Lessons for Life From Psalm 37
David's Life and background to Psalm 37.
David is one of the really great people in history, not only in the Bible. As a shepherd, king, musician, poet and warrior he stands out as someone with a vast array of talents. But what gives us ordinary people hope is that he was also human, that at times he messed up big time. One of the things that I love about the Bible is that is does not romanticise people, but describes them "warts and all". That gives me hope as a human. God accepts me and loves me warts and all, it all depends on my attitude towards God.
Perhaps as we look at David and his life, his greatest influence is in the Psalms that he wrote that are useful for every age. In them we find honesty and passion, wisdom and guidance. The 37th Psalm is one of his great ones - a repetitive acrostic psalm. Today we will be looking at just nine verses on David's advice for living. How we need advice in this confused world as we mess up so often!
The relevance of the Scripture.
A question we need to begin with is "How can something written almost 3000 years ago be of any value today?" The answer is as simple as it is amazing. When we look at David's world we see that what David faced and did is exactly what we face as humans today. Political intrigue, adultery in high places, power struggles, deceit and lies, greed and theft, love and hate, murder and war, etc., etc.
Let's then see what we can learn from David in these nine powerful verses: Ps.37:3-11
1. "Trust in the Lord and do good.." (vs.3) Here are words that Paul echo's when he says "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesians 2:10) David trusted in God but he also "did good" in so many ways.
2. If we do this it will bring the promise of enjoying safe pastures, a phrase that sends us straight to Psalm 23. How much assistance has this Psalm given to countless people over the ages? David knew what it was to provide safe pastures and God sent his son to be the Good Shepard for us.
3. The offer to receive the desire of our heart is amazing (vs. 4).We as humans, have lost the knowledge of what we should actually should desire. What is missing in our world today, just as it was in the time of David, is a realization of what is really important. Again Paul describes this beautifully in Philippians 4: 8: "Finally, brothers, whatever is noble, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praise worthy - think about such things". In a world that has become crazy about possessions and wealth we need to look again at what is really important.
4. "Commit your way to the Lord". (vs.5) Nothing comes without commitment and effort. Think of David and his life. As he struggled with the challenges that he faced he kept going, not perfect, but with a faith that took him through the hard times and even the challenges of the good times.
5. Shining like the dawn, the brightness of the noonday sun. (vs.6) Wow! One of my favourite scriptures says: ".. Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine as stars in the universe". (Philippians 2:14,15) The Christian stands out like a light in the darkness of this world.
6. "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him:" (vs. 7a) Spend time in waiting, something so difficult in this busy, rushed world. A quiet time in meditation and listening for God's voice helps to restore our soul.
7. "But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace". (vs. 11) Meekness is not weakness. Rather it can be described as simply submitting your will to God's will. The wise man says "Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man". (Ecclesiastes 12:13)
8. In a world at war with itself, the advice comes from David, who knew all about life's problems and joys, heartaches and pleasures. It is advice that is so needed in today's world which is so different and yet so similar. Read Psalm 37, meditate on it, share it, and most of all apply it in your life and become a bright shining star in the universe. Heaven knows this world needs all the light it can get. Be a part of the light.
9. The 37th Psalm deals specifically with the question of why the wicked seem to prosper and the good often suffer. A question that David must have asked himself on many occasions in his life. This was a question that people have wrestled with over the years in every age. The answer was given by Jesus when he told his disciples "that the rain falls on the just and the unjust". Here and in Psalm 73, the Old Testament writer assures us that God blesses his people and even in times of difficulty we need "to trust in the Lord and do good". In the end the wicked will get their just reward, be it now or later. (vs.1,2;9)
In the bigger picture there can be no doubt that God's way is the only way because it brings the rewards we need in this life and in eternity. David helps us to see that!