Text: “Fret not thyself because of evil doers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.”
Good morning, besieged and impatient Christian! Every day that you seek to serve the risen Lord Jesus Christ, you are beset all around with evil doers, and workers of gross iniquity whose whole reason for living seems to be to hinder you, tempt you, oppress your Christian soul, and spoil your Christian witness and testimony.
You and I who, in Christ, seek to really serve God militantly, find ourselves besieged, surrounded and hemmed in, by the forces of the enemy – the world, the flesh, and the Devil. Today’s Bible Lesson from Psalm 37: will deal with this vital fact of our faith in Christ Jesus.
The Subject of Psalm 37: “The great riddle of the prosperity of the wicked and the affliction of the righteous which has perplexed so many, is here dealt with in the light of the future; and fretfulness and repining are most impressively forbidden. It is a Psalm in which the Lord hushes most sweetly the too common repining of His people and calms their minds as to His present dealings with His own chosen flock and the wolves by whom they are surrounded. It contains eight great precepts, is twice illustrated by autobiographical statements, and abounds in remarkable contrasts.” (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 178)
We 21st Century Christians will learn much from the writings of Seventeenth Century Puritans and sound Bible Teaching/Preaching neo-Puritans such as ‘the prince of preachers’ Charles Haddon Spurgeon – serious Christians, with a most serious cause: to faithfully serve the risen Lord Jesus Christ in the teaching and preaching of His true, and only way of Eternal Salvation.
“Neither is there Salvation in any other: for there is none other Name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
“Jesus saith unto him (Thomas), I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by Me.” (John 14:6)
Here is what Nathaniel Hardy (1618-1670) wrote on this Psalm: “This Psalm may well be styled, The good man’s cordial in bad times; a sovereign plaister (Scots, plaster) for the plague of discontent; or, a choice antidote against the poison of impatience.’” (Nathaniel Hardy, in a Funeral Sermon)
When the plague of worldly oppositions comes flooding in while you and I are seeking to live and serve Christ Jesus in sincerity and in His Bible-truth – we get most impatient to see how much we are hindered by such oppositions; we long for the Lord to just cut through the Devil’s manipulative plots and permit us to have success in our evangelical endeavours.
We fret, get anxious, get riled up, are tempted to plough on in our own puny human strength and according to our own foolish wisdom. Thus, we fail, fall down, and become utterly discouraged. The Lord forbids such ‘fretting’.
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.” (Proverbs 3:5-7)
Verse 1. “Fret not thyself because of evil-doers. To fret is to worry, to have the heart-burn, to fume, to become vexed. Nature is very apt to kindle a fire of jealousy when it sees law-breakers riding on horses and obedient subjects walking in the mire. It seems hard to carnal judgments that the best meat should go to the dogs, while loving children pine for want of it...
Verse 1. “...Neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. Who envies the fat bullock the ribbons and garlands which decorate him as he is led to the shambles? (butcher’s market, or place of slaughter) Yet the case is a parallel one; for ungodly rich men are but as beasts fattened for the slaughter.” (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 178)
The unsaved, the reprobate, may well prosper in this world, for this world is his realm and he/she is in his/her sphere of influence. However, the Christian’s treasures are of the Spiritual realm, and he/she has an Eternity promised with which to enjoy it with the Lord Himself. This thought should encourage you and I who are partakers of God’s Sovereign grace in Christ’s Salvation. We KNOW in Whom we have believed, and therefore wait with patience for His return to take us with Him to glory.
“In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:2-3)
“Queen Elizabeth envied the milkmaid when she was in prison; but if she had known what a glorious reign she would have had afterwards for forty-five years, she would have not envied her.” (John Trapp 1601-1699)
“...God puts the wicked men into fat pastures, into places of honour and power, it is but to hasten their ruin.” (Ludovic de Carbone, quoted by John Spencer – 1654)
Thought: “...Within believers there is a living and incorruptible seed which liveth and abideth forever; why should they envy mere flesh, and the glory of it, which are but as grass, and the flower thereof?” (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 178)