1 Fret not yourself because of evildoers;
be not envious of wrongdoers!
2For they will soon fade like the grass
and wither like the green herb.
3 Trust in the LORD, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
What is the solution to worry? And what if what you are worrying about is serious and life threatening? Psalm 37 is a great tonic for understanding how to respond when people are, shall we say, not very nice. Sometimes this happens from believers who are very well meaning. Sometimes it comes from less than such noble purposes. In any case, it hurts, it causes pain and hardship and anxiety. Psalm 37 tells us:
1) Don’t fret. “Easy for him to say.” But it probably wasn’t. David’s life was marked by incredible hardship and life threatening situations and he is no doubt writing here after (or during) some horrifyingly bad event of one kind or another. But the “don’t fret” is only the beginning. In fact, if that is all you have to say to someone who is in distress because of the opposition of others do them a favour and don’t say anything at all. But it is an excellent place to start. You’re fretting. Don’t do that. There are better ways to handle it than this. And that is what the Psalm is saying. It is showing us what to do instead of fretting. Worry is such a wasteful emotion. As Jesus said, it cannot add any height to our stature. It can only hurt. But if all we do is try not to fret then that in itself will become fretful. The question that must be asked is: what should I do instead?
2) Verse 3 – Trust in the Lord. If you are fretting you are not looking up. You are looking around at all that is going on and getting into a lather about it. The problem with worry is that it pretends to be able to tell the future. When Jesus taught His disciples about worrying over their food and clothing He referred them to their heavenly Father who cares for birds and flowers and will certainly care for them. Worry causes us to forget God. Let us not forget also, that trusting God here is a command. You must consciously strive to do it. The sinful nature does not naturally gravitate toward God. It needs to be pushed by a power within us that God puts there and is indeed God Himself. You do not have to fret, but you must exert effort in your battle against it.
Verse 3 – Do good. Instead of moaning about how bad you have it and worrying about what bad things are going to happen to you, get up and do something for someone else. You might still be opposed by others and you may get hurt, but you will not regret it. It is far better to get hurt while doing one of thousands of things that can be done for others instead of getting hurt while worrying about getting hurt. Die with your boots on. The reward awaiting you will far surpass any sacrifice that it took to do the good. Not only that, but the busyness of spending yourself on others will put the opposition of others and its results, on the back burner to a certain degree. This works folks. Don’t knock it.
Verse 3 – Don’t run away. Just be faithful where you are. Focus on being faithful.
Verse 4 – Find your greatest delight in God, and not in lesser things, like personal safety and comfort. So many people think that verse 4 means they can get great riches and health from God if they only delight in Him. That is not what the verse says. It says that if you delight in God you will get the desires of your heart. Well, if you delight in God what will the desire of your heart be? Right – Him. This means that while you are in all kinds of trouble you will still be able to have joy and peace and great delight. Why? Because you have that which no amount of trouble can take away – the Creator of the universe. You’d have to be a fool not to want to get in on that.
Don’t fret. There is just far too much other stuff to do with your head and heart than waste those precious gifts on worrying about people who don’t like you.