Fret not yourself because of evildoers;
be not envious of wrongdoers!
For they will soon fade like the grass
and wither like the green herb.
Trust in the LORD, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices!
Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
For the evildoers shall be cut off,
but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land.
In just a little while, the wicked will be no more;
though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.
But the meek shall inherit the land
and delight themselves in abundant peace.
– Psalm 37:1–11 (ESV)
Timothy E. Saleska writes:
Each pearl along the way from the beginning to the end of the psalm represents an attempt to convince the faithful that the road they are walking – from the beginning to the end – is the right one and that to stray from it is to lose everything.
The righteous need constant guidance because in this life they suffer from the perennial problem that always bedevils believers, whom the psalmist also labels, “the righteous,” “those who hope in Yahweh,” “the humble,” “the needy,” “those upright in conduct,” “the blameless,” “those blessed by Yahweh,” and “His faithful ones.”
The problem is the clashing of desires in their heart. The righteous person certainly believes that Yahweh is His Creator and Redeemer. He loves God and desires to follow His will and trust His promises because He believes that the ways of Yahweh lead to eternal life. Yet there is a part of him that keeps looking in another direction for satisfaction. In agreement with St. Paul, Luther labels this inner conflict as the flesh verses the spirit: “The flesh habitually looks only at the things that are present and is influenced and impressed only by them; but it regards as worthless the things that are not present, those which the Word teaches, because it does not see them.” The old Adam, the sinful nature that baptized believers still retain throughout this earthly life, always desires to live by sight. In other words, he narrows his search for meaning and happiness to the things of this world, and his prevailing passion is to live for the moment. …
Therefore, a battle rages in believers’ hearts. Moment by moment throughout life, the righteous stand at a crossroads, where a part of them desires to follow Yahweh, but another part desires to forsake His path. The only thing keeping the righteous on track is the Word of God [in the power of the Holy Spirit], which sustains and nurtures them along the way.
MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 34
Q. 34. What is adoption?
A. Adoption is an act of God’s free grace, whereby we are received into the number, and have a right to all the privileges of, the sons of God.