Thursday 12 November, 2020

Psalm 37

Of David. 1 Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; 2 for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. 3 Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. 4 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: 6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. 7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. 8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. 9 For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land. 10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. 11 But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity. 12 The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them; 13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming. 14 The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright. 15 But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken. 16 Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked; 17 for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous. 18 The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care, and their inheritance will endure forever. 19 In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will enjoy plenty. 20 But the wicked will perish: Though the Lord’s enemies are like the flowers of the field, they will be consumed, they will go up in smoke. 21 The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously; 22 those the Lord blesses will inherit the land, but those he curses will be destroyed. 23 The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; 24 though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand. 25 I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. 26 They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be a blessing. 27 Turn from evil and do good; then you will dwell in the land forever. 28 For the Lord loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. Wrongdoers will be completely destroyed; the offspring of the wicked will perish. 29 The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever. 30 The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak what is just. 31 The law of their God is in their hearts; their feet do not slip. 32 The wicked lie in wait for the righteous, intent on putting them to death; 33 but the Lord will not leave them in the power of the wicked or let them be condemned when brought to trial. 34 Hope in the Lord and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are destroyed, you will see it. 35 I have seen a wicked and ruthless man flourishing like a luxuriant native tree, 36 but he soon passed away and was no more; though I looked for him, he could not be found. 37 Consider the blameless, observe the upright; a future awaits those who seek peace. 38 But all sinners will be destroyed; there will be no future for the wicked. 39 The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. 40 The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.

Injustice is a real issue. This psalm tells us how to respond to it, and repeatedly tells us to see what God is doing and will do.

God is making the whole creation right again. He’s reconciling all things to himself in Christ, and he’ll bring it all to completion when Christ returns. He’s doing some things to bring justice to the world now, and he will complete it in the future.

A common reaction to injustice is either to worry or get angry. Both are natural but counterproductive reactions. “Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.” (v8) Jesus didn’t overcome the darkness by being greater darkness; he overcame it by being the “light of the world” (John 1:4-5). Romans 12:9-21 spells it out: “cling to what is good. … Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

So, how is God turning injustice around? One way involves the “body of Christ” – us. The psalm repeatedly tells me to “trust in the Lord and do good” (v3). In contrast to the wicked who “borrow and do not repay”, “the righteous give generously” (v21). God asks me to not only actively bring justice to the world but to go beyond that in generosity that costs something. “And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

But God will act to destroy the wicked. He tells us his preferred way and again it involves us: “All this is done by God, who through Christ changed us from enemies into his friends and gave us the task of making others his friends also.” (2 Co 5:18, GNB).

Lord, thank you for acting decisively to bring justice and compassion to the world. I’m sorry for where I’ve neglected my part, and worse: where I’ve added to injustice. Thank you that you’ve turned me around from being your enemy to become your child and thank you for the part you give me in your continuing reconciliation of all things.

Written by David Cornell

1 (reply)
  1. Claire Moore says:

    I like this idea that God uses me to combat injustice. That’s something challenging to live up to. Thanks David

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