Trees by Streams of Water
Lord God, through struggles overcome and blessings received, I make this day a gift of gratitude and hope to You.
Read Psalm 37:1-40
 Of David.
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“For those who find me find life and receive favor from the Lord. But those who fail to find me harm themselves…” (Prov. 8:35,36).
We might be tempted to read this psalm with a degree of skepticism. On the face of it, it claims that those who trust in the Lord are bound to prosper and do well because God is with them: “I have never seen the righteous forsaken” (25). Here is a veritable “prosperity gospel”! Those who are “wicked and ruthless,” by contrast, are swiftly given their come-uppance: they “soon passed away and [were] no more” (35,36). It would be nice if this were the case, but for most of us life is more complicated than this. Other psalms (e.g., Psa. 73) and the whole of the book of Job helpfully explore the grey areas a bit more. The Bible is, after all, a thoroughly realistic book and never ignores the hard questions. Yet before we pass cynically on, let us consider how the psalm might be right.
It is surely right in ultimate terms. In the final analysis, in the final judgment, in the final reckoning, there is simply no chance that the righteous will be put to shame. Nor is there the possibility that there will be a future for the wicked (38). With God, such things are unthinkable. The fact that justice and vindication of the way of godliness might be delayed is no refutation of the underlying and secure truth of what the psalm proposes. It’s all a question of time—and patience.
All this having been said by way of caution and clarification, let us not miss the immediate encouragement here. Even in this life, righteousness has its rewards. A wholesome, healthy, happy life is more likely to be ours if we commit our way to the Lord and trust in him (6). Even if it is denied, as we know in God’s purpose it was for Jesus, God’s grace can help us live well in adversity.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Pet. 5:7). What anxieties do you need to cast upon the Lord? Claim the promise and release them to him.
Mighty God, I cast my anxieties on You. I know my biggest temptation is to take them back from You. Strengthen me to resist that temptation.
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