• Jonathan Parnell

How to Live in This World (Psalm 37:5-8)

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. 6He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. [7Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! 8Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.] -Psalm 37:5–8

Psalm 37 is about life in this world.

Considered as a whole, this psalm is more about the faithfulness of God than anything else. God is the central character here — the one who laughs at the wicked because he sees their day coming (verse 13), the one who upholds the righteous (verse 17), the one who is generous and gives (verse 21), the one who establishes the steps of his people (verse 23) and doesn’t forsake his own (verse 25).

What we find in verses 3–8 is how we’re supposed to live in light of a faithful, sovereign God. Last week we saw the command for joy. This week we see the call to faith:

Commit your way to the Lord;trust in him…Be still before the Lord andwait patiently for him;fret not yourself…restrain from anger, andforsake wrath!Fret not yourself…

I like the idea of jotting these verbs down on an index card and drilling them into our minds. After all, this is how we should live. But the most glorious truth here — the life-changing truth — is not what we do, but who God is.

The reality behind these verbs is that no one else in the universe can call us to this kind of life. No one else can tell us to trust him like this, to commit our way to him like this, to wait on him patiently like this. The Lord God is the only one who can talk this way. He is the only one who is strong enough and good enough to deliver on his every promise.

And we know this about him because of the cross.

Jesus stepped into this world as the long-awaited Messiah. All of God’s promises find their “Yes!” in him. The steadfast love of God finds its masterpiece in his work. Jesus was utterly perfect, righteous, good — but he went to the cross condemned. He suffered in the place of sinners like you and me. He absorbed the punishment we deserved for our utter depravity, unrighteousness, evil. He died. He was buried. Then on the third day he was raised from the dead in victory. God has shown us his love.

He is the God so righteous that every sin must be punished; and yet he is the God so gracious that Jesus became our sacrifice. We see that the God who is strong enough to do whatever he wants (Psalm 135:6) is the God who is good enough not to spare his own Son but give him up for us all (Romans 8:32).

This is our God. So you can commit your way to him. You can trust him. You can be still and wait patiently for a God like this. You don’t have to fret. You don’t need to be anger. Do you see who he is? Do you see his power and love? He will not let you down.

For Reflection

1. Which action in verses 3–8 do you personally have the hardest time doing? 2. Whatever that action is, what truth about God provides a foundation for why you can do it? 3. Reflect on instances in your life that testify to God’s faithfulness.

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