Do not fret because of evildoers. … Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. … Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him. — Psalm 37:1-7a
It can be so easy to give in to worry and fear in times like these, yet this passage teaches us how to deal with worry and rest in the Lord.
Do Not Worry
In verse 1, Do not fret means Do not worry. David may have been encouraging himself in the Lord, as he often did. David speaks of trouble 55 times in the psalms, and 106 times of enemies. His life was filled with trouble, yet he encouraged himself not to worry.
Some spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about being robbed or assaulted by evildoers. I saw a cartoon where a man found two burglars in his kitchen and invited them upstairs to meet his wife because “she’s been expecting you for years.”
What did Jesus say? And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her (Luke 10:41-42).” Worry keeps us from the better part—it keeps us fretting in the kitchen rather than sitting at the feet of Jesus.
Jesus points out: “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you (Luke 12:25, 31).” Focus on God, on His kingdom, and He will take care of all the essentials of life.
Choose to Trust in the Lord
Verse 3 above says, Trust in the LORD. It’s extremely important where I focus my attention. If I focus on the problem, it grows bigger. It can grow so big that I lose sight of the Lord. But if I focus on the Lord—on His love for me, His grace toward me, His power, His glory, His might—then I find that my problems grow so small that I hardly see them.
Psalm 118:8 says, It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. God knows your situation. God knows your limitations. God loves you. God will take care of you. Just trust in the Lord. Don’t sit there and worry and fret over the situation.
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. David is saying to just trust in the Lord, and God will take care of you. Further on in this psalm, David says that he has never seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread (Psalm 37:25b). God takes care of His children.
Delight in the Lord
There is a conditional promise in verse 4: Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Have you ever tried to just delight yourself in the Lord? This comes through praise and thanksgiving. When I stop and reflect on the goodness of God and His blessings, I just rejoice in the Lord. I just praise Him. I just delight myself in Him: “Oh God, it is so good to walk with You. It is so good to serve You. It is so good to know You. It is so good to be a child of the King. It is so good to have the hope of eternal life.”
Commit Your Life to God
Next, verse 5 says to Commit your way to the LORD. This commitment is the key to peace. We lay aside all of our feverish endeavors to work things out ourselves, and we say, “Lord, I have come to the end of myself here; I am going to just trust You. Whatever comes, it’s in Your hands.” Then the Lord begins to work. He will work out His will in my life. God’s ways are far better and wiser than mine. Turn it over to Him.
Rest in the Lord
Lastly, in verse 7: Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him. Until you have committed your way to God, it is impossible to rest in the Lord. I have learned to wait patiently for Him. For example, a lot of the false doctrine has a way of coming and going. There was an evangelist in Los Angeles in the 1950s saying if you had enough faith, you would never die. And they were selling water from the Fountain of Youth for a healthy donation. These false teachers don’t take into account God’s purposes or His will, that perhaps He has a plan in this weakness for a season. They draw the crowds for a while because the sick are looking for hope and can fall prey to all kinds of chicanery. Wait patiently; time will tell. Rest in the Lord.
How easy it is to worry and become anxious when evil seems to prosper and triumph over good. Yet these are the very things that I am told not to fret over. God is in control. Oh Lord, give us the strength to trust in You, to commit our way to You, and to enjoy that rest and peace that is found in You alone.
The above is condensed from Pastor Chuck Smith’s recorded messages on Psalm 37. Pastor Chuck is the founder of the Calvary Chapel movement and was the longtime pastor of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, CA.
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