Many years ago in a time of great inner turmoil, God sent me a choir of angels to sing the words of Psalm 37:4 to me. It would be impossible to describe the perfection of their voices but the sound was the most soothingly deliciously comforting to my hungry heart that I have ever experienced. It was the one thing that quieted my soul and let me know that if I would continue to trust God that He would work it all out even though the future horizon looked hopeless to me. One minute despair was sweeping over me as I called out to God in anguish and the next minutes God’s response comforted me and quieted me giving me Hope. That’s God for you. That’s why we are to trust Him. And of course, my future turned out a lot better then it looked at that moment.
Today there are many in the Christian community who are struggling. Whether it is finances, jobs, interpersonal relationships, marriages, or a sense of personal hopelessness God is able to minister if we trust in Him and continue to do good. So that is what I want to talk to you about.
There are some key words and phrases in Psalm 37 :1-9
Trust in the Lord and do good
Delight yourself in the Lord
Trust in Him and He will act
Be still before the Lord
Wait patiently for Him
Those who wait shall inherit the land
TRUST IN THE LORD AND DO GOOD
We often think of trust as a separate issue from doing good or doing what we know we should be doing.. Yet, a little thought and we realize that if we trust God truly, then we are going to continue to trust His judgment on what is good to do and do it. This of course is different than not knowing what is the good thing to do. When we know what is right, then we need to do it and trust God for the outcome. Continuing is the point. Don’t stop doing good and try something else out. Continue doing what we know to be right and we will find some peace therein.
In Hebrew this comes out a bit deeper. Graze or nourish yourself on faithfulness. It’s not something an English speaker will usually think of. However, according to King David remaining faithful is something that will nourish our souls. We too often think of faithfulness as a duty or chore and do not consider that our faithfulness will produce life-giving nourishment for us. There is a return on it.
DELIGHT YOURSELF IN THE LORD
These are the words from vs 4 that still ring in my heart when I see trouble brewing. In Hebrew it is something like, enjoy deliciousness in Yahweh or rely upon Yahweh for your enjoyment. When times are troubling that is when more than ever we should run to the Lord and strive to enter into His presence. More trouble. More prayer. I do not believe that David used the word translated ‘delight’ facetiously. To be touched by God’s presence is more than thrilling, more than satisfying or gratifying. It is life giving.
TRUST IN HIM AND HE WILL ACT
While we are being faithful, continuing to do good and delighting in our frequent conversations with the Lord, we should know that God is not short armed. He will act on our behalf. We need to believe this. He may not act in our timing but God will do what is necessary in the right timing, for the Lord loves justice.
BE STILL BEFORE THE LORD
The being still here is one of resting. We are to quiet our fears and rest our hearts knowing that we can trust God with our lives. This theme continues on with not fretting over the one who prospers (while we aren’t) or over the successful evil-doers . We must refrain from anger and forsake wrath; in other words quiet our inner turmoil.
WAIT PATIENTLY FOR HIM
No matter what we do in life there is a space between taking action and the results forthcoming. Some times are shorter than others. Hitting a ball makes it move immediately. Baking bread takes time. Influencing lives takes the most time of all. When we take refuge in the Lord, it will require a trusting patience. Paul tells Timothy in 1 Tim. 6:11 to “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness” and to fight the good fight of faith.
THOSE WHO WAIT FOR THE LORD SHALL INHERIT THE LAND
Throughout the Scriptures God gives promises to those who will trust in Him and wait for Him. While we are waiting, believing that God will act, we must do good works because we trust God. Those who put their trust in God will not be disappointed. That is something that we can count upon. Life in this world is not a surety. But God is a surety.
There are those who complain that God has not visited them in any special way. My experience is that those who visit God frequently and do as He bids them with a faithful trusting heart, will experience God’s presence in some way. God actually influences our lives in ways we are not aware of much more than we realize. The more we trust God rather than the ways of the world, the more we will realize God's presence and workings in our lives. So, we need to check ourselves and see that we are standing in the way of the Lord and not in the ways of the world. For the ways of the world will not produce the goodnesses of the Lord. The Holy Spirit cannot join hands with the unfruitful works of the world and must draw back. So, we must put off the unfruitful works of darkness, put on Christ, stand in the light and delight ourselves in the Lord. Then we can wait patiently for Yahweh to take action on our behalf.