Our Bible reading today is Psalm 37 verses 1 to 19. I am splitting the Psalm into 2 because it is quite long, but the split is around the mid-point rather than between any obvious section because the same theme seems to permeate the whole Psalm.Do read or listen to the Psalm first before looking at my notes!
This is another one of these acrostic Psalms, roughly 2 verses are each devoted to a letter of the Hebrew alphabet, a very clever and deliberate poetic style, and so one Bible commentator has dubbed this psalm ‘an ABC for personal spiritual conflict’.
2 things which strike me in these early verses, firstly the repetition of the word “fret” and the command, ‘Do not fret’ in vs.1, 7 and 8.I don’t think that this word is in very common use nowadays, but it means a constant or visible worrying that leads to a state of anxiety.And the antidote to this is to turn away from what is making you anxious and instead turn to the Lord. And so there are instructions in this Psalm to ‘trust in the Lord’ (v.3), ‘delight yourself in the Lord’ (v.4), ‘commit your way to the Lord’ (v.5), ‘be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him’ (v.7).These are lessons which we continue to need to learn.
Verse 4 ‘Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart’ is one of the golden promises of the Psalms, which sometimes appears on Christian posters or ornaments to encourage us.
The other thing which strikes me from this Psalm is the fate of the wicked, who seem to be strong and threatening for a while, but this Psalm clearly states at several points that the Lord knows all about them, and at some point in the future they will be no more, which follows on from the theme of the previous Psalm 36.The opposite of the wicked are the righteous, those who are seeking with God’s help to live His way, and they are mentioned a few times in these verses, (vs.12, 16 and 17), but more so in the 2nd half which we will look at tomorrow. Again these are truths which we continue to need to grasp.