Bible Reading Blog — Psalm 37

19 Mar

We have made it a goal as a church this year to read through a chapter of the Bible each day, five days a week and then to preach the sermon on Sunday from something in those five chapters we read. Another aspect of the reading plan that has been encouraged but not talked about as much is journaling. Here we want to write down our thoughts about the Scripture passage we read as a way to remember. Journaling is a very helpful thing to do as you read through the Bible. I want to share with you my journal this week in the Psalms to give you an idea of what I am talking about. I will paste the Scripture for the day in the space below and share my journal entry at the bottom of the page. I am doing my journal in a Word document on my computer but you might use a physical journal with pen and paper just as well.  In a journal entry I am seeking to interact with the text and how it applies to my life and the lives around me and what it teaches me about God and His ways. It is pretty raw and I may be wrestling with issues in my journal that I haven’t fully resolved and that’s ok. Taking up this practice of journaling will allow you to see your thought patterns and your weak spots. So in addition to reading your Bible in 2018, I encourage you to journal. Here is my entry for today. I don’t give it to you as a perfect example or as something you should mimic, but just as a possible way you can use journaling to meditate over the things you read . . .

Psalm 37 

Fret not yourself because of evildoers;
    be not envious of wrongdoers!
For they will soon fade like the grass
    and wither like the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
    dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
    and your justice as the noonday.

Be 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!

Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
    Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
For the evildoers shall be cut off,
    but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.

10 In just a little while, the wicked will be no more;
    though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.
11 But the meek shall inherit the land
    and delight themselves in abundant peace.

12 The wicked plots against the righteous
    and gnashes his teeth at him,
13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
    for he sees that his day is coming.

14 The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows
    to bring down the poor and needy,
    to slay those whose way is upright;
15 their sword shall enter their own heart,
    and their bows shall be broken.

16 Better is the little that the righteous has
    than the abundance of many wicked.
17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,
    but the Lord upholds the righteous.

18 The Lord knows the days of the blameless,
    and their heritage will remain forever;
19 they are not put to shame in evil times;
    in the days of famine they have abundance.

20 But the wicked will perish;
    the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures;
    they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.

21 The wicked borrows but does not pay back,
    but the righteous is generous and gives;
22 for those blessed by the Lord shall inherit the land,
    but those cursed by him shall be cut off.

23 The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
    when he delights in his way;
24 though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,
    for the Lord upholds his hand.

25 I have been young, and now am old,
    yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
    or his children begging for bread.
26 He is ever lending generously,
    and his children become a blessing.

27 Turn away from evil and do good;
    so shall you dwell forever.
28 For the Lord loves justice;
    he will not forsake his saints.
They are preserved forever,
    but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
29 The righteous shall inherit the land
    and dwell upon 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 watches for the righteous
    and seeks to put him to death.
33 The Lord will not abandon him to his power
    or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial.

34 Wait for the Lord and keep his way,
    and he will exalt you to inherit the land;
    you will look on when the wicked are cut off.

35 I have seen a wicked, ruthless man,
    spreading himself like a green laurel tree.
36 But he passed away, and behold, he was no more;
    though I sought him, he could not be found.

37 Mark the blameless and behold the upright,
    for there is a future for the man of peace.
38 But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed;
    the future of the wicked shall be cut off.

39 The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;
    he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.
40 The Lord helps them and delivers them;
    he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
    because they take refuge in him.

Journal for March 19, 2018

Memory verse for March is Psalms 37:1-4 (need to work on these this week to make sure I can do them on Sunday).

I love 37:4! Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.  Parallel to Mt. 6:33.

I don’t think I have too many evildoers in my life right now. It is all more subtle than that. David had people who were out to bring him down, even kill him. He was very aware of the dangers of life. Not sure how to approach this psalm. Maybe spiritually? (The devil prowls like a roaring lion looking to devour).

Big emphasis in this psalm on inheriting the land through trusting in God. Parallel to Sermon on Mount (blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth). The connection of meekness to faith is key. Meekness not = mild-mannered or reserved does = submissive and trusting toward God.

Could Christian application to inheriting the land here also be spiritual? Hebrews 11 and 12, we don’t seek an earthly city but a city from above. That seems to be a difference between OT and NT covenants. OT has all these physical traits (law, temple, Jerusalem, promised land, priestly garments, sacrifices, etc.) which find their fulfillment in the NT through Christ, so that we come to God through Him and not through these physical means. Does this shape how I read psalms like this?

At the same time, even the land promises here have a sort of future tone. Forever is often repeated word in Ps. 37.

Lots of Commands in this passage — Fret not (repeated several times), be not envious, trust in the Lord, do good, delight yourself in the Lord, Commit your way to the Lord, be still before the Lord (I have trouble with that one), wait patiently before Him, refrain from anger and forsake wrath (interesting this follows being still and waiting patiently, I often see a connection between being with Jesus and being less angry), Turn away from evil and do good,  Wait for the Lord and keep His way, mark the blameless and behold the upright.  If I walked in these things today, I’d have a pretty good day even with rough circumstances.

Lord, work in Me that I will trust you and not be overwhelmed by the evil in the world and people that might be against me for whatever reason. Be with my church family today. So many of them are in workplaces where there are evildoers and some are in homes where they have a spouse that doesn’t trust you, or kids that have gone astray. Be near them today and give them strength. Grant us all strength to walk in the good things of this passage (trust, commitment, patience, waiting, doing good, rejecting evil, forsaking anger). Thank you that your purposes will stand in the end and we can have life with you through your Son Jesus. Amen.

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