The Book of Psalms Bible Study Psalm 37 Part 1

Psalm 37:1-20

The Bible speaks a great deal about how we should think – in other words, we need to develop a G-dly perspective (seeing things from G-d’s point of view). We need to think and behave differently to the way that the world thinks and behaves. This Psalm assists in teaching us how to do exactly that. 

v1: ‘Do not fret’: This means don’t be discouraged, or emotionally or mentally unhappy about something. In the Hebrew this word is closely related to a competition – a striving after something. We are commanded not to compete with the evil doers – striving to achieve what they are achieving. 

  • So often when we are jealous of someone else it is because they have what we want. The goal of our life needs to be different to the goals that the evildoers pursue. G-d does not see value in the objectives of those who are evil (evil = against the will of G-d). Their goals are temporal and empty – having no eternal value or significance. 

v2: ‘Cut down’ – the same word is used for circumcision (a removal or a taking away).

  • Wither – time is not their friend. They quickly fade away with nothing of value left in their lives. 

v3: A fruit of trusting (having faith) in the L-rd is that we are going to do good (good = the will of G-d). 

  • ‘Dwell in the land’ – When we trust in the L-rd we are positioned differently to those who are in the world. ‘Land’ is related to the promises of G-d. 
  • ‘Feed on His faithfulness’ – when we are where G-d wants us to be we have access to His promises. This is a verse that hints at delight/enjoyment. 

v4: Delight – experiencing pleasure in. When we delight in the L-rd we recognize His Words/

commandments/instructions are good, and we find joy in obedience. When we find contentment in the will of G-d our lives (and our perspectives) begin to change. 

  • When we have G-d’s perspective on things (when we are delighting in Him) His desire for our lives becomes our desire for our lives. His desires (that have become ours) are the desires that G-d then gives us. These right desires come by trusting in the L-rd, experiencing His faithfulness, finding joy and contentment in the will of G-d etc. 

v5: When we think differently we begin to behave differently (our walk and the path/way that we travel on changes). 

  • Sometimes we are not strong enough to pick something up or carry it. This word ‘commit’ has attached to it the need to turn it over to the L-rd who is able to carry what we struggle with.  
  • He shall bring it to pass – this is a promise. When we commit everything to G-d (ie give Him authority over every aspect of our lives) He is going to respond to us. 

v6: Light is something discernible – able to be seen. As G-d goes to work in our lives it is going to produce righteousness and justice. A wise person desires righteousness – and righteousness is always based upon the standards of G-d. We cannot be saved if we do not desire righteousness. We are not saved by our “righteousness” (doing what we think is right) but are only saved by His righteousness imputed to us. We are declared ‘righteous’ based on what He did, not because of what we have done. However, when we accept His righteousness our lives begin to change, and we desire to live righteously – like He did. Any good thing that a believer does is credited to the Holy Spirit working through that person (Matt 5:16).

v7: This word translated ‘rest’ is a word for being silent or still before the L-rd. We don’t have to take matters into our own hands. Waiting for a result (“hoping for what we do not yet have’) is part of a believers life (Heb 11:39-40)

  • Waiting patiently – i.e. having a proper expectation (hope). 
  • Do not fret – repeated, therefore emphasised. We are not in competition with the wicked. We do not strive for the things they strive for. They may look like they are prosperous in the here and now but it is eternally empty and of no value. The success that we’re looking for is not a success that is taken, but one that is received.

v8: Cease from anger – relax. Leave room for G-d to avenge (Roms 12:19)

v9: ‘Those who wait on the L-rd” – those who behave obediently inherit. Those who behave obediently are legitimate children of G-d. 

  • The earth – the land – the promises of G-d. 

v10: A change is coming. The Kingdom of G-d is going to be established, and in that Kingdom the wicked will no longer have a place. He would have enjoyed his wealth for a very short period of time (100 yrs is short in comparison to eternity) but then he would have nothing except eternal fire. 

v11: meek = humble ones

  • Delight themselves – a word that speaks of ecstasy, intense satisfaction. 
  • This peace is a true peace, a Kingdom peace, and comes as a result of being in G-d’s will. 

v12: The gnashing of the teeth in this case is not because of pain but is a form of intimidation. 

v13: L-rd – Adonai ie the Master, the One who is Sovereign and who is in control. G-d knows that the time of the wicked is very limited. 

v14: Drawn the sword – taken it out of its sheath

  • Bent the bow – this means they are getting ready for battle. Their objective is to bring disaster/war/suffering to those who are needy and those who are upright. 

v15: The measure they want to use (or use) on others is going to be measured back to them. 

v16: This should be our mindset – having little as a righteous man is better than having the riches of an evil man. 

v17: Perhaps the implication here is that despite all that the wicked have achieved, their arms bend and break under the burden of their riches. We also know that one day they are not going to be able to hold onto all the things that they have accumulated. It’s all going to tumble down. 

  • The L-rd upholds/holds up the righteous: Under times of pressure the righteous persons arms do not break as he is getting his support from G-d. 

v18: The L-rd knows the days – G-d is watching. 

  • Their inheritance shall be forever – that’s the difference: eternity versus nothing that lasts in this world. 

v19: G-d provides for us and sustains us supernaturally through difficult times. 

v20: Those who are wicked (those who reject the things of G-d) make themselves enemies to the L-rd. 

  • Into smoke – their destination is eternal fire. They do not have a glorious future…no matter how glorious their present appears to be. 

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