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Tuesday Truths: Psalm 37

October 16, 2012

Have you ever waited for something that you wanted so much to happen and during the course of the wait, it seems like everyone around you is getting everything they want? 

Have you worked so hard for something and put all of your energy into it and not received it, and then witnessed someone else barely try at something and achieve it?

Have you ever thought, “I’m a good person.  I follow the rules.  I do things the right way.  Why am I not getting the things I want?”  Have you ever thought, “That person isn’t good.  They break the rules.  They don’t do things the right way.  Why are they getting everything?”

I generally detest this type of thinking.  Nonetheless, I fall victim to it every now and then.  Succumbing to this type of thinking is definitely victimizing.  It is victimizing, because thinking that you should be rewarded with your wants because you do what’s right and what you should is entitled behavior.  Entitled behavior prevents you from completing the actions necessary to get to where you want to go.  It also causes jealousy and envy towards others.  Hence, this type of thinking is detestable.  Yet, because I am human, sometimes I fall victim to it.

During the month of June, I read the Book of Psalms.  The Book of Psalms is perhaps one book in The Bible (along with Proverbs) that both believers and non-believers can find pleasure in.  The poetic nature of the book is moving and its verses provide excellent guidance in how to live a life worth living.

Of all the Psalms, one struck me the most as providing instructions on how to live:  Psalm 37.

At the point I’m at in life, Psalm 37 stood out to me like a lighthouse bringing me in when I read it.  It was a message that said, “Alicia, stay calm.  Keep on your course of doing good.  Stay patient.  You may not have it yet, but God knows what you’re doing.  You will be rewarded.”

Psalm 37 begins:

1 Do not fret because of those who are evil
    or be envious of those who do wrong;
for like the grass they will soon wither,
    like green plants they will soon die away.

Trust in the Lord and do good;
    dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
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 do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
    your vindication like the noonday sun.

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.

When I read this, I feel at peace.  To me, Psalm 37 is a guidebook in how to live life and be rewarded for doing so.  The instructions are fairly simple: 

1.  Trust the Lord

How do you do this?  Verses 3-4 explain that one trusts in the Lord by delighting in him–or accepting the plan that he has laid out for your life.

2.  Commit your way to the Lord

How do you do this?  Again, it comes down to trusting the Lord as per Verse 5.

3.  Be still before the Lord

How do you do this?  Verse 7 answers this:  wait patiently.

4.  Do not worry

How do you do this?  Nearly all of Psalm 37 answers this:  accept that evil people may win temporary battles, but that their successes will be limited by the Lord.

Trust.  Commitment.  Patience.  Fearlessness. 

That is what it all boils down to.  For most humans, those three character traits are perhaps three of the most difficult to build.  However, if one can find complete trust in the Lord, gain the patience to let His plan play out and refuse to worry about the actions of others, he will be rewarded.  How do we know one will be rewarded for this?  Psalm 37 tells us:

1.  If you trust in the Lord by taking delight in him, the verse 4 says the Lord will give you all of the desires of your heart.

2.  If you commit your life to the Lord, verse 6 says, He will reward and vindicate you.

3.  If you wait patiently for the Lord, you will “inherit the land” and enjoy prosperity.

4.  If you are fearless of the Lord’s plan, you will receive salvation.

Imagine what the world would look like if everyone followed the instructions set forth in Psalm 37?  What if we lived in a world, where people worked to get what they wanted by relying solely upon good works upon others, faith, trust, and patience?  How much of a better place could this be?  How much more fruitful might we all become?

If you haven’t read Psalm 37, I suggest that you do.  After reading it, think of the ways in which you can adopt it into your own life.  What actions are you taking to get the desires of your heart?  Are they godly actions?  If not, what do you need to change to ensure that you are living God’s will for your life?

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