Have you ever been distressed over the actions of wicked people? We are certainly living in a time when evil people seem to be on the increase. More and more people are rampaging through the streets shooting innocent people. These shootings are taking place all to often. Most people hate to see anyone murdered. It is especially distressing when a deranged person goes on a rampage and kills innocent people. Of course, we all want to see these terrorist actions stop.
Then there are the terrible killings in Syria and Iraq. Groups like Isis give no thought to murdering innocent people. We live in dangerous times. For many people it is difficult to find solace when such unthinkable events take place. While we hate the terrible murders of innocent bystanders we must not let the perpetrators of these evil deeds dominate our thoughts. Doing so will cause our spiritual lives suffer.
The truth is, wicked people often prosper and seem to have the upper hand over the righteous. It is easy to focus upon the sad state of affairs of our modern age. It is easy to wonder where God is in all of this mess. The truth is, evil men have prospered throughout the ages. They often seem to get away with evil deeds. But, they won’t get away with their iniquity. In Psalm 37:1-9 King David, the sweet psalmist of Israel, addresses this very problem. What David wrote will help us to cope with the difficulties we face when evil men seem to have the upper hand.
ADVICE CONCERNING EVILDOERS: Psalm 37:1-2
- Don’t allow evil men to dominate your thoughts: “Fret not yourself because of evil doers”, Psalm 37:1. In this context David speaks of evildoers who are being more successful than the followers of the Lord. However, the thoughts expressed by the Psalmist helps us to cope with the terrible deeds perpetrated against innocent people. First of all, we are told not to fret. The Hebrew word for fret is “charah”. It means “to burn or be kindled with anger” The word can also mean “furious, distresses, fret, or to rage”. The teaching of the Apostle Paul seems appropriate for this word. He said, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,” Ephesians 4:26. Paul gave us good advice when he wrote “Whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things,” Philippians 4:8. He is not saying we should bury our heads in the sand but he is saying don’t let bad thoughts dominate your mind.
- Don’t envy the “success” of evil men: God will take care of them at the proper time. “Be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb”. To a large degree we cannot control the actions of those who are determined to do evil. Often they seem to be in charge of this world. However, they are not. The time will come when God will take appropriate action against all evildoers.
ADVICE FOR BELIEVERS: Psalm 37:3-9
- Trust in God and do good: “Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness,” Psalm 37:3. We just have to realize that God is in control of our lives when we follow Him. We just need trust Him and do good. Don’t you love the idea that we are to “befriend faithfulness”? Of course this speaks of our firm convictions. We know that “for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose,” Romans 8:28. That is true even if we must die for our faith in Jesus. Yes, it is true! Death is a reward for those who love and obey God.
- Delight in the Lord: “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart,” Psalm 37:4. What is your greatest delight? Is it your spouse? Your children? Your wealth? For the child of God our greatest delight is in God and Jesus Christ our savior. Such a mindset will carry us though any difficulty evildoers can bring before us. In addition, when we delight in the Lord He will give us the desires of our heart. The question is, “What do we desire?” Jesus taught that we should seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Putting the spiritual ahead of the physical provides us with the ability to withstand the actions of evil men. We will not fear them, Hebrews 13:5-6 and we will stand ready to fight against the evil deeds of men in high places. Paul makes it clear that we are God’s warriors and we must fight against the devil and his helpers, Ephesians 6:10-18. It is our “delight” to do so.
- Be patient; the Lord will act: “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, Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!” 37:5-7.The idea is: we must be patient and wait upon the Lord. We must commit ourselves to Him, trust Him and realize that, at the proper time, He will cause righteousness to shine as a light. We must wait on the Lord, He will take care of evildoers according to His own timetable.
- Refrain from anger: “Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil,” 3:9. It is difficult for us to wait for evildoers to be punished. Sometimes it appears that they are winning the battle. When wickedness increases we must refrain from unrighteous anger. Doing so will only cause us to dwell upon evil thoughts. Instead, we are to “rejoice in the Lord always”, Philippians 4:4.
- Trust God to bless your faithfulness: “Those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land,” 37:9. King David spoke of the land of Israel but there is a land for the Christian as well. Our rest comes when we dwell with God in heaven. Never forget that we are only sojourners on this earth. Our citizenship is in heaven, the place we all long to be. In our heavenly home we will not have to deal with evildoers anymore.
The message of Psalm 37 clear. Do not fret over evildoers. As God’s children, we need to trust in God and do good. We must realize that God is truly in charge of this world. He will punish the evildoers in due time.