10/16 – Depart from Evil (Psalm 37)
Introduction — Here David gives a series of clear directives for the godly. Included in this list are requests to (1) avoid excessive worry over the actions of ungodly people, (2) trust in the Lord, (3) cultivate faithfulness, (4) delight in the Lord, (5) commit your way to the Lord, (6) rest in the Lord, (7) cease from anger and forsake wrath, (8) depart from evil, (9) do good, and (10) behold the upright. That David contrasts the godly and the ungodly throughout this psalm is clear. He shows that the righteous path, though not easy, is the best path. Those who follow the Lord live a glorious life now. They are a blessing to others. They are gracious. They are giving. They are peaceful. They are just. The godly look beautifully different than those around them. They love the Lord. They trust the Lord. They cultivate faithfulness. They delight in the Lord. They depart from evil. They do really good stuff for the glory of the Lord. How about us? Do we delight in the Lord? Do we trust in the Lord? Do we love the Lord? Do we cultivate faithfulness in our communities? Do we depart from evil? Do we do really good stuff for the glory of the Lord?
Those who trust the Lord will not fret over those who do evil. Those who trust the Lord will depart from evil. And out of their deep love for the Lord, they will do good stuff for His glory which reflects His glory.
Trust in the LORD. (3)
3 Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Comments: Here David provides clear teaching for godly people. Those who know the Lord trust Him and glorify Him by the good things they do. One of those good things is their continued trust in Him. To trust the Lord is to put one’s hope in Him. This trust is bold. This trust is secure. This trust is certain. David urges the godly to show their trust in the Lord by living ordinary lives for His glory. How? (1) Dwell in the land. Go through the day to day routines. Eat. Sleep. Raise children. Do your job. Care for your parents. Save for the future. Better your community.
(2) Cultivate faithfulness. Be honest. Be fair. Be transparent. Be consistent. Remain steadfast. Questions: What about us? Do we trust in the Lord? Do we have a bold and certain trust in Him? Do we show that trust by living ordinary lives for His glory? Do we do our jobs with excellence? Do we raise our children to know Him? Do we remain steadfast in Him? Are we honest and fair? Are we consistent?
Delight yourself in the LORD. (4)
4 Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Comments: David continues teaching the godly. He directs them to delight in the Lord. To delight oneself in the Lord is to be alert to His leading. To delight in the Lord is to be tender toward Him. To delight in the Lord is to enjoy Him fully. Those who delight in the Lord listen to Him. They learn from Him. They follow Him. They obey Him. They desire to show His glory. They hunger and thirst for the Lord. They spend time with Him. They are pliable before the Lord. They take great delight in the Lord. Questions: What about us? Do we enjoy the Lord? Do we long to be with the Lord? Do we listen to the Lord? Do we learn from the Lord? Are we eager to follow the Lord? Do we sit down before the Lord? Are we pliable and tender before the Lord? Do we long to know His glory? Do we take great, overflowing, luxurious delight in the Lord?
Commit your way to the LORD. (5)
5 Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it. 6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday.
Comments: David reinforces the idea of trust with a vivid picture. The word, commit, means to roll toward or flow to something. Here David urges the godly to roll toward the Lord with an earnest and eager desire. This is a call for whole-hearted, on-going action. The godly will commit every one of their steps to the Lord. They will put all their concerns in His care. Their confidence in the Lord stems from His mighty power to honor all His promises. The Lord is able. The Lord is mighty. The Lord is faithful. The Lord will finish what He begins. He makes full and lasting promises, and so should all who follow Him. Questions: What about us? Do we eagerly flow to the Lord? Do we earnestly commit all our concerns to Him? Do we expect and desire for Him to guide all our steps? Do we have full confidence in the Lord to keep His promises? Do we commit our ways to the Lord?
Rest in the LORD. (7)
7 Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. 8 Cease from anger and forsake wrath; do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.
Comments: David talks here about resting in the Lord. To rest means to be silent. To rest means to stand still. To rest means to cease activity. To rest means to be astonished. Those who rest in the Lord walk in humility. They walk in patience. They are gentle. They are kind. They leave anger and wrath behind. They do fret about those who do evil. They do not pay back evil with evil. Instead, they focus on the Lord. They look to the Lord. They wait on the Lord. The godly are able to rest in humble, astonished wonder before the Lord. Questions: How about us? Do we look to the Lord? Do we focus on the Lord? Do we fret over those who do evil? Are we jealous of their lifestyle? Do we walk in patience? Are we humble? Do we cease from anger? Do we forsake wrath? Do we live agitated all the time? Do we live with peace in our hearts and in our homes? Do we rest in the Lord? Do we rest in humble, astonished wonder before the Lord?
Word Study for Psalm 37
1 fret (harah—be angry; aroused, burning with anger; enraged; worry; inflamed)
1 envious (qana—be jealous; have ill will toward another; anger; rivalry)
3 trust (batah—rely on; put confidence in; set one’s hope in)
4 delight (anag—enjoy; be fond of; take pleasure in; make soft and pliable; spend in enjoyment)
8 cease (rapah—grow slack; release; let go; relent; leave; abandon)
8 forsake (azab—to leave behind; reject; abandon)
11 humble (anaw—bowed; poor; afflicted; meek; gentle)
23 established (kun—to prepare; make ready; set up; determined; formed; secured; arranged; sustained)
27 depart (sur—to change direction; turn aside; to go away; desert; remove; abolish)
27 evil (ra—badly made; of small worthy; contemptible; bad; ugly; troubled; sad; wicked; no good)
27 do (asah—to fashion; create; make; labor; work; manufacture)
27 good (tob—a good thing; benefit; joyous; pleasing; desirable; valuable; beautiful; generous)
Application for Psalm 37
Let’s not fret because of evildoers.
Let’s not be envious of wrongdoers.
Let’s trust in the Lord and do good.
Let’s cultivate faithfulness.
Let’s delight ourselves in the Lord.
Let’s commit our ways to the Lord.
Let’s rest in the Lord.
Let’s cease from anger and forsake wrath.
Let’s depart from evil and do good.
Gospel Connections for Psalm 37
Jesus did not fret because of evildoers. He trusted the Father. He dwelt among us. He cultivates faithfulness in us. He shines forth His righteousness in us like the noonday sun. He took the wrath we deserved. He was crucified for our sins. Wicked men plotted against Him. They killed Jesus. We killed Jesus. But those who repent and trust Him receive life from Him. Jesus makes them righteous. Jesus sustains them. Jesus never forsakes them. Jesus delights in those who follow Him. Jesus calls them to live a righteous life, departing from evil and doing good. Indeed, Jesus delivers the righteous from the snares of sin and death. Jesus saves the righteous because they take refuge in Him. Jesus is their salvation. Jesus is their Savior. Jesus is our Savior.
Thoughts and Quotes for Psalm 37
No one has ever become poor by giving. ~ Anne Frank
No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another. ~ Charles Dickens
You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you. ~ John Bunyan
Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others. ~ Booker T. Washington
I try to keep in my mind the simple question: Am I trying to do good or make myself look good? Too many of our responsibilities get added to our plate when we are trying to please people, impress people, prove ourselves, acquire power, increase our prestige. All those motivations are about looking good more than doing good. ~ Kevin DeYoung
Embrace every opportunity of exercising kind feelings and doing good to others, especially to the household of faith. ~ Adoniram Judson