Advice for Today – Rest in the Lord

Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him:

fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way,

because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.

Cease from anger, and forsake wrath:

fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.

For evildoers shall be cut off:

but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.

Psalm 37: 7-9

In the last few posts we have been gleaning advice from Psalm 37 to help us navigate the treacherous days in which we live.  As mentioned in the first post in this series, the Reese Chronological Bible places this psalm during another treacherous time – the transition of power from  David to Solomon.  There was a lot of palace intrigue, uncertainty, and strife in those days. This psalm was written to teach us and can give sound advice on how to live as Christians during these perilous times. 

In Psalm 37: 1-6 we have already seen we should not fret, but continue to trust in the Lord, do good, and commit our way to the Lord. But what if we do all these things and the evildoers still succeed in their plans? What if things get worse, and not better?  These steps came with promises of being “fed”and our righteousness “breaking forth as the light.” What if these things don’t happen when, or in the way, we think they should? What should we do?

That is where the advice from verses 7-9 comes in.  Here are those verses from the Amplified Bible:

Be still before the LORD; wait patiently for Him and entrust yourself to Him;

Do not fret (whine, agonize) because of him who prospers in his way,

Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.

Cease from anger  and abandon wrath;

Do not fret; it leads only to evil.

What are we to do ?  Are we to step it up and take to the streets to pillage and burn?  Or should  we to just surrender and let our culture slide into a spiritual and cultural oblivion? Neither.  We are to be still, wait patiently for Him, trusting God to bring about the real change that our society so desperately needs.

The phrase “wait patiently for Him” is literally pregnant with meaning. Isaiah uses the Hebrew word for “patiently” to describe the pain a woman experiences in labor (Isaiah 13:8; 23:4; 26:17; 45:10; 51:2; 54:1; 66:7). It is also the word used to describe the agonizing way Saul died (“sore wounded” 1 Samuel 31:3; 1 Chronicles 10:3), and Esther’s shock and dismay when she heard of Haman’s edict against the Jews (Esther 4:4).  In other words,  this “waiting patiently” is not like waiting for a bus or relaxing like the man in the picture. It can be excruciating, grievous, and frightening. But in it we see hope.  After Saul died, David became king.  When Esther was grieved she fasted, prayed and God delivered the Jews, and after a woman gives birth her horrible pain brings forth a new life and all the joy that comes with it.

During this agonizing wait David reminds us – FRET NOT – stop being angry and to give up wrath, it always leads to more evil. This sounds a lot like Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount:

Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away

Matthew 5:38-42

Why should we act like this? Two reasons: First, because – as Psalm 37: 9,10 tells us –  those that do evil (including us) cannot succeed in the end.  Those who do evil, even to accomplish what they think is good, will be “cut off” – losing whatever influence they had.  Yes, we must prepare, make our voices heard, and take a stand – but we must do it in the right way and for the right reasons.

Second, (also quoted by Jesus on the mount) because the meek – the gentle, the ones who surrender their rights to God, who “rest in the Lord” –  will (eventually) inherit the earth (Psalm 37:11). In other words, we will win. Whatever we lose will be restored, many times over, either here or in the life to come (Matthew 19:27-30; Mark 10:29-31).

It is my fervent prayer evil will not triumph, but if it does for a time we can find sound wisdom in these words spoken from one ancient king to another. 

If you like this post – why not read the others in this series and recommend them to a friend?

Please feel free to comment and leave suggestions for future posts.

Thank-you for reading!

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