11. What End for the Upright & the Wicked? Psalm 37:37-38

Text: “Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man/woman is peace.  But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.”
                                                                                                              Psalm 37:37-38.

Good morning Christian made upright in Christ!  Of yourself and myself, we can do nothing but sin, fall, falter, fail, ‘fall short of the mark’; that mark being the ultra-perfect standard of the altogether lovely One, Jesus the pure and risen Christ.  Fact.

However, Spiritually born again and ‘in Christ Jesus’, we ‘...can do all things though Christ which strengtheneth us...’  (Philippians 4:13)  Hallelujah!  We have ‘good comfort in bad times’ owing to the fact that God has enabled us to partake of His Sovereign grace in Salvation; He has redeemed us from all of our sins; He has entered into to the very essence of our being and dwells there in the power of His Holy Spirit – and we are Eternally safe and secure.  Wow!  What a Salvation!  What a Saviour!

“But God, Who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us (made us to live Spiritually!) together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in Heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”  (Ephesians 2:4-6)

In this latter section of our study of Psalm 37, as featured in today’s text, we are exhorted to both ‘Mark’ and ‘Behold’ the ‘Perfect Man’.  Here is wisdom indeed: to ‘mark’ something or someone is to examine and remember the given subject.  The given subject this morning (as should be every morning of the Christian’s life!) is ‘the perfect Man’.  There has only ever in all this world’s history been one ‘perfect Man’ – the man Christ Jesus; the God-man; the only begotten Son of the Living Lord God.  Praise and all glory to His Name!

Verse 37.  “Mark...and behold.  If Christ would have Mary’s name remembered in the Gospel until the world’s end for one box of ointment poured on His head, we cannot imagine that He would have the many pious and charitable deeds of His servants to be buried in oblivion.”  (Nathaniel Hardy 1618-1670) 

“Verily (truly) I say unto you, Wheresoever this Gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she (Mary) hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.”   (See Mark 14:1-9)

Thus we see that Mary and the good deed that she did for the Living Christ Jesus, was not only marked (taken note of) but also remembered by posterity throughout the whole world.  She had beheld that ‘Perfect Man’, Jesus, and served Him well.

“The Perfect Man. Thus every saint (redeemed sinner) is perfect in comparison to the wicked among whom he/she liveth.  In this respect, it is said of Noah, ‘That he was a perfect man in his generations’; his grace compared with the wickedness of the old world well deserving the name of perfection; indeed every upright man/woman is perfect in comparison of them who are openly bad, or but openly good; stained with wickedness, or but painted with holiness.”  (Nathaniel Hardy 1618-1670)

The perfection we speak of here in this Bible Lesson, dear friend, is that perfect righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, since outside of Him there is ‘...none righteous, no not one...there is none that doeth good, no not one...”  (Romans 3:10-18)

All we that are Spiritually regenerated in Christ, are imputed the perfect righteousness of Christ Jesus Himself: Christ’s perfect righteousness is put to our account by faith and trust in His complete Atonement Sacrifice at Calvary’s Cross.

“For He (God the Father) hath made Him (God the Son who knew no sin) to be sin for us (the elect of God), that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (My paraphrase) (2 Corinthians 5:21)

“But He (Christ Jesus) was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.”  (Isaiah 53:5)

Verse 37. “Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man/woman is peace.  The text may be divided into these two parts. Here is, 1. The godly man’s property; and, 2. The godly man’s privilege.  His property is perfection; his privilege is peace.  Here is the saint’s character and the saint’s crown: he is characterised by uprightness or sincerity and crowned with peace.”  (John Whitlock 1658, in a Funeral Sermon entitled ‘The Upright Man and His Happy End.’”)

It follows, therefore, that to have a happy, peaceful end in this life, we must prepare for it in this life – and the only Eternal preparation we have is to have full trust/faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and in His Atonement Sacrifice at the Cross. 

“Neither is there Salvation in any other: for there in none other Name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

Compare the end of the upright man in Christ with all others outside of Christ, whom the Scriptures define as ‘the wicked’:

Verse 38. “But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.”  “...If you would die well, Christians, you must have a care to live well.  If you would die quietly, you must live strictly; if you would die comfortably, you must live comfortably; if you would die happily, you must live holy.”             (John Kitchen, MA 1660)

Thought: We cannot live like Hell-on-earth, and go quietly to a peaceful Heaven. “Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man/woman is peace.”

10. Deliverance From 'the Wicked' Psalm 37:32-36

Text:  “...We are not careful to answer thee in this matter.  If it (threat, whatever it may be) be so, our God is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand O king (Nebuchadnezzar).”
                                                                                                              Daniel 3:16-17.

Good morning, threatened Christian!  As you read this weekly Bible Lesson, do you find yourself living under serious threat?  Do you have a humanly incurable illness; do you have unpaid bills;  are you  being oppressed by the world around you; persecuted, yeah, even unto death by zealots of false religion; are you being tortured by loneliness, grief, heartache, fear, personal weaknesses, or countless other anxieties? 

Well, by the good grace of the Lord God, and belief in His Son Christ Jesus – let me encourage you in your most precious faith, beloved reader: the Lord God Jehovah, God Almighty, is very aware of your plight and His deliverance is on its way right NOW.  Wait patiently on His help.  The Lord Who loves you and has redeemed you, will never ever let you down.

“Wait (trust) on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart:  wait, I say, on the Lord.  (Psalm 27:14)

Those defined in Holy Scriptures as ‘the wicked’, are not merely natural, human enemies of the Christian faith, but also spiritual powers and agents of Satan, the arch-enemy of every genuine, Spiritually regenerate Christian believer.

“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil.  For (the reason for such action) we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”  (Ephesians 6:11-12)

(For a more exhaustive and thoroughly satisfying exposition of this vital theme, I fully recommend The Christian in Complete Armour, volumes 1, 2, and 3, by the Puritan William Gurnall 1617-1679 – Banner of Truth Trust.)

Such ‘wicked’ agents – human and spiritual – are dedicated entirely to the service of anti-Christian evil, Satan, and sin.  These are the reprobate powers – people, fallen spirits (sometimes referred to as ‘demons’) - all working with one accord, to bring down, vanquish, and spoil the witness and testimonies of true Christian believers.  These agents and powers only exist to cause hurt, harm, and denigration to the glorious Cause of Christ Jesus, the Creator Son of the Living Lord God Jehovah.

Verse 32.  “The wicked watcheth (watch continually) the righteous (made righteous in Christ Jesus), and seeketh to slay him/her. Here the Spirit of God, the Divine Author of all canonical Scripture, states the facts of the case, and the motivation of those deemed ‘the wicked’.  Bible-believing Christians are left in no doubt of this fact.

Were we Christian believers merely left with the above facts, we would have genuine and profound cause to live in abject fear and trembling.  However, God the Spirit immediately puts our puny human minds at ease – His help is always at hand.

Verse 33.  “The Lord will not leave him/her in his (the wicked) hand, nor condemn him when he/she is judged.  If the Lord God were to save us, then leave us to work out our own destiny, we would not last a day in the service of Christ Jesus.  Here, in verse 33, we have God’s promise to us, ‘His people’, He will not leave us in the hands of ‘the wicked’, nor condemn us when we falter, fail, and fall into sin.  Hallelujah!  What a gracious Lord and Saviour we have, in Christ Jesus!

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness.  Behold (look and understand!), all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive against with thee shall perish.”  (Isaiah 41:10-11)

Verse 34. “Wait on the Lord.  He that truly trusts (believeth) in God will stay God’s time, and use God’s means, and walk in God’s way, though it seem round about.”  (David Clarkson 1622-1686)

Verse 34.  “...Keep His way. Avoid crooked paths, take heed of turning to the left hand, lest you be set on the left hand.  Sin doth cross our hopes, it barricades up our way; a man may as well expect to find Heaven in Hell as in a sinful way.”  (Thomas Watson 1690)

Today, in this increasingly apostate, anti-Christian 21st Century, true, regenerate, Bible-believing and practicing Christians are being sorely threatened by both Spiritual wickedness in high places of State, and all around by ‘the wicked’, servants of Satan and his rebellious kingdom here on planet earth. 

Sodomites are applauded by this ‘wicked’ age, while those who would live lives of Godliness for the Holy Christ are pilloried by social and political ridicule.  Television writers seem to be at the forefront of this threat to Bible-based Christianity – writing the most ‘wicked’ and perverted storylines to be portrayed and acted out continually in so-called Soap Opera television programmes for the mass indoctrination of our children and their parents.  This ‘wicked’ filth seems, in all reality, to be ‘...spreading...like a green bay tree...’  Yet, we see and understand what the end of such ‘wicked’ worldlings shall surely be.

Verse 35.  “...Spreading himself like a green bay tree.  It was the case of Hophni and Phinehas: the Lord gave them enough and suffered them to go on and prosper in their wickedness; but what was the reason?  Because He would destroy them.”  (J. Gore’s Sermon at St. Pauls, cited in Treasury of David, page 181)

Thought: “Some of the humblest of the Godly are immortalized, their names are imperishably fragrant in the church, while of the ablest of infidels...Men who were in everybody’s mouths but yesterday are forgotten tomorrow, for only virtue is immortal.”  (Charles Haddon Spurgeon, 1834-1892)

9. The Mouth of the Righteous Psalm 37:30-31

Text: ”The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh (talks, and continues to talk) of judgement.”
                                                                                                                   Psalm 37:30.

Good morning, speaker of righteousness!  Called of the Living Lord God to proclaim the Gospel of Christ and Him Crucified – you  are diligent to “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman/woman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth.”  (2 Timothy 2:15) 

Having, therefore, ‘...hidden’ God’s inspired Word in our hearts, you have a Divinely given reserve within you which, when required of the Lord God for service, He can bring back out of you to the benefit of all whom He has ordained to hear the Word and receive faith to believe in the Christ of God and be Eternally redeemed by Him.

“Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.  Blessed art Thou, O Lord: teach me Thy statutes.”  (Psalm 119:11-12)

You do well to spend time in studying your Bible, beloved Christian, you do very well, and your Master and Lord is pleased with your ministry for Him when you speak out the wonderful things He has permitted you to learn there in those precious pages.

“ I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.”  (Psalm 81:10)

Putting worldly nonsense into your mind/heart – determines what comes back out!  Putting God’s Word into your mind/heart – determines what comes back out!

Verse 30.  “The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom.  Here we are instructed that the mouth of those made righteous by faith in Christ Jesus speaks, and continues to speak, wisdom.  Righteous mouths faithfully speak true wisdom, and Eternal wisdom comes from God’s Word alone.  Thus, the absolute necessity of daily Bible study.

“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.  For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness."  And again, "The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise (worldly wise), that they are vain.”  (1 Corinthians 3:19-20)

“Wisdom is the principle thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.”  (Proverbs 4:7)

“Happy is the man/woman that findeth (finds, and continues to find) wisdom (from God’s Word), and the man/woman that getteth (gets, and continues to get,) understanding.”  (Proverbs 3:13)

Many professing Christians in this 21st Century fail to read their Bibles daily!  Thus, the church worldwide and universal is blighted by ‘pygmy Christians’, ‘perpetual babes in Christ’ – getting saved, yet never ‘growing in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ...’ (2 Peter 3:18)

When asked by the unsaved, ‘What do you believe, then?’ – these ‘empty vessels’ have nothing of Spiritual wisdom to impart to them – they are like the five foolish virgins in Christ’s parable, who were found without oil in their lamps!  Waken up, Church!

Verse 31.  “The law of the Lord is in his/her heart; none of his/her steps shall slide.  This righteous man/woman has ‘...the law of the Lord in his/her heart...’, due to the fact that he/she has taken time daily to make sure it is placed there – by serious Bible Study continually.  This in not rocket science, beloved Christian!  Open your Bibles!

“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.”  (2 Timothy 2:15)

Verse 31.  “...None of his/her steps shall slide.  ‘Sliding’ in the Christian faith is more commonly called ‘back-sliding’ – sliding back into worldliness, ungodliness, and unChristian practice from the high ground of Spiritual holiness the Lord has placed us.

Such ‘back-sliding’, or Spiritual declension, (i.e. falling off; decay; lowering of high standards) has to begin at a point and decline down to a lower level of commitment.

Back-sliding begins with the first daily Bible Study missed.  This is a proven fact.

Perhaps, as you read this Bible Lesson, dear friend, you may say to yourself, ‘Dr McClinton is quite judgemental in his weekly Bible Lessons; he can come across as being rather hard in his teachings and views.’

Let me openly confess, I can indeed, be quite judgemental – but only from a deep desire to have you receive only the very best of Scriptural truth; only from a most deep love and passion for the precious souls of my International Bible Class list.

Verse 30.  “...His tongue talketh of judgement.  Sincere and serious Bible Teachers have no ambitious thoughts towards ‘men-pleasing’; or ‘ministry-building’ exercises of selfish interest.  We seek not to be famous, but to at all times strive to be faithful to Christ, and to the Scripture messages that He has given us in His Word.  No doubt, this is the reason that many of us are not big international celebrities on what often passes for ‘Christian Television Networks’.  We leave world popularity to the worldly.

“Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you!  For so did their fathers to the FALSE prophets.”  (Luke 6:26)

“...And ye (faithful witnesses) shall be hated of all nations for My Name’s sake.”  (Matthew 24:9)

Thought:  Spiritual discernment (judgement) is given to those who study God’s Word.  It is a time for true Christians to speak out the truth of the Lord. Amen!

8. The Eternal Blessings of the Just Psalm 37:23-29

Text: “The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein forever.”
                                                                                                                    Psalm 37:29.

Good morning, Eternally blessed Christian!  Having been blessed by the Lord God Jehovah with Eternal Salvation in and through Christ Jesus and His full Atonement (at-one-ment) at Calvary’s Cross – you and I are completely and fully assured of Almighty God’s Sovereign care of us and His ever-given provision.  Hallelujah!

“What shall we then say to these things?  If God be for us, who can be against us?  He (God the Father) that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all (all the elect!), how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”  (Romans 8:31-32)

The blessings of God upon ‘the just’, those justified by faith in Christ Jesus, are of an Eternal nature – and, by God’s Sovereign grace, are freely given to us, ‘His people’.

Verse 23.  “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.  The Scriptures teach us that ‘...there in none that doeth good, no not one... (Romans 3:10-18).  Therefore, the only persons defined as ‘good’, are those unto whom the Lord God imputes the very righteousness of Christ Jesus Himself by faith.  (2 Corinthians 5:21)  This ‘good’ person’s steps, our every step in life, is ‘ordered’, or ordained, by our Sovereign Lord God.  That is why ‘...ALL things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”  (Romans 8:28) 

Notice, it is not all GOOD things that work together for our good!  No.  ALL things, good, bad, and indifferent, because our ‘steps’ are ‘ordered’ by the Lord – are made to eventually ‘work together for good’, if we ‘...love the Lord and are THE called according to His purpose.’  Hallelujah!  What a Lord God we have in Christ Jesus!

Verse 24.  “Though he/she fall, he/she shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth (continuous verb - upholds, and continues to uphold) him/her with His hand.  The times of every creature on earth is determined by Almighty God, that is why the writer to the Hebrews (I believe that writer to be the apostle Paul) teaches us, (under the inspiration of God the Spirit.) “...It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement.” (Hebrews 9:27) 

This is an ‘appointment’ the Lord makes with the soul of every creature under His Creation, and we all must keep His appointment with death.  Similarly, the Lord God is in Sovereign control of every tiny aspect of every creature’s life – and our confidence therefore is in His Divine ability to ‘uphold’ us, His people, with His hand in every circumstance we encounter in life.  Praise God for His Eternal uplifting!

Verse 25.  “Nor his seed begging bread.  If any man say that David himself begged – he asked bread of Abimelech and of Nabal – I answer, it is a good rule, and it resolves the case; transitory cases and sudden accidents make no beggars: we must not say, ‘David was a beggar, or begged his bread,’ because once he was in a strait and asked bread of Abimelech and in a second strait sent to Nabal.  In such sudden cases, the richest man in the world may be put to ask a piece of bread.  A good man may fall into such wants, but good men are rarely, if ever or at all, left in them.”  (Joseph Caryl 1602-1673)

Verse 26.  “He (the good man, the ‘elect’ of God) is ever merciful, and lendeth: and his seed (his children and posterity) is blessed. Again we are taught the Eternal nature of God’s special blessings upon ‘His people’.  (Matthew 1:21)  Thomas Adams strongly confirms the Eternal nature of God’s blessings upon those whom He saves:  “Trust, then, Christ with thy children; when thy friends shall fail, usury bear no date, oppression be condemned to Hell, thyself rotten to the dust, the world itself turned and burned into cinders, still “Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, and today, and forever.”  (Thomas Adams 1614)  (Hebrews 13:8) Hallelujah!  Victory in Him!

Verse 27.  “Depart from evil...do good...dwell forevermore.  Every Christian today should know, by the inner leading of God the Spirit, and by the daily exhortation from God’s Word – our commitment must be a continual departing from all evil; a continual seeking to do good.  To be ‘Christian’ is to try hard to be like Christ.  Christ is Holy.  Therefore, you and I must seek to be as Holy as He – yet knowing in our hearts that we can never attain to His Holiness, His purity; His righteousness; or His perfect conduct.  When we sincerely TRY to be like Christ – in word, in thought, and in deed – the Lord God looks upon us as having achieved what no fallen human can ever achieve of ourselves: the righteousness of Christ Jesus Himself.  Wow!  What grace! 

Verse 28.  “For the Lord loveth (loves and continues to love forever) judgement, and forsaketh (never forsakes!) His saints; they are preserved forever.”  The Lord God must keep His own Sovereign Word, and in His Word He has promised us: “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee...”  (Hebrews 13:5)

Verse 28.  “...But the seed (posterity) of the wicked (reprobate, rejected of God) shall be cut off.  This too is an Eternal declaration: “And the Devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”  (Revelation 20:10)

Psalm 37 is filled full with what we call ‘Good Comfort In Bad Times’.  As we travel the road of this transient life, we are constantly harassed by enemies – Spiritual and temporal – yet we are never left comfortless, the Lord is always at hand to speak His Eternal truths to our inner beings and pour in His oil of Divine comfort and healing.

Verse 29.  “The righteous (in Christ) shall inherit the land, and dwell therein forever.  In spite of how you or I may be feeling this day – worn out, depressed in spirit, oppressed by our constant foes – take heart, beloved in Christ, God has spoken and we believe!  We have the victory over all negative things, the Victory of Christ Himself. Hallelujah!  Glory to the Lamb Who is indeed worthy!  Victory in Him!

Thought: Our Master Comforter is merely a prayer away. Let us go unto Him.