A fellow blogger recently blogged about Psalm 37, and I commented on her post that it compelled me to go read the entire Psalm. She replied that she would like to hear my thoughts on this Psalm, so I thought I would share those today.
It is often said that “nice guys finish last.” And in our culture it does seem that it is the greedy and wicked who prosper because they have big houses and fancy cars. I like Psalm 37 because it reminds me that things are not always what they appear. Even though it appears that the wicked and selfish among us have been blessed while the righteous, honest, and selfless “finish last,” the story is not over.
Psalm 37:10 says, “A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found.” But what is “a little while” in God’s timing? It may be as long as a lifetime, but it is shorter than eternity. This Psalm reminds me what is better:
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 days of the blameless are known to the LORD,
and their inheritance will endure forever.
I was thinking about this again yesterday, contemplating what I would write, and decided to go back to the Psalm once again. This time something new occurred to me. I was reading from my Hebrew-Greek study Bible and so was able to look up a more in-depth meaning of the words that were used in parts of this Psalm.
Verse 1 says, “Do not fret because of evildoers, Be not envious toward wrongdoers.” Both the words “fret” and “evildoers” were among those included in the Hebrew and Aramaic dictionary in the back of my study Bible. When I looked them up, I discovered that fret means to be angry or envious, and that the root of the word translated evildoers meant to act out of anger or envy.
I generally think of the word “fret” as meaning to worry, but in this Psalm it has a meaning that is less internal concern about circumstances and more of an external reaction to others. To fret – that is, to be angry and envious of the seeming good fortune of evildoers – essentially makes me an evildoer as well. If I fret when I see a wicked person prosper, I become just like them and I no longer have the blessings promised to the righteous and blameless in this Psalm. I no longer can claim the promise of having my days known to the Lord or my inheritance enduring forever. Instead of fretting about what others have or how they got it, I must focus on God, keep my eye on my Savior. As Psalm 37 says,
4 Delight yourself in the LORD;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the LORD,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
6He will bring forth your righteousness as the light
And your judgment as the noonday.
7Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.
8Cease from anger and forsake wrath;
Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.
It does seem that those who act out of selfish motives prosper. But in God’s tapestry all is not as it seems. Our life on this earth is but a small corner of the whole tapestry and we have seen but a tiny piece of what God has planned and what He has already accomplished for the benefit of those who love and trust Him. Nice guys might finish last, but the best God has to offer is waiting for them when they finally reach the finish line.