Friday, September 13, 2013

Fret not yourself [Meditations on Psalm 37]

Psalm 37 is one of my favorite psalms.  I find myself running to it over and over in hard times.  Over the next few weeks, I am going to write out some of the themes that I see and cherish in this chapter, in hopes that you come to love this psalm as I have.

Before reading this meditation, I would encourage you to read the whole chapter of Psalm 37.

"Fret not yourself because of evildoers." v. 1a

"Fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices" v. 7b, c

"Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil" v. 8b

Fret not yourself.  This phrase is repeated three times in a matter of less than 10 verses.  What is it referring to?

First of all, the who.  Fret not yourself over evildoers.  It is easy to look around in the world and see all the people who oppose God but are doing very well for themselves.  Their life looks so easy, they have all that they need.  Maybe you fall prey to comparing your life to a celebrity, a co-worker, a neighbor or a friend.   If you are like me, there are times in your walk with God that following Him is so difficult that you almost wish that you could not follow Him in order to have an easy life.  If you weren't following Jesus, you could live by the mentality "Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die" (1 Corinthians 15:32) and life would be so carefree.

Or would it?  We see the folly of the wicked person's thinking in verse 13.  "The Lord laughs at the wicked for he sees that his day is coming".  As believers, we are living for a Day and that day is not today.  The Day we live for is the day when God will look at our life and determine our rewards based on our faithfulness in this life.  And if our faithfulness in this life necessitates hardship (as the Bible almost certainly guarantees it will) then all the more reason to look forward to that Day and not worry about today.  We may have few carefree days in this mist of a life, but in our eternal life, every day will be carefree.

Another important question about this theme.  Why not fret ourselves?  Because it tends only to evil (v. 8).  If we are fretting about evildoers, we are probably sinfully judging them (believers are only to judge other believers, 1 Corinthians 5:12), lacking trust in God and keeping our minds from what is "true, noble, right, pure, lovely", etc (Phil. 4:8).

So what if we are fretting about evildoers?  What is the solution?

Repent of this sin.  Admit it before God, and thank him for already taking the punishment for it and forgiving you of it.  Ask him to fill you with his Spirit and to give you the ability to think only of what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8).  He delights to answer such a prayer.

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