Summary: Stop fretting over the prosperity of the wicked and look forward to what the Lord has in store for those who are called his children.
Psalm 37:1,2 - Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they soon shall be cut down like the grass, and wither as the herb.
The word fret refers to the point just after a fire has been ignited when the flame is the hottest. Think about what happens when you light a match. As the head of the match is ran across the striker it ignites into a burst of flames. After the sulfur burns off and the blaze settles down the matchstick is left with a much smaller fire. That initial point after ignition is what the writer if Psalm 37 is warning us about. He says not to fret ourselves, or burst into a flame of emotion, because of evildoers.
That is awful hard to do because most of us have seen how unfair life can be sometimes. It always seems like those who prosper the most are the ones who also hate God the most. Why does God allow the wicked to prosper while the righteous have to suffer through life? I wish that I could answer that question. I would like to expound some great theological truth on the matter and clear it up for everyone, but I do not have that kind of knowledge. I don’t feel too bad though because I am in good company. Solomon, who was the wisest man to ever live, wrote in the book of Ecclesiastes:
Ecclesiastes 8:16,17 - When I applied mine heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done upon the earth: (for also there is that neither day nor night seeth sleep with his eyes:) then I beheld all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun: because though a man labor to seek it out, yet he shall not find it; yea further; though a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it.
What is he saying? He is saying that God is the one in charge of the business that is done upon the earth and it is not up to us to figure out why he does what he does. Our responsibility is to accept God for who he is and trust that he knows what he is doing. But how can we have any hope if the wicked always seem prosper while the righteous always seem to suffer? Look at Psalm 37:2 - For they soon shall be cut down like the grass, and wither as the herb.
Remember that God’s word is the final authority. If God says that one day the wicked will be cut down like the grass, then rest assured that it will happen. God will deal with them in a way that we could never imagine and he will deal with them in a way that is both righteous and holy.
Romans 12:19b - Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
What we need to draw from this passage of scripture is that it is a waste of time for us to wring our hands and worry over the success of those who continually speak against God. One day they will meet with him face to face and have to answer for their actions. God will repay them for their evil deeds.
We need to stop fretting over the prosperity of the wicked and look forward to what the Lord has in store for those who are called his children. The remainder of Psalm 37 will show us how to overcome being envious of the wicked by looking forward to the promises of God.
I. GOD’S PROMISES TO HIS CHILDREN
God has some promises for those who call themselves his children, but something is required of us before we can claim them.
A. Trust in the Lord
Psalm 37:3 - Trust in the Lord and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
1. Our action
We have a responsibility to trust in the Lord. Trust is the characteristic Old Testament word for the New Testament words faith and believe. It occurs 152 times in the Old Testament and is the rendering of the Hebrew words signifying to take refuge, to lean on, and to stay upon. The basic idea of the word is associated with firmness or solidity.
To trust in the Lord means to put faith, or to believe in him recognizing that he will always be there. He will be there as a place to hide in times of trouble. He will be there to lean on when our bodies and spirits get weak. He will be there to stand on when the ground underneath us begins to give way. He is solid and firm, like a rock, and he will never be moved.