Introduction: In his later years, David wrote this psalm to encourage others when they faced evil. Based upon God’s faithfulness in his life, David encouraged believers to respond to evil with: (1) trust, (2) patience, (3) humility, (4) faith, (5) love, (6) obedience, and (7) perseverance.
First, in the face of evil attacks, David encouraged believers to place their trust in God. When you encounter evil, God also wants you to place your trust in Him. Second, in the face of evil, David exhorted believers to be patient for God to act in His own timing. When you encounter evil, God also wants you to be patient for His timing. Third, in the face of evil people who boast about their feelings of self-importance, David encouraged believers with God’s promise that He rewards the humble. When you encounter evil, God also wants you to humble yourself before Him. Fourth, even though evil may at times seem to prevail, David encouraged believers to have faith that God is in control. When you encounter evil, God also wants you to have faith that He is sovereign and in control. Fifth, in the face of evil, David encouraged believers to respond by loving others in need. When you encounter evil, God also wants you to respond by loving others. Sixth, in response to the evil around them, David encouraged believers to obey God’s laws of morality. When you encounter evil, God also wants you to be obedient to His Word. This includes following His standards of right and wrong. Finally, David encouraged believers to persevere for God. In the face of ongoing evil, God also wants you to persevere in your faith.
1. Trust: When You Encounter Evil, Place Your Trust in God. Ps. 37:1-6.
David encouraged believers to trust God when attacked. Having repeatedly witnessed God’s faithfulness, David urged believers to trust God and never fear or envy evil people: “A Psalm of David. 1 Do not get upset because of evildoers, do not be envious of wrongdoers. 2 For they will wither quickly like the grass, and decay like the green plants. 3 Trust in the Lord and do good; live in the land and cultivate faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it. 6 He will bring out your righteousness as the light, and your judgment as the noonday.” (Ps. 37:1-6). Although evil may at times seem to prosper, David stated that evil will “wither quickly like the grass.” (Ps. 37:2). In contrast, those who trust in the Lord will enjoy His blessings and delights.
Don’t envy evil people. David warned against being “envious of wrongdoers.” (Ps. 37:1). Solomon gave the same warning: “Do not be envious of evil people, nor desire to be with them; . . . Do not get upset because of evildoers or be envious of the wicked;” (Prov. 24:19). Hollywood and social media can make people who reject God’s standards of morality appear glamorous and successful. But you should never envy them. The joy that they feel from sin will quickly fade (Ps. 37:2). “For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so also the rich person, in the midst of his pursuits, will die out.” (Jam. 1:11).
When you face evil, trust God and do not lean on your own understanding. As a person of faith, David learned to place his trust in God and seek to do His will: “Trust in the Lord and do good; live in the land and cultivate faithfulness.” (Ps. 37:3). God also wants you to trust in Him and not to lean on your own understanding: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil.” (Prov. 3:5-7; 28:26; Ps. 62:8). God freely gives wisdom when you ask for it: “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (Jam. 1:5). “For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (Prov. 2:6). “Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, and in secret You will make wisdom known to me.” (Ps. 51:6). But many view the wisdom of God’s Word as a foolish waste of time. “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Cor. 1:18; 1 Cor. 2:14). If you reject God’s wisdom and instead rely upon your own understanding the result is frequently disastrous: “There is a way which seems right to a person, but its end is the way of death.” (Prov. 14:12; 16:25). In an evil world, place your trust in God.
Delight yourself on God’s will for your life. If you want what is God’s will for you, you will never be disappointed: “Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Ps. 37:4). “You have given him his heart’s desire, and You have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah” (Ps. 21:2). As one commentator observes: “This is a wonderful and even safe promise. The one who truly delights in the LORD will find his heart and desires changed, steadily aligning with God’s own good desires for his life. Thus we see that finding delight in God is a key to a happy, satisfied life. This shows that God intends to fulfill the heart desires of the redeemed man or woman of God. To be sure, it is possible for such desires to be clouded by sin or selfishness; yet even when so clouded there is almost always a godly root to the desire that is entirely in the will of God. The man or woman of God should find his or her rest in this, and leave aside worry and envy. . . The principle of Psalm 37:4 is the foundation for a principle sometimes called Christian Hedonism. Normally, we think of hedonism as the idolatry of pleasure. The term Christian Hedonism has been used to describe a righteous pursuit of satisfaction and pleasure, one that is rooted in a delighted focus upon God.” (David Guzik on Ps. 37) (emphasis original).2 Are your greatest delights in doing God’s will?
Seek God’s Kingdom first, and He will add everything else you need. If you seek God’s kingdom, His righteousness, and His wisdom, He also promises to provide for your needs: “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matt. 6:33). “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (Jo. 15:7). “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matt. 5:6). “Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Ps. 37:4). If you diligently seek Him, you will also find Him: “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jer. 29:13). “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Matt. 7:7-8). Are you prioritizing first your relationship with God, and trusting Him to provide for you?
David learned to trust God to direct and guide him. Because David knew that he would have chosen a path leading to his destruction, he praised God for guiding his every step: “5 Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it.” (Ps. 37:5). “My steps have held to Your paths. My feet have not slipped.” (Ps. 17:5). “LORD, lead me in Your righteousness because of my enemies; make Your way straight before me.” (Ps. 5:8). “Establish my footsteps in Your word, and do not let any wrongdoing have power over me.” (Ps. 119:133). Solomon made a similar prayer: “then hear in heaven and forgive the sin of Your servants and Your people Israel; indeed, teach them the good way in which they are to walk. And provide rain on Your land, which You have given to Your people as an inheritance.” (1 Kgs. 8:36). Trusting in your own wisdom frequently leads to disaster. But those who trust in God will be blessed: “He will bring out your righteousness as the light, and your judgment as the noonday.” (Ps. 37:6). Are you praying every day for God to guide your steps to fulfill His will and not your own?
2. Patience: When You Encounter Evil, Be Patient For God’s Timing. Ps. 37:7-10.
David encouraged believers to be patient for God’s timing in the face of evil. Based upon his own trials in the wilderness, David urged believers to be patient for God: “7Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not get upset because of one who is successful in his way, because of the person who carries out wicked schemes. 8 Cease from anger and abandon wrath; do not get upset; it leads only to evildoing. 9 For evildoers will be eliminated, but those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land. 10 Yet a little while and the wicked person will be no more; and you will look carefully for his place and he will not be there.” (Ps. 37:7-10). David had to endure people who doubted and questioned him throughout his entire life. In the end, God was always faithful to keep His promises to David. But David frequently had to learn to wait for God’s timing.
Be patient for God’s timing. From his trials, David learned to wait on God’s timing: “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not get upset because of one who is successful in his way, because of the person who carries out wicked schemes.” (Ps. 37:7). “A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me and heard my cry.” (Ps. 40:1). “Wait for the LORD; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the LORD.” (Ps. 27:14; 25:3, 21). Any victory that Satan wins is temporary. God therefore wants you to have faith in His timing: “You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.” (Jam. 5:8). “By your endurance you will gain your lives.” (Lk. 21:19). Do you trust in God’s timing?
Even when evil appears to win, trust in God’s timing. Even when it might appear foolish to do so, God wants you to place your trust in His timing. “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Cor. 1:18; 2:14). You must trust Him even when all seems lost: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil.” (Prov. 3:5-7; 28:26; Ps. 62:8; Is. 26:4).
Leave vengeance to God. David promised that “evildoers will be eliminated.” (Ps. 37:9-10). Solomon also proclaimed: “For there will be no future for the evil person; the lamp of the wicked will be put out.” (Prov. 24:20). “The light of the righteous rejoices, but the lamp of the wicked goes out.” (Prov. 13:9). But God will do so in His timing to give sinners every chance to repent and turn back to Him. Thus, David warned believers not to be vengeful: “Cease from anger and abandon wrath; do not get upset; it leads only to evildoing.” (Ps. 37:8). “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written: ‘vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.” (Ro. 12:19; Dt. 32:35). “All bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and slander must be removed from you, along with all malice.” (Eph. 4:31). God is just and fair. But the time of final judgment of sin is up to Him. Thus, even when evil is rampant, be patient for God to act.
3. Humility: When You Encounter Evil, Humble Yourself Before God. Ps. 37:11-16.
David encouraged believers to humble themselves before God. Based on his own encounters with boastful men, David encouraged others that God will bless the humble: “11 But the humble will inherit the land and will delight themselves in abundant prosperity. 12 The wicked plots against the righteous, and gnashes at him with his teeth. 13 The Lord laughs at him, for He sees that his day is coming. 14 The wicked have drawn the sword and bent their bow to take down the afflicted and the needy, to kill off those who are upright in conduct. 15 Their sword will enter their own heart, and their bows will be broken. 16 Better is the little of the righteous than the abundance of many wicked.” (Ps. 37:11-16). Pride always brings a desire to glorify oneself. Society encourages such boastful behavior. But God wants you to humble yourself before Him. David’s psalm was so important that Jesus quoted him on the Sermon on the mount.
Humble yourself so that God can also exalt you without pride. God wants you to be humble so that He can exalt you in heaven without any pride. David promised: “11 But the humble will inherit the land and will delight themselves in abundant prosperity. . . Better is the little of the righteous than the abundance of many wicked.” (Ps. 37:11, 16). Jesus later quoted from David: “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matt. 5:5 KJV). “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” (Matt. 23:12; Lk. 14:11; 18:14). “He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted those who were humble.” (Lk. 1:52). “A man’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor.” (Prov. 29:23). “‘God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”’ (Jam. 4:6(b)). “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” (Ja. 4:10). “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,” (1 Pet. 5:6). Your suffering is one way for God to humble you. Are you staying humble so that He can later exalt you without pride?
Greater is He who is in you than the ruler of this world. Satan is prideful and seeks to rule over all (Is. 14:12-17). His power can seem scary at first. The wicked “gnashes at him with his teeth.” (Ps. 37:12). But God has judged the devil (Rev. 20:10). Thus, “the Lord laughs at” the wicked and boastful (Ps. 37:13). Jesus quoted from this psalm to state that the wicked will one day “gnash” their teeth in outer darkness when they are separated from God: “but the sons of the kingdom will be thrown out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matt. 8:12). You therefore do not need to fear the devil or boastful people. “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” (1 Jo. 4:4). “I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father.’ (1 Jo. 2:13).
If a nation humbles itself before God, He will deliver it. God also promises to deliver any nation that humbles itself before Him: “and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chr. 7:14). It is the role of the Church to pray and be His salt and light in leading the nation to repent. Is your church fasting and praying for your nation to return to God in humility?
4. Faith: When You Encounter Evil, Have Faith in God’s Sovereignty. Ps. 37:17-24.
David encouraged believers to have faith. Based upon the times in his life when things felt hopeless, David urged believers to have faith that God is sovereign and in control: “17 For the arms of the wicked will be broken, but the Lord sustains the righteous. 18 The Lord knows the days of the blameless, and their inheritance will be forever. 19 They will not be ashamed in the time of evil, and in the days of famine they will have plenty. 20 But the wicked will perish; and the enemies of the Lord will be like the glory of the pastures, they vanish—like smoke they vanish away. 21 The wicked borrows and does not pay back, but the righteous is gracious and gives. 22 For those blessed by Him will inherit the land, but those cursed by Him will be eliminated. 23 The steps of a man are established by the Lord, and He delights in his way. 24 When he falls, he will not be hurled down, because the Lord is the One who holds his hand.” (Ps. 37:17-24). David praised God because He will shame and destroy the wicked (Ps. 37:17-20). God controls time, and He has preordained the destiny of every believer to sustain and bless them (Ps. 37:17, 23).
Trust that God is sovereign and in control. David promised that “The Lord knows the days of the blameless . . . The steps of a man are established by the Lord, and He delights in his way.” (Ps. 37:18, 23). “He watches over the feet of His godly ones, . . .” (1 Sam. 2:9). “He predestined us to adoption as sons and daughters through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,” (Eph. 1:5). This does not mean that we are without free will. Instead, Jesus is outside of time and knows in advance who will ultimately accept Him as Lord and Savior. Even when evil seems to temporarily prevail, God wants you to trust that He is in control.
God uses His control over all things to work together for His good. God’s plans are frequently beyond our limited comprehension: “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Is. 55:9). “For who has known the mind of the LORD, or who became His counselor?” (Ro. 11:34). Yet, even when you lack the ability to understand the reasons for a trial or why God allows evil to happen, God wants you to have faith that He has a greater plan for you: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Ro. 8:28). When evil seems to be everywhere, do you still trust that God has a greater plan for you?
Put your trust in God, even when His plans are unknown. Even when it seems that evil is prevailing, God wants you to trust that He is in control and has a greater plan for good: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” (Prov. 3:5). “Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Pet. 5:7). “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” (1 Cor. 16:13). “Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the LORD.” (Ps. 31:24). “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” (Dt. 31:6). Even if an evil person tries to kill you, your soul remains protected with Jesus: “I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do.” (Lk. 12:4). The only person that you are to fear is God (Prov. 1:7). And the fear of the Lord is hating evil (Prov. 8:12). Even when evil seems to prevail, do you trust God?
God is faithful. Also as our example, Moses celebrated God’s faithfulness: “Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments;” (Dt. 7:9). “ . . . I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, . . . showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” (Ex. 20:5-6). “and I will remember My covenant, . . .” (Gen. 9:15). Nehemiah, another prayer warrior, also praised God’s faithfulness when he prayed (Neh. 1:5). Do your prayers also praise God for His faithfulness?
Jesus is also faithful. As part of the triune God, Jesus is also faithful to keep His many promises to you: “God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Cor. 1:9). He is faithful, even when we are not: “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Tim. 2:13). This means that you can trust His many promises to you. Yet, you cannot have faith in His many promises if you don’t know them. How many of Jesus’ promises can you name?
5. Love: When You Encounter Evil, Respond By Loving Others. Ps. 37:25-26.
David encouraged believers to love others in need. Based upon God’s faithfulness throughout his life, David urged believers to always show love and help to those in need: “25 I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his descendants begging for bread. 26 All day long he is gracious and lends, and his descendants are a blessing.” (Ps. 37:25-26). In his later years, David did not dwell on his battle victories. He instead found the greatest joy from his acts of love and charity.
Be generous with others in need. Regarding the righteous person, David writes: “the righteous are gracious and giving. . . All day long he is gracious and lends, and his descendants are a blessing.” (Ps. 37:21, 26). God expects all believers to respond to His generosity by being generous to others: “If there is a poor person among you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother; but you shall fully open your hand to him, and generously lend him enough for his need in whatever he lacks.” (Dt. 15:7-8). “Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.” (Matt. 5:42). Do you give to those in need?
Be God’s hands and feet to those who are in need. In addition to financial help, God also calls upon believers to pursue His justice (Ps. 37:28): “Learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor, obtain justice for the orphan, plead for the widow’s case.” (Is. 1:17). “Vindicate the weak and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and destitute.” (Ps. 82:3). “This is what the LORD says: ‘Do justice and righteousness, and save one who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor. And do not mistreat or do violence to the stranger, the orphan, or the widow; and do not shed innocent blood in this place.”’ (Jer. 22:3). “May he vindicate the afflicted of the people, save the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor.” (Ps. 72:4). “The righteous is concerned for the rights of the poor; the wicked does not understand such concern.” (Prov. 29:7). This is also part of the definition of true religion: “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (Jam. 1:27). Are you advocating for the oppressed and those in need?
Your love for others should be the fruit of your faith. Your faith should always be expressed through God’s love: “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.” (Gal. 5:6). Love is the greatest gift and the most powerful expression of your faith: “But now faith, hope, and love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor. 13:13). Thus, in your prayer life and in every other aspect of your life, you should be motivated out of love for the plight of others: “I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (Jo. 13:34). Is there love in your heart for the needy, the oppressed, and those who do not know Jesus?
Without love, your faith is not rooted in God. If you are unmoved by others in need, the Bible asks: “how does the love of God remain in him?” (1 Jo. 3:17; Jam. 2:16; Dt. 15:7). Are you showing your appreciation for God’s love by helping another person in need?
6. Obedience: When You Encounter Evil, Be Obedient to God’s Word. Ps. 37:27-33.
David encouraged believers to be obedient to God’s Law. Based upon the sorrow in his own life that came from sin, David urged believers to obey and follow God’s Law: “27 Turn from evil and do good, so that you will dwell forever. 28 For the Lord loves justice and does not abandon His godly ones; they are protected forever, but the descendants of the wicked will be eliminated. 29 The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever. 30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice. 31 The Law of his God is in his heart; His steps do not slip. 32 The wicked spies upon the righteous and seeks to kill him. 33 The Lord will not leave him in his hand or let him be condemned when he is judged.” (Ps. 37:27-33). Without evidence of obedience to God’s Word, your faith is “dead” before Him (James 2:14-26).
Obey God by rejecting what He calls evil. Based upon his own mistakes, David urged believers to: “27 Turn from evil and do good,” (Ps. 37:27). “Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” (Ps. 34:14). “Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does what is good is of God; the one who does what is evil has not seen God.” (3 Jo. 1:11). This includes rejecting what God calls evil in the Bible. Following what society defines as good and evil or following what feels right in your heart is a direct rejection of God’s Word: “You shall not do at all what we are doing here today, everyone doing whatever is right in his own eyes;” (Dt. 12:8). “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Jdgs. 17:6; 21:25).
The Holy Spirit writes God’s law on your heart. Regarding the righteous, David writes that: “31 The Law of his God is in his heart; His steps do not slip.” Moses commanded the people to memorize God’s law to keep it in their hearts: “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.” (Dt. 6:6). Thus, David memorized God’s law: “I delight to do Your will, my God; Your Law is within my heart.” (Ps. 40:8). “I have treasured Your word in my heart, so that I may not sin against You.” (Ps. 119:11). While God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses on stone tablets, He promised to one day write His Law on the hearts of believers: “For this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD: ‘I will put My law within them and write it on their heart; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”’ (Jer. 31:33). The Holy Spirit later fulfilled this promise by writing the Law on the heart of every believer in Jesus Christ to guide them: “revealing yourselves, that you are a letter of Christ, delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” (2 Cor. 3:3). God wrote His law and His standards of morality on your heart to protect you from sin.
Jesus also wants your complete obedience and submission. Jesus’ death was a one-time sacrifice that forever fulfilled the need for sacrifices for sin (Heb. 10:14). But God still tells believers to be obedient (e.g., Dt. 6:3-4; 9:1; 20:3; Josh. 1:7). Today, you are no longer “under the Law” in the sense that you must comply with it to be saved (Gal. 5:18; Ro. 7:6; 8:3). By “fulfilling” the Law, Jesus freed believers from the impossible task of trying to obtain salvation through the Law (Matt. 5:17). But Jesus also says that if you love Him you will keep His Commandments: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (Jo. 14:15, 21; 15:10; 1 Jo. 5:3; 2 Jo. 1:6). Before God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses at Mount Horeb, He revealed His name to be the great “I AM” (Ex. 3:13-15). Jesus later revealed that He was the great “I AM.” (Jo. 8:57-58). Thus, Jesus gave the Ten Commandments to Moses at Mount Horeb. Whether you follow His Commandments out of love is also a test for whether you really know Him (1 John 2:3; 1 Cor. 7:19). Do you follow His Commandments out of love and not obligation?
Obedience is the fruit of your faith. According to the Apostle Paul, you are a slave to whatever you serve: “[Y]ou are slaves of the one whom you obey . . ” (Ro. 6:16(b); Gal. 4:7-9). Jesus’ “disciples” were the “disciplined ones” in keeping His Commandments. As bondservants or freed slaves, they were obedient out of love, not obligation. Whether you follow Jesus and His Commandments out of love instead of obligation is a test for whether you really know God (1 John 2:3). Satan has placed your flesh at war with God’s Spirit (Gal. 5:19; 1 Tim. 1:10). In the end, you must pick which you will serve: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other.” (Matt. 6:24). Are you trying to serve two masters? Or, are you being obedient to God?
Even when you fail in your obedience, God will never abandon you. Believers frequently make vows of obedience but then fail to follow through on their vows. Thankfully, because He loves you, He will not abandon you because of your sins: “For the LORD loves justice and does not abandon His godly ones; they are protected forever, but the descendants of the wicked will be eliminated.” (Ps. 37:28). The Psalms are filled with similar promises of God’s love for you: “Love the LORD, all His godly ones! The LORD watches over the faithful but fully repays the one who acts arrogantly.” (Ps. 31:23). Thus, you should give thanks that God is filled with grace when you fail Him.
7. Perseverance: When You Encounter Evil, Persevere For God. Ps. 37:34-40.
David encouraged believers to persevere in their faith. Finally, based upon the lessons from his many ongoing trials, David urged believers to persevere in their walk with God: “34 Wait for the Lord and keep His way, and He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are eliminated, you will see it. 35 I have seen a wicked, violent person spreading himself like a luxuriant tree in its native soil. 36 Then he passed away, and behold, he was no more; I searched for him, but he could not be found. 37 Observe the blameless person, and look at the upright; for the person of peace will have a future. 38 But wrongdoers will altogether be destroyed; the future of the wicked will be eliminated. 39 But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in time of trouble. 40 The Lord helps them and rescues them; He rescues them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in Him.” (Ps. 37:34-40). Throughout this psalm, David repeated the same theme. Those who reject God will one day perish. But those who trust and persevere in God will enjoy His full blessings.
While the wicked will perish, those who persevere in their faith will be blessed. David saw many evil people prosper (Ps. 37:35). But the wicked only enjoyed passing success before they ultimately faced ruin as a result of their rebellion against God (Ps. 37:35, 38). In contrast, God will bless those who persevere in their faith (Ps. 37:39-40). In this psalm, David promised five times an inheritance for all who wait on God (Ps. 37:4). This includes the promise of deliverance: “The Lord helps them and rescues them; He rescues them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in Him.” (Ps. 37:40). For any believer in Jesus, this also includes an eternal inheritance in heaven: “But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;” (Ps. 37:39.) “A Psalm of David. My soul waits in silence for God alone; from Him comes my salvation.” (Ps. 62:1; Jo. 3:16). “Salvation belongs to the LORD; may Your blessing be upon Your people! Selah” (Ps. 3:8). The devil will frequently make you feel unworthy of God’s promises. But God wants you to have faith in Him and put your hope in His promises: “Wait in obedience as a servant, in hope as an heir, in expectation as a believer.” (Charles Spurgeon on Ps. 37).
Let God use your trials to build perseverance and draw you closer to Him. God likely allowed David to suffer through many trials so that he would have a deeper faith in Him. Your trials should also produce perseverance and build up your faith: “And not only this, but we also celebrate in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;” (Ro. 5:3). Paul was persecuted and thrown in jail. But he encouraged believers that faith should include “rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer,” (Ro. 12:12). “Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” (Jam. 1:2-3; 2 Cor. 1:8-10). Are you trusting Jesus to protect you during your trials?