Trust in the LORD, and do good;
so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
Delight thyself also in the LORD;
and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
In my last post we looked at Psalm 37 as a guide to help us, as Christians, to shine in the midst of the mess we call Western culture today. The first couplet in this wisdom psalm tells us to “Fret not” – to not be jealous of, or enraged at, the evildoers. Although all they are doing to promote abortion, transgenderism, and racism makes us angry, we cannot allow that anger to cause us to sin or act rashly. They may hate us, but we must love them!
However there is more the psalmist, David, tells us. Let’s look at his words in the next two verses (vss. 3,4).
Trust in the Lord. In the psalms there are two Hebrew words that are translated as “trust.” One is the word hasa (Psalm 5:11; 7:1; 16:1). This refers to a place we would run to shelter ourselves when our lives were in imminent danger – as from an approaching tornado, or someone intent on killing us.
The word in Psalm 37:3 is the Hebrew word batah which Strong’s Concordance defines as “hasten to for refuge” – but not as hurriedly as hasa. In other words, the “batah trust” is like our house where we live every day which protects us from the elements like rain, snow and cold. On the other hand, “hasa trust” is more like a tornado or bomb shelter where we would flee when disaster strikes. The Lord is to be “where we live everyday” refuge – not just when calamity hits. This type of trust establishes, or fixes, our hearts – like the heart of the God-fearing man in Psalm 112:7.
As inflation mounts, political rancor increases, and “bad times” seem to be rushing down upon us, the Lord will need people through whom He can show His grace and power. Our trust in Him provides a stable platform from which we can look for opportunities to do good for others. As we hold back from “fretting,” trust in Him, and live generously, God assures us here we will be taken care of.
Delight yourself also in the Lord. These days it is easy to become distracted and distraught. All too often I find myself checking a news app before clicking on my Bible app in the morning! The enemy of our souls would love to divert our attention from the One who loves us with an everlasting love and squander it on a multitude of things we cannot control.
That is why it is vital that we intentionally delight ourselves in the Lord. What does it mean to “delight?” Once again, the Hebrew gives us some insight. The word translated “delight” is the Hebrew word anag, meaning soft and pliable. It tells us that, in the midst of all the distraction, we must keep so enthralled with Him that our hearts remain soft and pliable in His hands. Our relationship with Him must ALWAYS be our top priority.
You could say that the word “give” in Psalm 37:4 has a double meaning. As we keep our hearts pliable before the Lord, He shapes them so that His desires become our desires. As those same desires give rise to fervent prayer, He then grants our petitions. God gives our hearts His desires so He can grant those same desires.
In these troublesome days – which seem to get more troubled by the hour – it is vital, as Christians, to stick close to these words that David shared during his last days with Solomon. We need to be sure we trust in the Lord and abide in Him – just as Jesus instructed His disciples in John 15. This stabilizes our lives (see Psalm 125) so we are free to bear fruit by doing good for others during times of crises (doing good also keeps our eyes off of ourselves!) In the midst of all the screaming headlines we must intentionally delight ourselves in the Lord, keeping Him as the emotional focus of our lives and, in that way, allow Him to shape our hearts into hearts like His own. Doing these things will keep us shining bright during the dark times ahead.
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