Going Deeper 2/20/2019

The Psalm for Epiphany 7...
Psalm 37:1-11, 39-40    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.   Yet a little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look diligently for their place, they will not be there.  But the meek shall inherit the land, and delight themselves in abundant prosperity.  ...  The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; he is their refuge in the time of trouble.  The Lord helps them and rescues them; he rescues them from the wicked, and saves them, because they take refuge in him.

This is classic "wisdom literature."  In this genre, the focus is often on understanding that those who "Take delight in the Lord... commit [their] way to the Lord; [and] trust in him..." will thrive, and those who are "wrongdoers... will soon fade like the grass."  This perspective is found elsewhere in the Psalms and in Proverbs.

Wisdom literature promotes two related qualities-- trust and patience.  The truth is, one is better off when they delight and trust in the Lord and commit their way to Him.  This does not protect them from all hardship, and it does not mean they will win every battle.  What it does mean is they can trust in God's ultimate deliverance and be patient in waiting for that to happen.

Sometimes the bad guys seem to be winning and prospering.  Sometimes it appears that the rebellious do well while those seeking to be faithful struggle.  This happens.  But while the smaller battles may be either won or lost, the ultimate victory has already been achieved.  So God's children patiently trust, committing themselves and all things into the hands of God.

Our text urges us to "Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath.  Do not fret—it leads only to evil."  And that is the hard part.  This does not come naturally, but with God's help, we can learn to keep our peace and to patiently trust in the One who has proven to be trustworthy.

With You in Him,
Mark