Going Deeper 10-2-19

The Psalm for Pentecost 17…

Psalm 37:1-9    Do not fret because of the wicked; do not be envious of wrongdoers, for they will soon fade like the grass, and wither like the green herb.  Trust in the Lord, and do good; so you will live in the land, and enjoy security.  Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.  Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.  He will make your vindication shine like the light, and the justice of your cause like the noonday.  Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him; do not fret over those who prosper in their way, over those who carry out evil devices.  Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath. Do not fret—it leads only to evil.  For the wicked shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.

 

Proponents of what has been labeled The Prosperity Gospel love this Psalm, which reads much like the book of Proverbs.  Read on its own, Psalm 37 makes it seem pretty clear that if we live right, we will prosper.  Bad guys always finish last.  Conclusion: if you are not doing well, then you are a bad guy.  If you are doing well, then you are among the good guys.

 

Costi Hinn, a nephew of the famous prosperity teacher Benny Hinn who eventually broke away that church/movement, wrote this: By an early age, as part of the Hinn family, I viewed Jesus Christ as our magic jenie—rub him right, and he’ll give you whatever your heart desires. I quoted verses from the Bible like Psalm 37:4, which says, “Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart,” and John 14:14,  where Jesus says, “If you ask Me anything in My Name, I will do it.” The meaning of these Scriptures was so obvious to me; believe in Jesus Christ, ask for things by saying, “In Jesus’ name” and you’ll have whatever you want. Seriously—that simple. Not difficult to understand.

 

This is yet another example of how vitally important it is to allow the Scriptures to interpret the Scriptures.  This kind of “wisdom literature” often states general principles, but surrounding Scriptures make it clear that it isn’t always so simple and consistent.  What is always consistent is that God never abandons His children, and we are wise to seek to live our lives according to His good and gracious will.  Doing so doesn’t always mean prospering in the worldly sense… sometimes it may be the opposite.  Good people sometimes suffer; evil people sometimes prosper.  But the children of God understand that our God can even bring good our of suffering.

 

Again, it is great wisdom to seek the Lord and with His help to follow His ways.  When we do so, no matter what happens, we are blessed.

 

With You in Him,

 

Mark Gabbert, Pastor

Zion Lutheran Church, Wellington, Colorado

 

“No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”