Beckett: Fret Not, Wait on the Lord

Psalm 37:1-11
Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers!
For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb.
Trust in Yahweh, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in Yahweh, and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to Yahweh; trust in Him, and He will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.
Be still before Yahweh and wait patiently for Him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!
Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for Yahweh shall inherit the land.
In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.
But the [humble] shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.

Translational Note: I put “humble” in brackets whereas the ESV translates the word as “meek.” I believe “humble” is a better translation because it better fits the context, as well as the greater context of Jesus’ Beatitudes in Matthew 5:5, which the better Greek translation of the word is “lowly” (the ESV also translates it “meek”). “Being still” and being blessed does not make one meek; it makes one lowly/humble.

There are four themes in this section of the psalm: (1) fret not, (2) the wicked shall perish, (3) trust in Yahweh/wait on Him/be still, and (4) the inheritance of the earth. Themes 2-4 are David’s reasoning not to worry. Do not worry about the evildoers! Why? Because as grass fades, so too they shall fade; as green herbs wither, so too they shall wither. Therefore, trust in God. Be still and wait on the Lord’s promise. (Cf. Psalm 46:10, for those who wait on Him and the lowly shall inherit the earth. Jesus repeats this promise, “Blessed are the lowly, for they shall inherit the earth” [Matthew 5:5, Greek translation].)

Of course, this is easier said than done. We don’t like to wait. Our advancement in technology doesn’t make this any easier. We can wait in line at a movie theatre for the grand opening of a long-awaited for movie and camp outside our local Apple Store for the latest iPhone for many hours, but we can hardly wait at a traffic light for 2-5 minutes.

We have tech that grants instant gratification, such as microwaves, stoves, ovens, various technological devices to download a show or movie, access to global information at the tip of our fingers (God forbid our WiFi be slow!), and even worse things such as easy access to pornography on the Internet for instant sexual gratification. If we can hardly wait for these things, no wonder it is so difficult for us to wait on the Lord!

There is no easy way to wait on the Lord. I have no silver bullet for you to guarantee instant gratification in waiting on the Lord. You must simply wait, which means this requires time, and usually a lot of it. Take David’s suggestion as you wait, “Refrain from anger and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil” (v. 8). Do not become angry and impatient with God’s “slowness,” who “is not slow to fulfil His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

God’s “slowness” is twofold: His patience toward you (your own impatience and sinning) and His desire that the wicked should repent and turn to Him, just as you once did in your own wickedness. Therefore, what sense is there in growing angry and impatient with God and worrying about the wicked when God’s promise shall certainly come and He has promised you the inheritance of the earth? As God later says in a following Psalm, “‘Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth'” (Psalm 46:10).

For Christ became incarnate and died and rose from the dead in God’s proper timing (Romans 5:6; Galatians 4:4-5); therefore, Christ shall come again at the proper time. This is most certainly true. Therefore, fret not. The wicked shall perish. Trust in the Lord, wait on Him, be still and know He is God. He is certainly coming. His believers shall certainly inherit the earth.

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