Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Psalm 37

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.
Psalm 37:3-6

This psalm paints a picture of what life looks like for the righteous. Although at times they may be poor (37:16), and sometimes it may take waiting (37:7), God's reward will be with them. He is their stronghold in times of trouble (37:39).

What I see in this chapter, basically, is a life that may not have all of the world's pleasures. In some places, it looks hard. There's waiting. Turning to evil looks like a quick and easy way to become wealthy. In fact, there's really only one reward that the righteous get.

But that reward's worth it. The LORD is the reward of the righteous. While there are side effects (37:4; 'he will give you the desires of your heart', 37:19; 'in days of famine they will enjoy plenty', 37:29: 'the righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever'), the reward of the righteous, above and beyond all of those, is the LORD himself.

Take verse 4: Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

At first glance, this may seem like a way to get what you want. Just fulfill the condition in the first part of the verse, and God has promised to give you whatever your heart desires.

However, it's not quite as simple as that. Take delight in the LORD. If your delight is in the LORD, what will be the desires of your heart? To serve Him? To know Him better? To become more like Him? To lift up the broken, the weary, the weak, the destitute? Maybe another way of thinking about the verse is 'Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of His heart to be the desires of your heart.'

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out the wicked schemes.
Psalm 37:7

Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked;
for the power of the wicked will be broken,
but the Lord upholds the righteous.
Psalm 37:16-17


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