Psalm 37 - Do not be incensed because of evil doers
This is the 3rd acrostic, or alphabetic psalm. This makes the Psalm easy to memorize. I've included the Hebrew letter for each verse and have bolded the word that starts with it. It is worthwhile to memorize this Psalm. This Psalm tells you how to be an overcomer.
The tune is somewhat like the popular Psalm 25 KJV tune, but not quite, so here is an mp3 of my poor voice singing it on the way to work.
Like Psalm 34, this Psalm has no prayer. It is mature observations about a life of trusting the Lord (v25).
v1. I find it is easier not to be angry at those who did evil to me personally than to those who did evil to a leader whom I follow. It is normal to get angry, but if you continue in that anger, that indicates that you are following a man and not the Lord. An example is Joshua being jealous for Moses when others were prophesying in the Israelite camp (Num 11:27-29). The same Hebrew word for "envy" is used in both Ps 37:1 and Num 11:29.
v3-5 - Verse 1 tells you 2 things not to do. Verses 3-5 tell us 6 things to do instead of being angry or jealous:
1. Trust in the Lord
2. Do good. This is towards our fellow man. Doing religious things or things to further a work for the Lord is not a substitute for doing good to men. (Heb 13:16)
3. Stay in the land - stay in the church life in difficult times. This allows the Lord to use the difficult times to prove us.
4. Feed on faith. Put faith in the Lord's word directly. You cannot put faith in spiritual books written by men, unless you understand how what the author wrote is really what the Lord said in the Bible.
5. Delight yourself in the Lord.
The result of the previous 7 is that the Lord will give you the requests of your heart.
6. Roll your way upon the Lord.
Then back to the beginning to trust in Him.
v6 - The end of verse 5 and v6 tell us the results:
1. God will act. We will cause God to act. Marvelous!
2. He shall bring forth your righteousness as light and your judgment as the noon day. This means you are an overcomer.
v. 7 Two more things to do:
1. Be still in the Lord.
2. Wait for the Lord while suffering.
v8-9 - Verses 7-8 tell us 4 more times in different ways not to be angry. It only leads to evil, and those who do evil will be cut off. Wait on the Lord and you will inherit the earth.
v11 - The Lord quoted this verse in the sermon on the mount (Matt 5:5). To be meek is the opposite of being angry. It is to give in to others, and let others have their way. The world despises meekness.
v12 If you are plotting against someone, or gnashing your teeth against someone, that proves you are wicked. If you feel you have been wronged, do what it says in vv 3-5. If one who who has wronged you is wicked, it will happen to him as v2, v9 and v13. Your plotting and gnashing will only damage yourself.
v14 - The wicked attack two kinds of people in two ways. The poor and meek, they cause to fall by trying to get them to follow them. These poor and afflicted are not able to follow the wicked for long, but they fall away from together following the Lord with other saints. The upright in the way, who stops the wicked, they try to slay.
v15 - David saw this happen many times. You will see it too, and know that it is of the Lord.
v16-17 - It is better to have the ability to make a living than to depend on riches saved up.
v19 - Evil times are coming. They are already here in Michigan, but it will get much worse. It doesn't say the upright won't suffer, but they won't be ashamed. It doesn't say that they will have much, but they will be satisfied.
v21 - Many of the ones who followed David from the beginning were in debt (1 Sam 22:2). David must have trained them to repay their debts. I think that those who did this became mighty men, but those who didn't became wicked and eventually betrayed him. There are exceptions. A person may not be able to repay a debt, and the lender forgives the debt. That is different. But if a person owes a debt, but instead of repaying anything buys unnecessary things, that damages the person's character.
v22 - This give a strong reason to repay our depts and to give to others.
v23-24 - The Lord delights in a man living by faith. Every man will make mistakes in following the Lord, but the Lord only lets him fall so far and upholds him (Heb 10:35-39).
When I was jailed for giving out gospel tracts, I was offered the choice to plead guilty, pay a $70 fine, and if I behaved for 6 months, it would be removed from my record. Since I was given the price of $6,000 for a lawyer, and I had to keep taking vacation from work to attend court, pleading guilty seemed like the pragmatic thing to do. But I felt that would be shrinking back, and said that I had to do what I thought was right, which meant that I could not plead guilty when I had done nothing wrong or illegal. The Lord provided and upheld me.
v25-26 We can rest that the Lord will take care of our needs and those of our children. Even our children will be a blessing, though they might not be now.
v30-31 This doesn't mean to judge others, but to speak of the coming righteous judgment of God in a normal way, because he fears the Lord (2 Cor 5:10-11) and is restricted by the law of life (Heb 8:10).
v37We follow the Lord and trust in Him. We also learn from the example of those who are more mature than us (Heb 13:7,17) . But we don't follow blindly, and not to overule our conscience or the Lord's word.