This psalm has as its keynote "Fret not." The underlying problem is the prosperity of evil men. It is an astonishment and a perplexity still, troubling many a tried and trusting heart. The psalmist first declares that all such prosperity is short-lived and then tells the secrets of quietness in spite of the problem. There are first positive injunctions. They may be grouped' thus: "Trust in Jehovah," "Delight in Jehovah," "Commit thy way unto Jehovah," ''Rest in Jehovah." Then again the fundamental injunction is twice repeated, "Fret not." It is wrong; it is harmful; it is needless. Let the trusting wait. Events will justify the action.
Continuing, the psalmist works out his contrast into greater detail. The prosperity of the wicked has within it the elements of its own destruction and cannot last (verses Psalms 37:12-20). This is all stated by way of contrast. The little of the righteous is better than the abundance of many wicked. This is by no means out of date. It is only to wait long enough and to watch to know that the principle is abiding. Ill-gotten gains and the triumph of wickedness are alike doomed by inherent evil to sure destruction. Then the other side is stated in great fullness (verses Psalms 37:21-31). The way established by Jehovah is sure. There may be failure, but there is restoration. With the more complex civilization in the midst of which we live, perhaps sometimes the righteous have been driven to beg, but even now such cases are surely rare, and after some varied experience I would want to subject him who begs one to somewhat severe cross-examination before accepting his testimony against that of the psalmist. Even if it be granted, the underlying principle remains, that the bread of charity is to be chosen in preference to the wealth of wickedness.
In verses Psalms 37:32-40 we have the final contrast of this psalm. The first statement is of the safety of the righteous against the machinations of the wicked. The way in which this psalm has appealed to men and continues to do so is a proof of how prone the heart is to rebel against the seeming prosperity of the wicked, and also a demonstration of the conviction of men that it is better to trust in Jehovah than to achieve any kind of success by other means. Faith does falter and demand some explanation. It finds all it asks when resolutely it obeys the injunction to trust, delight, commit, rest, wait!
the Second Week after Epiphany