“Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret—it only causes harm” (Psalm 37:7-8).
It’s difficult to look around at this fallen, broken world and not fret; yet, David tells us twice in these two verses not to worry. Not only does David tell us not to worry, he says that our worrying causes harm. Worrying is a sign of not trusting in the Lord. Worrying occurs when we respond based on what we see instead of what we believe.
Knowing the character of the Lord and how He operates can help combat the worry and anxiety that can so easily creep into our lives. Today David hits on three truths:
1) The wicked always try to destroy the righteous, but their plans will not ultimately prevail –
- “The wicked plots against the just, and gnashes at him with his teeth. The Lord laughs at him, For He sees that his day is coming” (Psalm 37:12-13).
- “The wicked watches the righteous, and seeks to slay him. The Lord will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged” (Psalm 37:32-33).
We saw the wicked attacking the righteous displayed in the beginning of the story when wicked Cain killed his righteous brother Abel. The pattern continues throughout the entire story, all the way to the arrival of Jesus, and will continue until Jesus’ final return. David is fully aware of how the wicked love to see a righteous man fall. However, David is also fully aware that his help is in the Lord.
2) The Lord fights our battles –
- “Plead my cause, O Lord, with those who strive with me; Fight against those who fight against me. Take hold of shield and buckler, And stand up for my help. Also draw out the spear, and stop those who pursue me. Say to my soul, ‘I am your salvation’” (Psalm 35:1-3).
- “But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in the time of trouble. And the Lord shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in Him” (Psalm 37:39-40).
Later in the story, Paul will say, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:10-12). Paul says to put on the armor of God, which is truth, righteousness, gospel of peace, faith, word of God, and prayer. Paul understands that there is a real enemy at work against us in the spiritual realm and that we need the strength of the Lord to stand against the enemy. Since warfare is a spiritual one, prayer is our strong weapon. David was obviously a man of prayer. Over and over again David cried out to the Lord to deliver him. And over and over again the Lord acted on his behalf.
3) One day the Lord will cut off wickedness for good, and the righteous will have eternal peace –
- “Wait on the Lord, and keep His way, and He shall exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are cut off, you shall see it. I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a native green tree. Yet he passed away, and behold, he was no more; indeed I sought him, but he could not be found. Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright; for the future of that man is peace. But the transgressors shall be destroyed together; the future of the wicked shall be cut off” (Psalm 37:34-38).
The pain, suffering, and injustice that we experience on this side of heaven is temporary for those who put their trust in the Lord. The Lord never promised us a pain free life, but He does promise to give us a peace beyond understanding – “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
The day will come when we all will stand before the Lord and for the Christian, there will be no more pain and no more suffering – “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). But for the wicked, those who turn their back on the Lord and His ways, they “shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).
One day the Lord will put an end to all wickedness, but while there is still time, may our lives be spent sharing the Good News of Christ with this lost and dying world:
- “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
- “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:14-17).
Keep reading. (Psalm 35-38)