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Psalms 37:0 Opposite destinies
This psalm is an acrostic and a wisdom poem. (Concerning acrostics see notes on Psalms 9:0 and 10. Concerning wisdom literature see introductory notes to Job.) Other wisdom poems are found in Psalms 10:14, 19, 49, 73 and 112.
On seeing how wicked people prosper, believers may be tempted to envy them or, worse still, to doubt God’s goodness. The reminder given in this psalm is that no one should judge by outward appearances. The prosperity of worthless people will be shortlived, but the faithfulness of believers will be rewarded (1-4). Believers should therefore not be restless, impatient, or too easily angered when they see the apparent success of the wicked (5-9).
One day all the wicked will be destroyed. The meek will then be the sole possessors of the land (10-11). Lasting prosperity belongs to those who exercise patience and faith, not to those who achieve their selfish goals by wrongdoing. The evil of the wicked will eventually be the cause of their own downfall (12-15).
God will see that those who put spiritual values above material prosperity will, in due course, be materially blessed. But those who put material prosperity before everything else will find that it vanishes like smoke (16-20). Life will have its ups and downs, but through them all God will care for those believers who give generously to others (21-22). They may meet troubles, but God will never desert them. Through their difficulties God will provide for them and enrich their experience of him (23-26).
In the end justice will be done both to those who are good and to those who are bad (27-29). The good people, in God’s sight, are those whose minds are so directed by God’s Word that their speech and behaviour are wise and wholesome. God will not allow the wicked to gain the victory over them (30-34). As a towering cedar tree can be cut down in a few minutes, so those who tyrannize others will be suddenly destroyed (35-36). But God’s goodness protects the godly and saves them in times of trouble (37-40).
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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Psalms 37". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
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