A DELIGHTFUL PLACE
Lord, you weigh my heart and watch over my soul (Prov. 24:12). Give me courage to see as you see and to act as your Spirit prompts me.
Read PSALM 37
1 Do not fret because of those who are evil
or be envious of those who do wrong;
2 for like the grass they will soon wither,
like green plants they will soon die away.
3 Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.
7 Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret—it leads only to evil.
9 For those who are evil will be destroyed,
but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.
10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more;
though you look for them, they will not be found.
11 But the meek will inherit the land
and enjoy peace and prosperity.
12 The wicked plot against the righteous
and gnash their teeth at them;
13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
for he knows their day is coming.
14 The wicked draw the sword
and bend the bow
to bring down the poor and needy,
to slay those whose ways are upright.
15 But their swords will pierce their own hearts,
and their bows will be broken.
16 Better the little that the righteous have
than the wealth of many wicked;
17 for the power of the wicked will be broken,
but the Lord upholds the righteous.
18 The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care,
and their inheritance will endure forever.
19 In times of disaster they will not wither;
in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.
20 But the wicked will perish:
Though the Lord’s enemies are like the flowers of the field,
they will be consumed, they will go up in smoke.
21 The wicked borrow and do not repay,
but the righteous give generously;
22 those the Lord blesses will inherit the land,
but those he curses will be destroyed.
23 The Lord makes firm the steps
of the one who delights in him;
24 though he may stumble, he will not fall,
for the Lord upholds him with his hand.
25 I was young and now I am old,
yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
or their children begging bread.
26 They are always generous and lend freely;
their children will be a blessing.[b]
27 Turn from evil and do good;
then you will dwell in the land forever.
28 For the Lord loves the just
and will not forsake his faithful ones.
Wrongdoers will be completely destroyed[c];
the offspring of the wicked will perish.
29 The righteous will inherit the land
and dwell in it forever.
30 The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom,
and their tongues speak what is just.
31 The law of their God is in their hearts;
their feet do not slip.
32 The wicked lie in wait for the righteous,
intent on putting them to death;
33 but the Lord will not leave them in the power of the wicked
or let them be condemned when brought to trial.
34 Hope in the Lord
and keep his way.
He will exalt you to inherit the land;
when the wicked are destroyed, you will see it.
35 I have seen a wicked and ruthless man
flourishing like a luxuriant native tree,
36 but he soon passed away and was no more;
though I looked for him, he could not be found.
39 The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord;
he is their stronghold in time of trouble.
40 The Lord helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.
- Psalm 37:1 This psalm is an acrostic poem, the stanzas of which begin with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
- Psalm 37:26 Or freely; / the names of their children will be used in blessings (see Gen. 48:20); or freely; / others will see that their children are blessed
- Psalm 37:28 See Septuagint; Hebrew They will be protected forever
- Psalm 37:37 Or upright; / those who seek peace will have posterity
- Psalm 37:38 Or posterity
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.’1 Amen.
I was in a Cardiff hospital at the beginning of my long battle with serious illness when an elderly man from the church where I was pastor came to visit. He looked like Moses, with white beard and burning eyes. He read the early verses of this psalm to me in his booming, sonorous, Welsh voice and I felt deeply moved. And strangely comforted too.
David is being persecuted by godless people. He feels keenly the unfairness that those who care nothing for God seem to do well in life, whereas the godly often have a tough time. Perhaps you feel the same. Fretting (v 1) does not help, though, using up spiritual energy. David wants to turn our hearts toward accepting God’s will for our lives. ‘Take delight in the Lord’ (v 4) is great advice and combined with wonderful promise. Trust, praise, and surrender to God are at the heart of peace and security (vs 3–5).
A recurring theme in this psalm is the land that God’s people have been given. The writer calls for them to ‘dwell in the land’ (vs 3,27) or ‘inherit the land’ (vs 9,11,22,29) and says it is the place where believers will find answers and be kept safe. Of course, the land is Israel, which God had given to a people seemingly unable to obey him or trust his promises, so that they ended up in prolonged exile. For us, however, there appears to be a place of stillness (v 7), of letting go of our anger (v 8), of even delighting in God despite our occasional stumbles (vs 23,24): a Promised Land of protection and well-being. If life feels unfair to you today, ‘Be still before the Lord’ (v 7) and let him breathe his peace and hope into your soul.
Consider Psalm 73:1–17. What was it that helped David to cope with the apparent injustice of the prosperity of the wicked? Pray for that understanding today.
Yes Lord, I confess at times I fret (v.1). When I look around at unworthy people prospering, it bothers me. Make me generous to others and content in your great love.
1 Ps 73:28
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