Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Psalm 37 - Action Plan for the Righteous

LINK: Psalm 37

BACKGROUND 

This is another "low-period" psalm of David and appropriately following Psalm 36 because it builds on it. The message is also similar to that contained in Psalms 49 and 73 that we will read next year. It contains instructions that the righteous not be disturbed when they see the seeming prosperity of the wicked because God knows all and is the great equalizer in the end. 

He instructs them with both negative and positive command verbs:

Do not fret
Be not envious
Trust
Do 
Dwell
Cultivate (feed securely)
Delight
Commit 
Trust 
Rest (Be still)
Wait 
Do not fret
Cease 
Forsake
Do not fret
Depart
Do 
Wait 
Keep

Those are all calls to action. Do not fret is the front runner of the command verbs. Sometimes, we fret and run into things we know are not right (see below).

Now have some fun and list all the promises for the righteous contrasted with what is in store for the wicked!l 

REFLECTION 

This psalm always encourages me to stay focused and active when I am down. It is so full of promises that will last into eternity! It was a great help in focusing my heart as I saw the majority of my friends get married in their 20's while I continued to remain single. 

It also reminds me of a single woman who preached on this.  She went through all the command verbs, and encouraged us specifically to "delight, commit, trust, and rest in the Lord."  She was in full-time ministry with an organization that has done tremendous things on behalf of children. 

She was a godly woman, but she really wanted to be married. I think she was 26 when I was 22. She used to say, "Just wait until you are 26, Carol. You will not be as content in your singleness!"  

Well, if you know me that just challenged me to be content! I thought, "Just wait and see! I will be content!"  

So, 27 rolled around, and I was still single and fairly content. I had heard that she had gotten married and moved away from the area. So, I called her former ministry. The lady on the phone gave me her number but seemed sad. She did not gossip or tell me anything other than the number, but I wondered what was up.

I called this friend and congratulated her on her marriage. She was really upfront in telling me that she had married a non-believer and was no longer walking with the Lord. She seemed sad and regretful. Writing this makes me want to contact her again. It has been almost 25 years though!

This woman was not willing to wait for God's best by "delighting, committing, trusting, and resting."  I have heard the same song over and over again. There are many woman who married non-believers that have told me that they would be more than happy to talk to young women contemplating such a move. I do not know one who did not regret the decision. Life can be very difficult to be so "unequally yoked" with someone (2 Corinthians 2:14).  One in particular had become a believer after she had started dating a man. She knew God wanted her to break off the relationship, but she told me she flatly disobeyed and married him (on the same day as me, but I did not know her then). Her marriage was tough, but she stuck with her non-believing husband according to 1 Corinthians 7:13. Fifteen long years later, she had three beautiful children, but a husband who was making illegal drugs in their barn! 

Not all marriages to non-believers are as bad as this (she divorced after the cops raided her home, he was put in jail, and she was penniless), but many are very difficult (marriages between two believers are difficult too!), and it comes down to not trusting God for His best!  

Whatever you may be longing or waiting for, focus on and delight in the LORD! Feed on Him and enjoy security with Him. The grass is always greenest on the Lord's side!  

By the way, this post has inspired me to track down this old friend to see how she is doing. I last talked to her in 1987! I have a call in to her former ministry. Pray I find her!

2014 Update: No one ever called me back with her contact information. I will pray for her today.

APPLICATION/PRAYER

Pray through this Psalm and personalize it!
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