The more things change, the more they stay the same. Though society advances at a rapid pace, the fundamental issues of life are constant. Among those is the troubling phenomenon of the success of the wicked. From the beginning, God’s faithful have pondered this reality and asked God “why?”. Psalm 37 is David’s inspired account of pondering this difficulty. In a world where nice guys always finish last, what are the righteous to do?
Psalm 37:1 commands, “Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.” To “fret” is literally to become hot with anger. So the directive is to not allow the success of the wicked to get us worked up with anger and frustration. Such is an easy thing in theory, but practice is altogether a different affair. Notice 5 imperatives which help us to prevent fretting over the wicked.
1. Trust in the Lord (Ps. 37:3) – Trust involves commitment, faith, and dependence. God has promised to provide for His people (Deut. 8:3; Heb. 13:5). We must trust Him and wait on Him with confidence (Isa. 40:31).
2. Delight in the Lord (Ps. 37:4) – We must find great joy and satisfaction in our relationship with God. He must be our joy (Ps. 43:4)!
3. Commit your way to the Lord (Ps. 37:5) – The word “commit” means “to roll away.” The image is one of rolling your burden onto the Lord. This is exactly what Peter had in mind in 1 Peter 5:7!
4. Rest in the Lord (Ps. 37:7) – To rest is to be motionless–to stand still. It is reminiscent of Psalm 46:10– “Be still and know that I am God”–which literally means, “be quiet!” One of life’s most difficult tasks is to be still, patient, and quiet, and simply wait on God.
5. Cease from anger (Ps. 37:8) – The mark of a godly person, is the ability to maintain a settled and calm frame of mind in the midst of difficulty.
The child of God knows the truth. Christians don’t finish last. “Evildoers shall be cut off ” (Ps. 37:9). So, “do not fret¬–it only causes harm” (Ps. 37:8).