What should we do when we are surrounded by evildoers? Rather then focusing on their wrongful actions, Psalm 37 says to “Delight yourself in the Lord” and “Commit your way” to Him.
Delight Yourself In The Lord and Commit Your Way To Him
Today I’d like to highlight portions of Psalm 37:1-7: “Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers . . . Trust in the Lord, and do good . . . Delight yourself 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 bring forth your righteousness as the light . . . Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!”
I think it would be good for all of us to memorize verse 1: “Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers.”
Whether in school, at work, or on the news, we are surrounded by evildoers and wrongdoers.
While we must also memorize Romans 3:23 and remind ourselves often that we’ve all sinned and fallen short of God’s standard, His glory, it is easy to get overwhelmed by those who seem to take pleasure in making others’ lives difficult—or worse. If we focus on these individuals and their actions, we are sure to become fretful and overwhelmed.
Delight Yourself In The Lord
The psalmist quickly turns our attention elsewhere when he says, “Trust in the Lord” and further, when he says, “Delight yourself in the Lord.”
What wonderful imperatives! Phrased this way, he indicates that we must do so deliberately. This reminds me of 2 Corinthians 10:5, which says we are to “take every thought captive to obey Christ.” Turning our thoughts to the Lord is something we have to do intentionally. It doesn’t just happen.
It would be wonderful, during a time of family devotions, to list the many reasons we have to trust the Lord, both from the Scriptures and from our own experience. We could also list reasons to delight in Him, again from the Bible and from day-to-day life. Reviewing and adding to these lists often would certainly help us turn our focus away from evil and wrongdoing.
Commit Your Way To The Lord
This passage also includes other imperatives. We are to delight ourselves in the Lord, which becomes increasingly easy to do the more we get to know Him. We are also to commit our ways to Him.
This reminds me of Proverbs 3:5-6:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
We are to be still and wait patiently for Him. We are not to fret when evildoers prosper. Wow! There is no way I can do any of these things without God’s Spirit at work within me.
We are not to simply remain physically still; we are to be at peace emotionally and mentally. And we all know how hard that can be sometimes. And when we look around and see those with no regard for God and His Word who are successful from the world’s perspective, it is very hard to be still, to be at peace. And if it’s hard for us, think of how hard it is for our sons and daughters.
His Amazing Promises
If we only focus on the commands and what we should be doing, we will become overwhelmed. Thankfully, this scripture passage, and so many others, includes amazing promises. Let’s take a few moments to consider those.
There are two amazing promises in these verses.
“Delight yourself 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 bring forth your righteousness as the light.”
Delight Yourself In The Lord-He Will Fufill Your Heart’s Desires
Now, does that first promise mean that we will get whatever we want provided we pay enough attention to God? Have you ever seen an excited child? Their joy bubbles over. They don’t care who sees them as they express their excitement. Have you ever felt that way about the Lord? He certainly has given us many reasons to delight in Him.
And if we truly feel this way about God, it stands to reason that He is at work in our heart. Therefore, our desires will come more and more in line with His will. So it also stands to reason that He will want to fulfill our heart’s desires.
Commit Your Way To The Lord- He Will Act
I treasure the second promise. I often commit my way to the Lord, a practice I like to do before I get out of bed in the morning, though sometimes it slips my mind. If we surrender to Him, we have His promise that He will act, that He will bring forth our righteousness.
His Righteousness Will Shine Through
This reminds me of two other verses.
Second Corinthians 5:21 says, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Matthew 13:43 says, “The righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”
How I want His righteousness to shine through me!
We can’t expect to be able to keep our focus on the Lord and remember His promises if we don’t make a deliberate effort. As we do so and teach our children to do the same, it’s amazing how much easier it will become not to be overwhelmed by the evildoers and wrongdoers in the world.
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