Friday, February 2, 2024

A Prayer for When the Wicked Prosper – Psalm 37

Friday, February 2, 2024

A Prayer for When the Wicked Prosper – Psalm 37 Submitted by Kay Crumley

THAT’S NOT FAIR! How often do you hear yourself say or think that? The retort ‘life’s not fair’ doesn’t really help. I catch myself comparing the success or influence of people who are not exhibiting the characteristics that I admire to those who have desirable characteristics and wonder how the less desirable personality seems to have better outcomes. It appears that wicked or evil behaviors are rewarded with power, prestige, popularity, and influence. I then ask myself ‘how can that be?’ A common complaint is that we are living in evil times, worse than they were years ago. However, we find the Bible addresses those same concerns so perhaps that isn’t entirely true. The truth is that we find ourselves making comparisons and being attracted to what we see but are not able to see beyond the fa├žade. God looks at the heart of man rather than the outward appearance. He also understands the eternal outcome of our choices. We find ways to react to the prosperity of the wicked in Psalm 37.  

We should not worry about or envy the success of the wicked, vs. 1. Instead, we are to place our trust in God and delight in His ways, vs. 3-4. Verses 5-7 give more instruction of how we are to live. It is telling us to put our focus on Him rather than on the advantages we perceive the wicked are gathering. 

Psalm 37 

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

Worry and envy cause trouble for us as we see throughout the Bible. Matthew 6:34 and Philippians 4:6 instruct us to not worry about tomorrow and to be anxious for nothing. Worrying will never change anything. Instead, trust in Him and give all our anxiety to Him. James 3 teaches us that envy or jealousy only leads to disorder and evil practices. This passage clearly states not to worry about what others have or be jealous of them. WHY? Because the wicked will die like grass or spring flowers.  

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

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

7 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. 

Now we know what NOT to do, but what are we to do instead? Here’s the list: trust in the Lord, delight in the Lord, commit everything to the Lord, and be still in His presence. That all sounds like our total focus should be on Him. We are caught up in worry and envy when our focus shifts to people rather than God. The benefits we get by keeping our eyes on Him is also a long, impressive list in these scriptures. He will help us, He will make our innocence shine, and the justice of our cause will shine. We will be a light in a dark world as Jesus taught in Matthew 5:14-16. When we spend time with Him focusing on His faithfulness and character, we show His hope and light. We are not in control. But He is. Therefore, we must be still in His presence and wait for Him to act. He is just and His justice will prevail. Verse 28 For the  Lord  loves justice, and he will never abandon the godly.  The rest of Psalm 37 assures us that the wicked will not prevail. They will die and disappear like smoke, vs 20. However, the promise for the righteous, godly ones who remain in Him is a wonderful future, a fortress in times of trouble, and shelter from the wicked.   

With these promises in mind, the ‘rest of the story’ is that we have nothing to be envious about. Material gains are temporary and meaningless. My hope is in Him. Acts 17:24The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man. He needs nothing from us, and we cannot contain Him. He is the creator and sustainer. He is faithful to those who love Him, commit themselves to Him, and are still, resting, in Him. 

 

 

 

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