Thursday, May 19, 2016

Contrasting The Results Of Righteousness And Unrighteousness

Psalm 37:1-40

A Psalm of David.

“Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.  For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.” (Psalm 37:1-2)

In this present world, we see corrupt politicians taking over our government and wicked people forcing their immorality on the nation using political office and threats to withhold funding to blackmail local entities to accept it.  Dishonest investment advisors and bankers steal billions and walk away with minimal punishment or are never prosecuted.  Pharmaceutical companies make billions on drugs that have little value, and frequently cause worse problems than the original one they were supposed to fix.   

As we see these things, it is easy to get depressed and resentful.   David tells us not to let it get to us or even consider doing the same things, because their seeming success is only temporary.  When it ends their apparent success will wither away as quickly as the grass does when you mow it.      

“Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.  Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.  Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.  And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.” (Psalm 37:3-6)

Though we may not have as much as those corrupt wicked people, if we just trust God we will be able to live in our land and have food.   If we take the effort to make him our joy and pleasure, he will give us our deepest desires, making  our desires reality and exalting us for our righteousness.   

“Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.  Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.  For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.  For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.  But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. ( Psalm 37:7-11)

Instead of trying to fix all the corruption we need to patiently wait for God to deal with those who seem to be gaining riches and power by dishonest means.  Don’t let anger or frustration lead you to do things that are wrong, such as taking matters into your own hands, because those who do evil will be destroyed, while those who wait on God to punish them will be blessed.  Though it may seem like it takes forever, their power will only be for a little while, and when they are destroyed the people the despised and abused will take over. 

“The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.  The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.  The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation.  Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.  A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.  For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the LORD upholdeth the righteous.”(Psalm 37:12-17)

The wicked have formed a conspiracy against those who do what is right, doing everything they can to destroy them.  They have used military and political power to gain control of the poor and kill those who oppose them and live a righteous life.  God just laughs at them because he knows the outcome.  Ultimately their efforts will be turned against them and their power destroyed.  Though he may have little by comparison to those in power, it is worth more than what they have because God will protect him, enabling him to enjoy it. 

“The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever.  They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.  But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.” (Psalm 37:18-20)

God knows the life of those who obey him, and they will live forever.  When things go badly and the economy crashes or there is a food shortage, they will still have enough to live on.  Those who have not obeyed will die, with those who deliberately rebelled against him will be like grease dripping onto the charcoal in the barbecue, bursting into flame and leaving only smoke behind. 

“The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous showeth mercy, and giveth.  For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.  The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.  Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.” (Psalm 37:21-24)

People who borrow and make no effort to repay their debt are wicked.  Righteous people are willing to forgive, simply giving the person the item and forgetting the debt.  God will bless those who have a good relationship with the righteous, and destroy those who have been against them.  God directs the steps of good people, so that they enjoy their lives.  They may fall into hard times, but God supports them so that they can recover and are not destroyed. 

“I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.  He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.  Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore.  For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.  The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever.  The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.  The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.” (Psalm 37:25-31)

David was seventy when he turned the kingdom over to Solomon.  In his entire life, he had never seen God turned his back on a person who served him, nor had he ever seen a time when such people’s children needed to go begging for food.  Righteous people are always ready to forgive and share what they have, and God blesses them.  A person would be wise to avoid evil activities and focus on doing good, because God loves and blesses justice and will not turn away from his people, preserving them and giving them the land forever.   

The righteous  exhibits a wisdom and understanding of how things work the wicked do not understand, because they understand God made things to work in particular way.  The wicked think they can make up their own rules.  The righteous talks about what is really fair to everyone while the wicked focus on what benefits themselves.  The righteous is concerned about what God wants , trying to obey him, and as a result he will never  slip into wickedness or destruction. 

“The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him.  The LORD will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged.  Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.” (Psalm 37:32-34)

Unlike the righteous, who looks for an opportunity to help even wicked, the wicked look for a way to destroy the righteous, either by killing him or by destroying his reputation.  God protects the righteous from the wicked, and will not condemn him, even when the world concludes he is guilty.   Just wait on the Lord and obey him.  When he destroys the wicked you will see their punishment and receive the the things they took.    
“I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.   Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.” (Psalm 37:35-36)

In his life David had seen wicked men come to great power, so they appeared invincible, yet God had destroyed them completely so that he could not even find evidence of his impact.  People had done their best to forget he ever existed. 

“Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.  But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.  But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble.  And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.” (Psalm 37:37-40)

The righteous will live out their days in peace while the wicked will all be destroyed who have worked together against God.  God is the salvation of the righteous, and their strength.  He will protect and save them because they believe his promises and obey him.    

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