David was probably an elderly king when he wrote Psalm 37, and he had the wisdom to know the principles of life. He knew that there are consequences for our actions.
The six promised blessings found in Psalm 37:1-9 will be yours when you do the six things mentioned in these verses. You don't even have to take them by faith; all you have to do is what David said, and the blessings are yours.
Please do not misunderstand. Without faith, it is impossible to please God—but faith kicks in when you cannot see your way, you cannot do anything about your circumstances, but you act anyway. David gave us six things we can do to receive these six blessings:
- "Do not fret ... nor be jealous" (Ps. 37:1, MEV). No doubt, when David was a younger man, he fretted and dealt with jealousy. But David "practiced what he preached," and so learned to control his passions, temper and spirit. He learned that the reason we need not fret about the power evil people gain, nor be jealous of their prosperity, leads to the first blessing: "They will quickly wither like the grass, and fade like the green herbs" (Ps. 37:2).
The righteous flourish as fruitful trees and receive God's blessings, but the wicked wither and fade as grass and herbs. When the wicked are destroyed, we can see their prosperity outwardly fading. The wicked bring judgment upon themselves by their own actions, and after that, they have to face God's judgment. It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of God as a wicked person.
- "Trust in the Lord, and do good" (Ps. 37:3a). We are to trust God in all things and at all times, not merely when the going gets tough. To trust God and do good is to live in His ways, think His thoughts and see people through His eyes. To do good is to do His works, fulfill His mission and help other people, expecting nothing in return—no strings attached. When you are kind to people for no reason, they may wonder what you want from them, and they may not be thankful. Nevertheless, trusting in the Lord and doing good leads to the second blessing: You will "dwell in the land, and practice faithfulness" (Ps. 37:3b).
Like the sparrows, you will not worry about your subsistence, for God provides for those who trust Him and do good. This is a principle of life. What goes around comes around. You reap what you sow. If you sow trust and goodness, you will reap trust and goodness. All that is good comes from God, and we simply receive with outstretched arms of faith. Religion without faith is useless, but the life of a faithful believer rests in a trusting relationship with God.
- "Delight yourself in the Lord" (Ps. 37:4). Delighting in the Lord is the key to finding God's will for our lives. To delight in Him is to be joyful in all that He requests of us, including obedience, reading Scripture, praying, godly relationships and being willing to do what benefits others and the Church. When you delight in all the things of God, He will give you the third blessing: "the desires of your heart" (Ps. 37:4b).
The reason this principle is the key to finding God's will is because God does not place desires in our hearts that are contrary to His will. In other words, when we take joy in all the things of God, we can trust the desires in our hearts. We can trust that God placed them there as our roadmap to meaning and fulfillment in life and know that we are meant to pursue these desires with all our hearts. The pursuit of the desires of an obedient heart will lead us on paths that cause us to be salt of the earth and lights of Christ to the people only we can reach.
The desires of our hearts will lead us to move by faith to fulfill His purposes for our lives. This is equivalent to God's "calling" on our lives. The calling is within our hearts. We discover that calling as we consistently take joy in all the things of God.
- "Commit your way to the Lord; trust also in Him" (Ps. 37:5a). Now that we have found that it's biblical to pursue the desires of our hearts, which we can think of as a calling or roadmap, we must then commit our journey in this pursuit to the Lord. And He will then grant us the fourth blessing: "He will bring it to pass. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your judgment as the noonday" (Ps. 37:5-6b).
One reason many Christians do not experience this breakthrough is not because they are not living for the Lord or because they are not "good" enough to receive from God. Rather, it is because they have been taught they cannot pursue the desire of their hearts, because their hearts are evil and deceptive. They don't understand that believers have a "new heart" and that God's will is embedded in the desires of their hearts. They ignore the calling on their lives, because they have been taught that their hearts cannot be trusted. While that is true of the unregenerate heart, it is not true of the heart of one who is taking delight in the Lord. If you are obedient to God's word, step out by faith and follow the desires He has placed there, You can trust them. This is the key to fulfilling God's will and calling on your life.
- "Rest in the Lord, wait patiently for Him, do not fret ... let go of anger" (Ps. 37:7a, 8a). Command five repeats command one that says not to fret. If you have obeyed the Lord in command one and stopped fretting, and have noticed evildoers fading and withering, by the time you get to command number five, you have only to rest in the Lord, wait patiently for Him, and release anger in order for evildoers to be cut off by a stroke of divine justice. Release all your anxieties to the Lord and receive the fifth blessing: "Evildoers will be cut off" (Ps. 37:9a).
- "Hope in the Lord" (Ps. 37:9b). When the righteous place their hope in the Lord, they inherit what evildoers gather. Our part is to watch, pray and keep our gaze on the one who is the author and finisher of our faith. The ill-gotten gains that evildoers have garnered will eventually flow away from them and dissipate. They will not be what they once were, and we will soon be what we not yet are. When we obey the second command and trust in the Lord, we will dwell in the land. That's like renting the land, a house or an apartment. But when we hope in the Lord, we will own the land. So place your hope in the Lord and you will receive the sixth blessing: "You will inherit the earth" (Ps. 37:9c).
James F. Linzey studied church growth under C. Pete Wagner and signs and wonders under John Wimber at Fuller Theological Seminary, ministered under John on the Anaheim Vineyard's Large Ministry Team and is the chief editor of the Modern English Version Bible.
Read articles like this one and other Spirit-led content in our new platform, CHARISMA PLUS.
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Great Resources to help you excel in 2019! #1 John Eckhardt's "Prayers That..." 6-Book Bundle. Prayer helps you overcome anything life throws at you. Get a FREE Bonus with this bundle. #2 Learn to walk in the fullness of your purpose and destiny by living each day with Holy Spirit. Buy a set of Life in the Spirit, get a second set FREE.