Heritage of the Righteous in an Era of Evil – Psalm 37

Trust…dwell…delight…rest…wait…give…inherit. Psalm 37 is striking in its repeated use of these seven little verbs. The psalm describes the heritage of the righteous during an era of evil. It promises an inheritance in God—even as the wicked prosper—obtained through trusting, dwelling, delighting, waiting and giving. It speaks with invigorating relevance to our time today.

In the natural realm, we see darkness enshrouding the earth in many respects. Global powers and principalities posit Israel in their crossfire of iniquity. Iran has rolled up its ancient sleeves, boasting about bombs that might blow us off the map. Its nuclear cache, by best estimates, is only months away. According to Israeli intelligence, chemical and biological weapons sit stockpiled nearby, readied for launch possibly later this year. Meanwhile, the world’s presumed most powerful leader, President Barak Obama, articulates Mideast policy changes that in effect threaten to undermine Israel’s existence.

Judgment is already at hand. With spiritual, moral, political, economic, and military upheaval upon us, can full-scale war be far off? And/or will “a man of peace” emerge on the scene before long? What do we, God’s people, do in the face of such circumstances? We fast and pray! We share the Gospel! We speak and proclaim truth and words of wisdom to our families, churches, political leaders, and anyone in our sphere of influence! We repent! But most important, we passionately obsess on Yeshua (Jesus) our Bridegroom King, the Just Judge of all the earth, Who is completely in control. Even if matters seem to get worse.

Fret Addiction?
As I have sought the Lord here in the Land, I find He is fire-branding Psalm 37 upon my heart. This potent passage of Scripture begins with a timely exhortation: “Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.” (Psalm 37:1-3, NKJV)

How tempting it can be to fret over news reports, finances, moral decay—and even, in our case, over sorrow for the salvation of the Jewish nation. Besides all the above, the everyday “little stuff” of life here is just plain hard in many ways. Of course, life anywhere is generally not easy for anyone who loves the Lord—for such a person is in the world, but not of it. So I trust you’ll be encouraged by some of the promises the Lord has recently opened to me from this ageless psalm. I believe it may facilitate heart preparation for soon coming judgment.

It must first be pointed out that Psalm 37 is sometimes misunderstood as promoting passivity. But that is not the point of this Scripture, nor of this message. In previous newsletters and emails, we have shared in detail how you can respond to Israel’s situation in prayer, boldly and aggressively in the political arena, and proactively at other levels. My book Israel’s Anointing (available by clicking here) is a vital tool for this purpose. We reaffirm that all such courses of action remain extremely important at this turning point of history.

At the same time, and in the above context, the Lord is simultaneously igniting Psalm 37—with its instructions to trust, delight, rest and patiently wait. I find Him making this Scripture an agent of change for my personal and ministry life. Even as we huddled in our bomb shelter last week in a nationwide military drill, and even as we listened to President Obama’s disconcerting Mideast agenda, Psalm 37 saturated my soul with promise for both Israel and the Church. I share just a few verses below, but encourage you to prayerfully soak in and study the entire chapter in upcoming days. If you’ve been tempted by the international fret addiction, this psalm offers a way out.

Trust: A Prophetic Act of Obedience
Workers of iniquity “shall soon be cut down like the grass and wither” (v.2). Many have long cried out for God to judge with justice, and surely He will. However, we as believers are not necessarily exempt from His judgments. Sin we should hate, but never the sinner. It is important to keep our hearts pure as we speak about, and pray for, global leaders. It does not take prophetic discernment to criticize nonChristian governmental authorities who do not follow biblical principles, or who set themselves against God’s purposes. It does take Messiah-like love to persevere in the kind of prayer, proclamation and proactivity that shifts realities in heaven and earth. God’s will is that all men and women be saved and come to the knowledge of Truth. Loveless condemnation of men and women who disappoint believers will do little, if anything, to bring them to Christ or stave off judgment.

Instead of fretting or castigating our leaders, we trust in the Lord, do good, dwell righteously in the land to which He’s called us, and feed on His faithfulness (v.3). In the Hebrew, to trust in the Lord implies physically leaning on Him in full confidence. Trusting the Lord pleases Him—and rewards us with His peace. But it also serves as a form of spiritual warfare. The response of trust in the face of evil deflates the enemy. Likewise, dwelling in the land and feeding on God’s faithfulness accesses and releases His heavenly realm upon that land. These are righteous, prophetic acts toward the fulfillment of our primary, Genesis mandate to subdue the earth.

Genuine trust frees us from our own, usually hidden expectations. It enables us to feed on divine faithfulness (v. 3), which is somewhat akin to partaking of communion. Nourished by that faithfulness we find peace, joy and sheer delight in intimacy with our Bridegroom King. And delighting in Him is, well, thoroughly delightful beyond compare! Lover that He is, He responds far beyond our imagination. He implants new desires in our hearts, changing us from the inside out. He gives us the very desires of His own divine heart (v.4). In other words, Psalm 37 offers a relatively easy route to death of self, that Messiah might live more fully in us.

Bringing it to Pass
“Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light and your justice as the noonday” (vv.5-6). Now, not a few injustices (admittedly, mostly minor) have befallen us since our move to this Land. Yet I have found the Lord perfectly faithful to His promise. When I am disappointed, if I trustingly commit (or if need be, recommit several times) my way to Him, He always brings the injustice to pass. His reward, when it comes, is not always what I expected. But it’s often far better, because it brings to me more of Him—or more aptly, it brings more of me to Him.

The Scripture goes on to say, “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him” (v.7). The Message version of the Bible succinctly puts it this way: “Quiet down.” Resting in the Lord and waiting patiently for Him can mean releasing even His cherished personal promises for our lives—as we understood them. Yet as we rest and wait patiently, He fulfills His promises and more—in this age and beyond. “Those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth” (v.9; see v.11). Resting and waiting is not passive resignation; it represents a quality of trust that engages us in the presence and peace of God: “The meek shall … delight themselves in the abundance of peace” (v.11). That peace is not as the world gives, but as He gives.

Riches of the Righteous
Verse 16 exhorts that “a little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked.” In other words, it is better for us to lose riches due to a faltering, ungodly world economy, and have only a little, if we are righteous before God. For some there may be a need to repent of covetousness or pride, however subtle, which may have played a part in former riches. Why? “Those blessed by Him shall inherit the earth” (v. 22). Our King blesses the righteous to the extent they literally inherit the earth. To a magnificent extent, this promise will come to pass for some during their sojourn in this age. To be sure, this spectacular promise will be fulfilled beyond our wildest dreams in the coming Messianic age. I urge you to patiently, trustingly wait on God and stay the course. It will be so worth it!

Some believers who have faithfully waited on the Lord are experiencing unprecedented blessing at this time. But if that is not now the case for you, and you’ve suffered financial or other setbacks in recent months, be encouraged. “Though [you] fall, [you] shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds [you] with His hand.” (v.24). He is allowing you to be refined in the fire of His love, reaping an eternal inheritance. Meanwhile, though times may be difficult, “the righteous shows mercy and gives” (v.21). Even if your resources have dwindled you can still give something. You can give God your heart, waiting trustingly for His deliverance. For when the enemy aims to overtake you, “the Lord will not leave [you] in his hand, nor condemn [you]. The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is [your] strength in the time of trouble. And the Lord shall help [you] and deliver [you]; He shall deliver [you] from the wicked, and save [you], because [you] trust in Him.” (vv. 32-33, 39-40)

Psalm 37 is chock-full of hope for us in 2009. May you receive grace the second half of this year—however circumstances unfold—to trust…dwell…delight… rest…wait…give…and inherit.