Thursday, June 2, 2022

Wisdom For the Hard Places


By: Donna Bucher

Psalm 37 is a wisdom psalm; specifically it is a "Maschil" or teaching psalm designed to teach the people of God specific principles of God for righteous living. This psalm deals with the age old question of "why do the wicked prosper?" And the seeming injustices to the righteous. But the teaching goes deeper; applying to the weariness with our own wickedness, burdens of unresolved relational conflicts, chronic pain, illness, grief, disappointments, unanswered prayer and even the fatigue of relentless battling "the wicked one".

Consider the following nine imperatives contemplatively asking the Holy Spirit's guidance for understanding and application. Bring each area of your life representing struggle to Him and allow the light of the scripture to open your eyes with wisdom.


Fret Not

Psalm 37:1 begins with the instruction to "Fret Not", nor envy individuals choosing sinful ways and activities. When we see those who do not fear God prospering, without a care in the world, inwardly we fall prey to envy and complain about the inequality between the God fearing and the God rejecting. But God's wisdom reminds us in verse 2, the end of the wicked and all who forsake God; their prosperity is short-lived.


In Psalm 37:3, the Psalmist counsels the godly to trust in the LORD rather than our own wisdom or worldly pursuits. The implication here following on the heels of verses one and two, is avoiding the temptation of taking things into our own hands, providing our needs and desires.


Psalm 37:4 flows easily from verse three; addressing exactly where our delight rests; in God. If the LORD is our desire, then we have our heart's desire! God’s lovingkindness, mercy, and goodness toward us provide rest and solace.


Further instruction in wisdom meets us in Psalm 37:5, with the exhortation to commit our way to the LORD. Charles Spurgeon in his commentary on the Psalms, mentions the nuance of revelation here; that is, our revealing unto God our way, for His inspection and correction. The result promised by God for our obedience in verse 6 comes forth in the fruition of God's plans and purposes, no matter the opposition.


Arriving at Psalm 37:7, God recommends us to rest and quiet. As unsettling as disappointments, trials, suffering and relentless attacks from the evil one are for us, God's wisdom bids us cease from complaint and petition for a change in circumstances.


Knowing our frame and the frailty of our constitution, God mercifully calls us in Psalm 37:8 to cease from anger. Weariness with living a godly life, but experiencing continual setbacks, strife or trials while viewing the ungodly prospering can frustrate us to the point of anger. Anger at God, at unchanging circumstances, even at ourselves for perceived failures. Resulting in our tendency to "take matters into our own hands" in an effort to achieve our desired outcome.


The Psalmist spends verses 10-22 contrasting the ways of the wicked and the ways of a righteous man. Lingering in verses 23-26 upon God's limitless mercy in ordering the steps of the righteous, restoring the righteous when they fall, and providing every need of the righteous. Culminating in Psalm 37:27, beseeching us to depart from evil and do good, that we may dwell with God forever.


Again, the Psalmist contrasts the ways of the wicked and the ways of the righteous in verses 28-33, but this time details the LORD's ways with each. God comforts us to wait in verses 32-33 with the promise of His intervention even though the disappointments, trials, suffering and spiritual battles appear endless.


The psalmist makes a point of detailing the demise of the wicked even though they seem secure and flourishing in verses 35-36. Exuberantly encouraging us to mark, or watch the upright man who keeps God's ways, for unlike the wicked, his end is peace.

In The Hard Places

The wisdom of God when life is hard calls us to fret not, cease from anger, depart from evil, mark and imitate the godly man as he trusts, delights and rests in the LORD, committing his way to the LORD and waiting patiently on the LORD. In exchange, God promises to be our salvation, strength and deliverer in every hard place we encounter.

Find more encouragement and FREE Resources at Serenity in Suffering!


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1 comment:

  1. Love how you verse mapped Psalm 37, Donna. I love digging into the nooks a crannies of God's word with verse mapping. Thank you for helping me understand Psalm 37 better.


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