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Monday, July 22nd, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 37

Smith's WritingsSmith's Writings

Verses 1-40


An exhortation to the godly to trust in the LORD, and not allow themselves to be disturbed by the passing prosperity of the wicked.

(vv. 1-2) The first two verses present the theme of the psalm - a warning to the godly not to fret in spirit because of the present prosperity of the wicked. Like the grass they will soon be cut down.

(vv. 3-11) Faith in the Lord is the way of escape from this snare. Thus the word to the godly soul is, “Trust in the Lord”; “delight thyself also in the Lord”; “Commit thy way unto the Lord”; “Rest in the Lord”; and “wait upon the Lord.”

Instead of fretting let the godly trust in the Lord, and he will find that while the wicked “shall soon be cut down,” the one who trusts will dwell in the land and be fed.

Instead of fretting because of evil doers, let the believer delight in the Lord, and he shall be satisfied.

Instead of being stumbled and turned out of the right way by reason of the prosperity of the wicked, let the godly commit his way unto the Lord. However rough it may be at the moment, the Lord will maintain the godly in the way, and make manifest the righteousness of the one who keeps in the way.

Instead of being impatient because for the moment the wicked man prospers in his way, let the soul rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him. Resting in the Lord the soul is preserved from anger and wrath when he sees the prosperous way in which the desires of the wicked are brought to pass. To fret would only lead the soul into evil. In the Lord's own time the evildoers will be cut off, and those that wait upon the Lord will inherit the land.

Moreover it is not for long that patience will have to be exercised, it is but a little while and the wicked will pass away and the meek be established in blessing.

(vv. 12-15) Verses 12 to 15 present the Lord's attitude toward the wicked. Over-occupied with the prosperity of the wicked, we may fret and become angry and impatient; the Lord, however, derides the wicked who plot against the just, for the Lord sees that his day is coming when, in the government of God, the wicked will fall by the very violence that they have used against the upright. They that take the sword will perish by the sword.

(vv. 16-20) The following verses present the Lord's attitude towards the godly. The little of the righteous is better than the abundance of the wicked, for with that little there is the support of the Lord - He “upholdeth the righteous.” The Lord knows their days, and has secured an eternal inheritance for them. And though on the way to the inheritance they may have to pass through times of trial and days of famine, yet they shall not be confounded and left to want. The wicked shall perish and consume away.

(vv. 21-38) Verses 21 to 38 present the way of the godly, their present portion, and their end, in contrast to the wicked.

The wicked take without mercy, and come under the curse; the righteous shows mercy, giveth, and is blessed (vv. 21-22).

The steps of a godly man are established by the Lord. He may fall, but he will not be utterly cast down, for the Lord upholds him (vv. 23-24).

The needs of the righteous man are met, and more than met, so that he is able to dispense to others. Let, then, the godly depart from evil and do good seeing that the Lord forsakes not His saints but preserves them for ever and brings them into the land of His choice; whereas the wicked will be cut off (vv. 25-29).

“The mouth of the righteous proffereth wisdom and . . . judgment,” (JND), from a heart that cherishes the law of God. His steps shall not slide, for the Lord will not leave him in the hand of those who watch for his destruction. Therefore let the godly wait on the Lord and keep His way, knowing that he will inherit the land, while those who seek his downfall will be cut off (vv. 30-34).

The wicked man may, indeed, for a time make a great show of prosperity - like a green bay-tree - yet he will pass away and not be found. The perfect man may pass through trial, but his end is peace, whereas the end of the wicked is to be cut off (vv. 35-38).

(vv. 39-40) However right the walk and ways of the godly, let them ever remember that their salvation is of the Lord. He is the strength in trouble, and help in time of need, and the deliverer from the wicked of all that trust in Him.

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Hamilton. "Commentary on Psalms 37". "Smith's Writings". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hsw/psalms-37.html. 1832.
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