“Of David.

Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.

Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.

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.

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.

For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.

A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found.

But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity.” (Psalm 37:1-11, NIV)

Psalm 37 is an instructive psalm, attributed to David and written to help us as we interact with a fallen world. Although this Psalm gives us very positive and transformative instructions, it begins with a counter instruction regarding our reactions to the negative world around us. In the first verse and repeated twice more, we are told to not get overheated because of evil. The Hebrew word translated “fret” means to be kindled or to burn. So, David is essentially instructing us to “be cool” about things.

  1.  “Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong…” [Verse 1], Be Cool.
  2. “…do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.” [Verse 7], Be cool.
  3. “…do not fret—it leads only to evil.” [Verse 8], be cool.

There is no getting around the fact that we are surrounded by evil people who do wrong things and are seemingly very successful when they carry out their wicked schemes. I remember when, in the movies, the good guys wore white hats, the bad guys wore black hats and the good guys always won while the bad guys got what they deserved. Now it seems that very often the bad guys somehow end up being the good guys and audiences cheer them as the heroes.

Perhaps that’s just a social commentary reacting to the injustices perpetrated by the powerful and rich. Psalm 37 is instructive regarding how the people of God, in David’s world and in the Son of David’s Kingdom are supposed to react to the evil around us. Even though we should “be cool” in our reactions, we are not supposed to become coldly apathetic.

We are told that the evil and wickedness is not permanent and have no real strength; “…for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.” [Verse 1]. We are also warned of the dangerous consequences of over-reacting to the evil in the world, “Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.” [Verse 8] In other words, do not let evil in the world beget evil in yourself.

“I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” [Gal. 5:21b]

The rest of Psalm 37:1-11 explains how we are to live confidently and securely in the face of those who are evil, those who do wrong and those who seem successful in carrying out their wicked schemes. Verses three through seven give us four powerful watchtowers to form our defenses against evil.

  1. Trust in the LORD. [Verse 3a]
  2. Take delight in the LORD. [Verse 4a]
  3. Commit your way to the LORD. [Verse 5a]
  4. Be still before the LORD. [Verse 7a]

The strength of these four towers is in the repeated use of the Name YAHWEH, Jehovah; "the existing One", the proper name of the one true God. He created the universe, called forth and defended a people and through His people He came into this wicked world as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In Christ, He will judge the world and is making a New Heavens and New earth, wherein no evil will ever again trouble His people.

God perpetually exists, unlike grass that withers and dies away. That being the case, we can trust in Him and setting our hearts on doing good, we will “dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.”

An ever-present God is a delight, thus we can and should take delight in His presence and let Him give us the desires of our heart, even as He changes our hearts to beat after His own heart.

“Commit” means to roll, roll with the Lord; sounds like biker speak! If we roll with the ever present “I AM”, by submitting our ways to His, our righteous reward will disperse and dispel all wickedness; for our righteous reward is justification by faith in the death of Jesus Christ and our vindication is His resurrection on the third day and the hope of our resurrection on the Last Day.

“Be still” means to rest, the Hebrew word is literally rendered “silence.” Here we find the essence of security in the face of wickedness. We are to be still and know that God is God. We are to rest in the finished work of Jesus Christ for our redemption and salvation. We are to still our anxieties and the fire of our own anger. We are to still our tongues so as not to speak unadvisedly with our lips, but to let the Holy Spirit of God intercede with words that cannot be uttered.

We are assured of several things in this Psalm as well. Regarding evil wrongdoers; “like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.”

“For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land. A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity.” [Verses 9-11]

These words remind us of the Beatitudes of Jesus; ““Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

We who believe in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior are blessed people. Therefore, do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes; do not fret—it leads only to evil.” Rather, trust in the LORD, take delight in the LORD, commit your way to the LORD, be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him.

“The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.” [Psalm 37:39-40]