Psalms 37:1-6 ESV
“Fret not yourself because of evildoers;
be not envious of wrongdoers!
For they will soon fade like the grass
and wither like the green herb.
“Trust in the Lord, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
“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.”
As long as evil exists so will we have people who make evil their way of life. None of us are completely immune to sin, mind you (1 Jn 2:1-2). We are all a work in progress if we are allowing the Lord Jesus to do his work in our hearts and lives. But some people plot evil against others in practice.
We are not to fear those who do evil, even if that evil is directed at us, for God is in control. We are to reject all fearful thoughts, and we are to place our trust fully in God, delighting ourselves in him. His desires will then be our desires, and so he will give us the desires of our hearts. And we are to continue to do the good that he has called us to do.
Evildoers will come against those of us who are walking in righteousness because they hate the light, and thus they refuse to come into the light because their deeds are evil and they don’t want them exposed. And God has not promised us that we will not be hated or persecuted. We will!
So, we must commit our way to the Lord, and we must trust him with our circumstances and with the evildoers. God is fully sovereign over all that he has made, so whatever happens to us he has allowed for a purpose, and so we must rest in him and trust him to work it all out for our good.
Psalms 37:7-11 ESV
“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!
“Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
For the evildoers shall be cut off,
but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.
“In just a little while, the wicked will be no more;
though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.
But the meek shall inherit the land
and delight themselves in abundant peace.”
Satan is not only going to attack us through evildoers, but he is going to try to make us afraid, too. And he is going to try to get us to worry about what those evildoers might do against us. So, we must reject those thoughts and we must be still before the Lord and wait on him to act.
Yes, God does allow evil to exist, and yes, he allows evil people to do evil to other people, but we can’t let them get to us. We can’t let them upset us to the point of anger or revenge, especially. We must guard our hearts and our tongues against all evil.
Sadly, the truth is that those who practice evil, who make sin their habit, they will one day die in their sins without hope of eternal life with God. They will spend eternity in eternal torment. And that breaks my heart that so many people who know better turn to evil knowing what their end will be.
Psalms 37:12-15 ESV
“The wicked plots against the righteous
and gnashes his teeth at him,
but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
for he sees that his day is coming.
“The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows
to bring down the poor and needy,
to slay those whose way is upright;
their sword shall enter their own heart,
and their bows shall be broken.”
Who are the righteous? They aren’t those who merely profess faith in Jesus Christ. They are those who are living righteously by God’s Spirit via submission and obedience to the Lord and to his commands (New Covenant). (1 John 1:5-9; 1 John 2:3-6; 1 John 3:7-9)
And who are those who are saved from their sins and who have eternal life with God?
They are not those who merely profess faith in Jesus Christ. They are those who walk (in practice) NOT according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. They have died and they are dying (in process) with Christ to sin, and they are living to Christ and to his righteousness by the power of God’s Spirit at work within them.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24]
When the Scriptures speak of the righteous vs. the wicked, they are talking about those who practice righteousness vs. those who make wickedness their practice. And when it comes to salvation from sin and eternal life with God vs. damnation and eternity in hell, the same is true.
If we live to sin we will die in our sins. But if we live to righteousness, in the power of God’s Spirit, we will have eternal life with God (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; 1 Co 6:9-10; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8).
So, although the wicked may have success in their own eyes in this life in doing evil to others, they will reap what they sow. And even though the righteous may be betrayed, forsaken, forgotten, thought as evil and accused falsely in this life, they will receive their rewards in heaven one day.
Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken
Hymn lyrics by Henry F. Lyte, 1833
Music attr. to Mozart, 1831/ Arr. Hubert P. Main, 1872
Jesus, I my cross have taken, all to leave and follow Thee;
Destitute, despised, forsaken, Thou from hence my all shall be.
Perish every fond ambition, all I’ve sought or hoped or known;
Yet how rich is my condition! God and heav’n are still mine own.
Let the world despise and leave me, they have left my Savior, too;
Human hearts and looks deceive me; Thou art not, like them, untrue.
And while Thou shalt smile upon me, God of wisdom, love and might,
Foes may hate and friends disown me, show Thy face and all is bright.
Go, then, earthly fame and treasure! Come, disaster, scorn and pain!
In Thy service pain is pleasure; with Thy favor, loss is gain.
I have called Thee, “Abba, Father”; I have set my heart on Thee:
Storms may howl, and clouds may gather, all must work for good to me.
Man may trouble and distress me, ’twill but drive me to Thy breast;
Life with trials hard may press me; heav’n will bring me sweeter rest.
Oh, ’tis not in grief to harm me, while Thy love is left to me;
Oh, ’twere not in joy to charm me, were that joy unmixed with Thee.
Haste then on from grace to glory, armed by faith, and winged by prayer,
Heav’n’s eternal day’s before thee, God’s own hand shall guide thee there.
Soon shall close thy earthly mission, swift shall pass thy pilgrim days;
Hope soon change to glad fruition, faith to sight, and prayer to praise.
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