. But our souls, they do live forever. Those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb will live forever with Him in the glories of heaven. That is our inheritance, and it can never be taken away.
Isn’t it wonderful to know that while I live the Lord is my protector, my defense, and my provider; and when I die, He will carry me into Glory to live with Him forever! I don’t need to fear the future because God is already there. All I need to do is trust in the Lord, delight in the Lord, and commit my way to Him, and He will give me rest. I don’t need to fret about my troubles, because the Lord already knows.
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Photo of Bodie Island Lighthouse taken in Outer Banks, North Carolina, 2017
The portion regarding “A Prescription for Peace” is largely based on a message preached at my church recently by Dr. Tim Zacharias.