God’s Saving Word: Justice and Peace
Psalm 37: This psalm addresses the age‒old question of why bad things happen to good people while evil people prosper. The psalmist indicates that he is old (verse 25), and it appears he has probably witnessed much in his lifetime. Despite the prevalence of evil, the psalmist exhorts his readers/listeners to trust in the LORD.
The Destiny of the Wicked and of the Good
37 Don’t be worried on account of the wicked;
don’t be jealous of those who do wrong.
2 They will soon disappear like grass that dries up;
they will die like plants that wither.
3 Trust in the Lord and do good;
live in the land and be safe.
4 Seek your happiness in the Lord,
and he will give you your heart’s desire.
5 Give yourself to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will help you;
6 he will make your righteousness shine like the noonday sun.
7 Be patient and wait for the Lord to act;
don’t be worried about those who prosper
or those who succeed in their evil plans.
8 Don’t give in to worry or anger;
it only leads to trouble.
9 Those who trust in the Lord will possess the land,
but the wicked will be driven out.
10 Soon the wicked will disappear;
you may look for them, but you won’t find them;
11 but the humble will possess the land
and enjoy prosperity and peace.
12 The wicked plot against good people
and glare at them with hate.
13 But the Lord laughs at wicked people,
because he knows they will soon be destroyed.
14 The wicked draw their swords and bend their bows
to kill the poor and needy,
to slaughter those who do what is right;
15 but they will be killed by their own swords,
and their bows will be smashed.
16 The little that a good person owns
is worth more than the wealth of all the wicked,
17 because the Lord will take away the strength of the wicked,
but protect those who are good.
18 The Lord takes care of those who obey him,
and the land will be theirs forever.
19 They will not suffer when times are bad;
they will have enough in time of famine.
20 But the wicked will die;
the enemies of the Lord will vanish like wild flowers;
they will disappear like smoke.
21 The wicked borrow and never pay back,
but good people are generous with their gifts.
22 Those who are blessed by the Lord will possess the land,
but those who are cursed by him will be driven out.
23 The Lord guides us in the way we should go
and protects those who please him.
24 If they fall, they will not stay down,
because the Lord will help them up.
25 I am old now; I have lived a long time,
but I have never seen good people abandoned by the Lord
or their children begging for food.
26 At all times they give freely and lend to others,
and their children are a blessing.
27 Turn away from evil and do good,
and your descendants will always live in the land;
28 for the Lord loves what is right
and does not abandon his faithful people.
He protects them forever,
but the descendants of the wicked will be driven out.
29 The righteous will possess the land
and live in it forever.
30 The words of good people are wise,
and they are always fair.
31 They keep the law of their God in their hearts
and never depart from it.
32 Wicked people watch good people
and try to kill them;
33 but the Lord will not abandon them to their enemy’s power
or let them be condemned when they are on trial.
34 Put your hope in the Lord and obey his commands;
he will honor you by giving you the land,
and you will see the wicked driven out.
35 I once knew someone wicked who was a tyrant;
he towered over everyone like a cedar of Lebanon;
36 but later I passed by, and he wasn’t there;
I looked for him, but couldn’t find him.
37 Notice good people, observe the righteous;
peaceful people have descendants,
38 but sinners are completely destroyed,
and their descendants are wiped out.
39 The Lord saves the righteous
and protects them in times of trouble.
40 He helps them and rescues them;
he saves them from the wicked,
because they go to him for protection.
Today’s Key Verse: Psalm 37:23
The LORD guides us in the way we should go and protects those who please him.
The psalmist begins in an imperative tone, instructing his readers/listeners not to be worried on account of the wicked and not to be jealous of those who do wrong (verse 1). After you have read this entire psalm, can you agree with that statement? Why or why not? Given the situation in our world today, do you find this psalm comforting or encouraging? Why or why not?
God of mercy and love, sometimes my faith is shaken when I witness evil in the world today and question why such acts happen. But I know, God, that you are always in control and that you see everything. You promise never to abandon those who put their faith and trust in you. Teach me to be patient and to wait upon you, trusting in your steadfast love and care. Amen.
Psalm 43: The prayer of someone in exile.