A Christian Perspective on Psalm 37

v1-8,  Notice the hope & trust expressed in this praise, while contrasted with envy, v1, which progresses to worry, then to fretting and anger, then ending in evil, v8. This Psalm of David is certainly written in his old age, v25, and his wisdom shown in this praise is an example of how to answer the age old question by all of us: why do the wicked experience such pleasurable success while the righteous suffer? Jesus answers us in John 16:33 & 1st Jn. 4:4.

v9-11 is an introduction to v22, 29, 34 which is discussed in the Koran (21:105) where Psalm 37:29 is quoted verbatim. Jesus alluded to v29 in the sermon on the mount, Matthew 5:5, and it is still a well-known verse in the world. Worldly people largely misunderstand it, but it’s explanation is straightforward. To understand “inherit the earth”, we can look at Abraham’s faith in Jesus, and Paul’s teaching on Abraham, Romans 4:13. Yes Jesus lived out the faith of Abraham perfectly. The lifetime of Abraham’s faith led him to only own one parcel of ground, a burial place for his wife, Sarah. What kind of inheritance is that for the descendant of Abraham? Appropriately a different gravesite would figure most prominently in Christianity! The children of Abraham (Isaac & Jacob & Esau) would later bury Abraham himself with his wife Sarah, but of course their ancient gravesite near Hebron today has no significance to Christians now because we know only the dust of their corpse is there, their real identity is in Heaven. When the inheritance occurs for “the meek” as Jesus describes all the righteous people of God, it is then we will experience the glory of the new heaven and the new earth. But for now, because of what Jesus did at his gravesite, as the descendant of Abraham which blesses the world, we have spiritually attained this inheritance because of our faith in Christ, the seed of Abraham. In one sense faithful Christians already have inherited the earth, as being in Christ and he is now sovereign over it, Matthew 28:18, but not unbelieving worldly people, for now, they are the devil’s, Ephesians 6:12, John 8:44 & 1st Jn. 3:10.

v12-21 , Only the Lord can laugh at the wicked. Whereas we his subjects should empathize, because we once were wicked too. If a Christian can maintain and grow this attitude, we will succeed in evangelism. The crescendo of this Psalm, is v16, worthy of our memory work, and it’s sentiment is echoed in Matthew 6:32-33, Philippians 4:11-13 & 1st Timothy 6:6-8.

v22-34, when or if the Lord is upholding our hand, v24, disaster will never totally defeat us. Paul as a Christian understood this little victory led to a great eternal victory, read 2nd Cor. 4:7-10. Do you ever prayerfully picture the Lord upholding your hand? Could this poetic vision be in Paul’s mind when he wrote, 1st Timothy 2:8. God wants holy/clean hands to hold, James 4:8.

v35-40, The ultimate plight of the wicked is in stark contrast here in v35-36, to the present reality of the wicked from our perspective. Prison staff are constantly exposed to the injustice of “rehabilitating” the lives of some murderous thieves with a temporary “justice” system. This can be disheartening for the righteous, if we lose sight of the ultimate victory for the righteous. This passage should remind us that the justice of humanity at best, is inconsequential in the long run. We all should be waiting on the justice of the Lord in Jesus Christ. Never forget the eternal good news vision of His justice, Revelation 19:1-3

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