Psalm 37 has a lot of similarities to the wisdom literature in the bible, like Proverbs. It contrasts the apparent prosperity of the wicked to the faithful persevering in the Lord. Underneath this theme, there are five commands that are given to people of God, to follow. They are principles of faith to live by when we feel like questioning the faithfulness of God.
- Don’t be anxious :
The first command is to not “fret”. It means not be anxious of circumstances. Being a Christian means that we will face trials, life will be hard and sometimes it will seems that other people have it easy and being a Christian seems to have no obvious benefit. In this context, the Psalmist tells us not to be envious of evil men who seem to prosper without God.
- Trust in the Lord:
As a follow up on the command to not be anxious the Psalmist expounds that the right response to anxiety is to trust the wisdom of God. Though we cannot always see the goodness and judgement of God, we can be rest assured that God works through our trials and tribulations for out joy and His glory. Though it seems that Godless people might be prospering in the end they will wither away and come to nothing.
- Delight in the Lord:
Almost as a step by step process from anxiety to joy, the Psalmist asks us to delight in the Lord. The word “delight” means ‘to have or take great pleasure; to be greatly pleased or rejoiced’. As we trust God with our situations and circumstances we can rejoice in the and take joy in the fact that God is in control. We find our joy in Christ.
The Psalmist also says that as we delight in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart. This means that as we learn to delight in Him, our desires and wants are changes more and more to reflect God’s will and righteousness. And as our heart desires the right things, our Heavenly Father grants them to us.
- Commit your ways to the Lord:
Sometimes when circumstances turn bad its easy to act according to our flesh and do things that we wouldn’t otherwise do. Here the Psalmist urges us to commit our ways to the Lord in all circumstances and to trust in Him to act. He will bring forth the truth even when we are falsely accused and reviled because we refuse to bow down to a lie.
- Be still and patient:
Even though we have all these precious promises from God, it doesn’t always seem to work on time. But God works according to His timing, which is always perfect. Therefore we are commanded to be still and patient before the Lord. We are therefore called to wait before God because in the end we will always be saved and delivered from all our troubles.