Psalm 37: God is Good

Psalm 37: If God is Good & Just, then Why do Evil People Prosper?

God is good — all the time! God is just and fair — all the time! Really? Then why do wicked, evil people prosper? That’s the question of the ages! Psalm 37 answers this question with some great advice for us as we try to live righteous, Christlike lives. Let’s dig in…

Psalm 37

A psalm of David.

Don’t worry about the wicked
    or envy those who do wrong.
For like grass, they soon fade away.
    Like spring flowers, they soon wither.

Trust in the Lord and do good.
    Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you your heart’s desires.

Commit everything you do to the Lord.
    Trust him, and he will help you.
He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn,
    and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.

Be still in the presence of the Lord,
    and wait patiently for him to act.
Don’t worry about evil people who prosper
    or fret about their wicked schemes.

Stop being angry!
    Turn from your rage!
Do not lose your temper—
    it only leads to harm.
For the wicked will be destroyed,
    but those who trust in the Lord will possess the land.

10 Soon the wicked will disappear.
    Though you look for them, they will be gone.
11 The lowly will possess the land
    and will live in peace and prosperity.

12 The wicked plot against the godly;
    they snarl at them in defiance.
13 But the Lord just laughs,
    for he sees their day of judgment coming.

14 The wicked draw their swords
    and string their bows
to kill the poor and the oppressed,
    to slaughter those who do right.
15 But their swords will stab their own hearts,
    and their bows will be broken.

16 It is better to be godly and have little
    than to be evil and rich.
17 For the strength of the wicked will be shattered,
    but the Lord takes care of the godly.

18 Day by day the Lord takes care of the innocent,
    and they will receive an inheritance that lasts forever.
19 They will not be disgraced in hard times;
    even in famine they will have more than enough.

20 But the wicked will die.
    The Lord’s enemies are like flowers in a field—
    they will disappear like smoke.

21 The wicked borrow and never repay,
    but the godly are generous givers.
22 Those the Lord blesses will possess the land,
    but those he curses will die.

23 The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
    He delights in every detail of their lives.
24 Though they stumble, they will never fall,
    for the Lord holds them by the hand.

25 Once I was young, and now I am old.
    Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned
    or their children begging for bread.
26 The godly always give generous loans to others,
    and their children are a blessing.

27 Turn from evil and do good,
    and you will live in the land forever.
28 For the Lord loves justice,
    and he will never abandon the godly.

He will keep them safe forever,
    but the children of the wicked will die.
29 The godly will possess the land
    and will live there forever.

30 The godly offer good counsel;
    they teach right from wrong.
31 They have made God’s law their own,
    so they will never slip from his path.

32 The wicked wait in ambush for the godly,
    looking for an excuse to kill them.
33 But the Lord will not let the wicked succeed
    or let the godly be condemned when they are put on trial.

34 Put your hope in the Lord.
    Travel steadily along his path.
He will honor you by giving you the land.
    You will see the wicked destroyed.

35 I have seen wicked and ruthless people
    flourishing like a tree in its native soil.
36 But when I looked again, they were gone!
    Though I searched for them, I could not find them!

37 Look at those who are honest and good,
    for a wonderful future awaits those who love peace.
38 But the rebellious will be destroyed;
    they have no future.

39 The Lord rescues the godly;
    he is their fortress in times of trouble.
40 The Lord helps them,
    rescuing them from the wicked.
He saves them,
    and they find shelter in him.

Psalm 37 NLT

Points to Ponder

In actuality, Psalm 37 is an extended meditation of Psalm 1. In Psalm 1, we’re told those who love God’s Word are like sturdy trees and those who hate God’s Word are like chaff that disappear in the breeze. By the way, I covered what chaff was in last week’s Sunday Psalm. In other words, the wicked will, in the end, lose to the Almighty, Lord of lords and King of kings — Jesus!

However, Psalm 37 expands on the truth of Psalm 1 in that at times, the wicked are like sturdy trees. Sometimes, evil people do prosper and win. Clearly, if you look at what’s going on in the world today, you shake your head and wonder why evil people do well.

Usually, our response to injustice is to get angry or anxious — which gets us nowhere but feeling sick and defeated. Yet, it’s only because we are looking at the world’s troubles through our human eyes. Precisely, that’s what David warns us not to do!

Delight Yourself in the Lord!

One of the first verses that I was encouraged to memorize was verse 4, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.” Now, your heart’s desires is not every single whim or want in life. God isn’t some magic genie or a star you wish on. Pastor Sandy Adams explains.

When you find no joy in this world – “delight,” or take joy in the Lord. Rejoice in all that Jesus is and does and gives and He’ll shape the desires of your heart. Often we pit seeking God’s will against our will. God’s will and our will should never be at odds. If I delight in Jesus, He promises to make my desires His desires. He’ll harmonize our hearts.

Sandy Adams

Similarly, I pray verse 5 every morning as I commit the day the Lord and put my trust in Him. I trust that He will guide me in wisdom and help me with whatever I have planned, whether it be a work project, a personal activity, or a day of rest.

Verse 6 puts a stamp of approval on your work if it is a righteous cause. Paul wrote…

23 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.

Colossians 3:23 NLT

Do you?

Verse 7 is the best advice EVER!

Be still in the presence of the Lord,
    and wait patiently for him to act.
Don’t worry about evil people who prosper
    or fret about their wicked schemes.

Psalm 37:7 NLT

One of the toughest things to do is to “wait patiently” for the Lord! Unfortunately, most of the world gets angry, loses their temper, and goes into a rage — which we’re told only leads to harm! So, why do we do it?

Verse 11 in the NKJV reads…

But the meek shall inherit the earth,
And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

Psalm 37:11 NKJV

Gee, doesn’t that sound familiar? Jesus quotes it in the 3rd Beatitude in His Sermon on the Mount. Do you think His audience back then recognized it?

Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.

Matthew 5:4 NKJV

Furthermore, who couldn’t use peace in today’s world? I thank God for His SHALOM everyday.

God is Good and will Never Abandon the Godly!

In closing, I turn again to the folks at Spoken Gospel who sum it all so well…

When evil seems to win, when doing right doesn’t seem to pay, when the promises of God don’t seem to come true, and when God doesn’t seem to answer our prayers, it’s really tempting to fret (Psalm 37:1). It’s easy to look around anxiously at the success of those less committed to God and his Word—and wish we had it like them. We wonder if obedience to God and his Word is worth the cost, discipline, and disadvantages. 

David encourages us, that—yes—it’s worth it (Psalm 37:28). He doesn’t  tell us things will be great all the time when we trust in God, but he acknowledges the reality of wicked prosperity and innocent suffering. God’s faithfulness isn’t shown when things are always rosy for his followers on earth, but by his plan to give eternal flourishing to those who are faithful (Psalm 37:18).

And Jesus proves this to us. Jesus innocently suffered and was killed by corrupt politicians and hypocritical religious men. Jesus was faithful to God’s Word all the way to death (Philippians 2:8). And God rewarded Jesus’ faithfulness on the earth with eternal glory and power (Philippians 2:9). Every politician’s knee and every hypocritical tongue [should] bow to Jesus (Philippians 2:10). 

Because of Jesus, the prosperity of wicked kings is eternally cut off. Jesus is now King over every power and grants citizenship to all who have faith in him (Psalm 37:22). Jesus’ faithfulness to death is proof of God’s faithfulness to us and his determination to never see the righteous forsaken (Psalm 37:25). Even though the wicked might rule for a time, Jesus shows us God reigns forever and his plans to uproot evil and lift up those who trust in him will never fail. 

See for Yourself

May the Holy Spirit open your eyes to see the God who causes the wicked to vanish and the trusting to thrive. And may you see Jesus as the one who is faithful to death, so that the righteous will never be forsaken. 

Spoken Gospel

Who do YOU Trust?

A church? The Pope? Mary? A statue? A dead saint? A painted image?

Why settle for fake religion when you can have a relationship with the Living God, Lord of lords, King of kings, Almighty God, the Good Shepherd, our High Priest and the Savior of the world — Jesus Christ?

Jesus knocking at the door of your heart.
Jesus is knocking at the door of your heart.
Isn’t it about time you let Him in?

Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift of Grace and the Confident Hope of Eternal Life…

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Soli Deo Gloria — To God Alone Be The Glory!

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