Peninsula Community Church
September 15, 2019
Psalm 37:1-6 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 the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.
There is so much in life that brings us reason to give up and give in. There is so much that could give us a reason to throw our hands up and run and hide but that has never been the work of the Lord. It has never been the desire of God that this would be the way things would be.
In verse 1, this passage begins with the idea that we are not to fret about things. The problem with worry and envy is that we give power to those things to control our life. We worry about things that do not matter. We envy what others have without recognizing what God has done in us. The outcome of worry and fretting is that we give power to those things and in so doing we allow them to control us. You may have experienced this. Someone says something to you. It may be just one word or phrase. But that one word or phrase sticks with us and we become focused on that and it becomes the focus of what we think about.
I remember when I left for Bible College that my dad said to me. “Why do you want to go to college? Why don’t you stay home and work? Do what your brother is doing?” Those statements messed with my thinking and for years I felt that I did not have my dad’s blessing. For years I was trying get his blessing. I worked harder. I studied harder. I graduated with honors from Bible school. And yet I never seemed to please my dad. Those statements began to control my actions and they began to control my emotions. It wasn’t until I learned that I had to let go of those desires and attempt to please God because the reality was that I might never get my dad to believe in me. I was so relieved when I was able to let those words go and let God fill me with the assurance that He has it under control.
The point is those words began to control me. They did not have to but they did. They did not have to push me down but they did. But when we take those thoughts captive and we judge them through the template of God’s grace and His mercy, we find that the words and actions of those around us do not have to hold us in bondage. The sad part is that later in life I found that my dad had always been proud of me. He just did not know how to communicate that. So, I spent years holding things that were not really true.
That is why David so beautifully shares these words. That is why David lays out a plan for us to live effective, passionate, and committed lives. Notice that rather than fretting or worrying we should trust in the Lord. Trust is an amazing word. It is a word that is easier said and communicated than lived out. It is an action that is hard to define and enact because for us as believers it is hard to believe and hold onto what is not seen. It is hard to trust sometimes what we do not know.
It is hard to trust God for tomorrow because we do not see tomorrow. When we made the decision to start this transition we knew there we would be so many unknowns. But that is where trust is best envisioned and that is where trust is best formulated for the life we need. When we trust God, we will begin to see how much we are blessed of God. That is why I love what Adrian Rogers has stated. I am too blessed to be stressed. He has suggested that the best way to look at this passage is to understand that the word trust means to be face down and have run out of all options, but it is here that you will trust the Lord as your only source and hope. I do not stress because, I am blessed by a heavenly Father that loves me immensely.
That was the very basis for the beatitudes of the New Testament. Blessed are you when …… and you fill in the blank. Listen to Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:3-12. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
David in the passage before us today reminds us that we are called not only to trust the Lord but we are to do good. Most people withdraw or retreat when things get tough. They act of the hurt and the struggle, but that is not what the psalmist tells us to do. We are to move forward. We are continue to do what we know to do and do it well. Adrian Rogers suggests that God puts you in school. And God will keep you there until you pass the test. If you flunk out the first time, He will enroll you again. Therefore do good! Walk in righteousness even though you might have every reason not to do so.
I love this next section. How wonderful it is to know that we can delight ourselves in the Lord. When your dreams, your hopes, and your thoughts about your future are dissolved, stop and delight yourself in the Lord. Here is what David says. Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. When our dreams dissolve it is tempting to lose heart. It is tempting to fret and worry. Why is that? It is because our joy is threatened. The solution is to find a joy that cannot be threatened. That joy is only resourced by the Lord and is only found in the Lord. Corrie Ten Boom said, Look around and you’ll be distressed. Look within, and you’ll be depressed. Look to the Lord, and you’ll be at rest. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.
The idea suggested through this passage is that we make Jehovah, the Lord, the joy and rejoicing in our spirit. Think about this for a moment. If we remember that God is ours, there will be no incentive to worry or fret. To remember that God is ours and we are His means that we can trust Him and we can delight ourselves in the Lord.
The promise is that if we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart. But notice this, if our delight is in the Lord then we will not ask for anything that is opposed to His will or outside the bounds of His will and His purpose. We will delight in Biblical truth. We will delight in God’s promises. We will delight in God’s character and recognize that He loves us and cares deeply for us.
It is here that David makes this powerful statement of hope. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. So let me ask you, when you feel threatened or life is fighting against you what do you do? When we have committed our way to the Lord, we do fret? We do not worry? We do not lose trust? I love this. four times in the New Testament we are told not to lose heart. And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart (Luke 18:1). Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart (2 Corinthians 4:1). So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16). So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory (Ephesians 3:13). It has been suggested that the word here for “way” really means “lifestyle.” It carries the idea of a well traveled path. This means that we rest in the Lord. When we live a life filled with commitment to Christ we will rise above the fray and above the problems of life.
When we commit our ways to the Lord He will act on our behalf. I love what Psalm 55:22 says. Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. Solomon wrote, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones” (Proverbs 3:5-8).
When trials arise, do you run toward the Lord? Or do you try to handle things yourself? He who created you can handle any difficulty and pain, even when it seems overwhelming. What He desires is your surrender and trust. It is in His arms that you will find rest for your soul.
Are you delighted by God? Do you take pleasure in God? Are you satisfied with God? Do you look to stand on what God has revealed about Himself in His Word. Do you delight in knowing Him? Are you awestruck by His Will and Commands? Do you see God as He is presented in the Scripture and desire Him? Do you want to know Him? Do you want to please Him? Do want to be satisfied with Him? Do you know there is and can never be anything or anyone greater? Do you desire to do everything in your life to delight in God?
If you were given one choice, would you want God more than money, more than comfort, more than sex, more than security, more than praise, more than food, more than honor, more than ability, more than friends, more than family, and more than fame. If you had the choice between God and knowing Him and everything beautiful and pleasurable in all of Creation, would you choose God? I hope that you would. Let’s pray.
For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/messages.
Copyright © 2019 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom