Wed., Mar. 9/22
Psalm 37, a psalm of David, is one of nine* psalms which, in the Hebrew Bible, are written as acrostic poems. – i.e. each stanza beginning with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Presumably this was done to make memorization of these psalms easier, which suggests their content is of particular importance.
Three times in the first nine verses of this psalm we are told not to fret – i.e to be constantly and visibly worried or anxious — over the apparent successes of evil people in this world (v.1, 7, 8). To combat this tendency we are given three attitudes we must take and one we must avoid.
The first of these is Trust. Trust in our Lord. Only He knows the whole story, sees it from beginning to end. The Christian knows the evil will not ultimately succeed. “Trust in the Lord and do good,” enjoins David (v.3). The race is not yet over. Better to run your best in the right direction than fastest in the wrong.
The next attitude is to Delight. “Delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (v.4). But we must be careful with this one. You cannot make a deal with God! Now you may “desire” vengeance on the wicked and think: God, I will “delight” in You, praise You.. talk about You… so that You will grant my “desire” of vengeance.
But that is not the equation to apply! Rather, we “delight” in the Lord by adopting the heart of the indwelling Holy Spirit, the heart of the Lord. We do this by surrendering our desires for His desires, aligning ourselves with His, as yet often unclear, purposes. In this way we become useful instruments in His best plan. Many wicked persons may yet be saved! (cf Luke 23:42-43; John 7:5 & James 1:1; Acts 9:1-20).
Finally, the psalmist urges us to an attitude of commitment to the Lord… “Commit your way to the Lord,” he says (v.5). Though Frank Sinatra boasted in song “I did it my way,” the Lord Almighty says, “my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” (Isa. 55:8). Rest in Him to guide your steps. Follow meekness, desiring nothing of this world. Then, surprisingly.. ironically, you will inherit it! (Matt. 5:5). Then you will know better what to do with it!
All of this takes some mindset adjustment, more than any of us can muster in the moment. So He says, “Be still before the Lord” (v. 7). Just sit there with Him. “Be,” not “do” in His Presence: soak, steep, surrender… “Vengeance is Mine,” says our Lord. When we arise from our stillness, we find the final point (v. 8) possible. His heart in ours, our anger and wrath is subsided.
*The other acrostic psalms are Ps. 9, 10, 25, 34, 111, 112, 119, and 145.