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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
Psalms 37

 

 

Verses 1-10

Psalms 37:1. Fret not thyself because of evil-doers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.

A common temptation. Many of God’s saints have suffered from it. Learn from their experience. Avoid this danger. There really is no power in it, when once the heart has come to rest in God. But it is a sad affliction until the heart does get its rest. “Fret not because of evildoers.”

Psalms 37:2-4. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD

Make him thy delight, and take care that thou do really delight. Feel a fullness of joy in him.

Psalms 37:4. And he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Because when the heart delights in God, then its desires are all such as God can safely grant. He does not say to every man, or even to every praying man, “I will give thee the desires of thine heart,” but “Delight thyself in the Lord,” and then he will.

Psalms 37:5. Commit thy way unto the LORD

Give it up to him to rule it, and to guide thee and lead thee in every step.

“Commit thy way unto the Lord.”

Psalms 37:5-6. Trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.

It is better to trust our character with God than with the ablest counselor. Scandal may pass over a fair name for a while and cloud it, but God is the avenger of all the righteous. There will be a resurrection of reputations, as well as of persons at the last great day. Only we must commit it to God.

Psalms 37:7-8. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.

A fretful spirit soon comes to be an angry spirit, and when we begin to be jealous of evildoers, we are very apt to become evildoers ourselves. Many an honest man has snatched at hasty gain, because he was envious of the prosperity of the unrighteous; and then he has pierced himself through with many sorrows in consequence. But “fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.” There is an old proverb that it is hard for an empty sack to stand upright. Therefore, when you are in temporal trouble, ask the Lord to fill you with his grace, for then you will stand upright, and by-and-by you shall be delivered.

Psalms 37:9. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.

If there is anything good to be had here, men that wait upon God shall have it. If there is any grain of wheat amidst these heaps of chaff, believers that are trusting the Lord shall find them.

Psalms 37:10. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be:

How transient are their joys! Their wealth which they accumulate, the beauty which they think is upon their estate, all this is but as the painted colors of the bubble, which is scarcely seen before it vanishes. Wilt thou envy this? Wilt thou envy a little child his play-toys, which will be broken in an hour? Wilt thou envy a madman the straw crown which he plaits and puts upon his head when he thinks himself a king? Oh! be not so foolish. Thine inheritance is eternal, and thou art immortal. Why shouldest thou envy the creature of an hour? “For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be.”

Psalms 37:10. Yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place,

His mansion, his house, the grand figure that he cut in society.

This exposition consisted of readings from Psalms 73; Psalms 37:1-10.


Verses 1-18

Let us read tonight part of the thirty-seventh Psalm. David here first of all dissuades himself and us from falling into a very common evil, that of envying the wicked because of their prosperity, and murmuring against God because we, perhaps, are not so highly favored in our earthly affairs.

Psalms 37:1-2. Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of inequity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.

No one envies the grass, let it be never so green; no one envies flowers, let them be never so fragrant, for we know that grass must be cut, and that flowers must wither. Let us look upon the wicked in the same light; their time of perishing shall soon come, their end hasteth on apace; therefore, let all envying be out of the question, since they are such short-lived beings.

Psalms 37:3. Trust in the LORD, and do good;

There you have the secret of the active life of the Christian. The root of his activity lies in his faith: “Trust in the Lord.” The outward manifestation of his inner life is in the good that he does; and where there is this faith, proved to be living faith by good works, there follows the promise, —

Psalms 37:3. So shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

It does not say, “Young man, verily thou shalt prosper in business.” It does not say, “O ambitious man, thou shalt dwell in a palace, or revel in luxuries, “but it does say to thee, O humble-minded Christian, trusting in God, “Verily thou shalt be fed.” You know, when the word “Verily” is used, there is something upon which God sets his seal as being true: “Verily thou shalt be fed.” God’s “Verilys” are better than men’s oaths. Believe, then, Christians and let there be no more fretting about your temporal trials. I know you have come in here tonight very anxious, and vexed with care and grief; take this “Verily”, and lay it, like Isaiah’s lump of figs, upon the boil, and “Verily” you shall soon be healed.

Psalms 37:4. Delight thyself also in the LORD and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Delight is a Christian’s duty. To sorrow, to mourn, to despair, — these belong not to the believer: “Delight thyself in the Lord.” Here is a river to swim in, Christians, plunge into it. Here is a bottomless abyss of delights, the person, the grace, the works, the attributes of our covenant God; and here is a promise given to each one of those who carry on this excellent duty, “He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”

Psalms 37:5. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

Put the helm of your ship into the hand of the Almighty Pilot. Leave the guidance of your pilgrimage to him who has led many caravans across the desert aforetime, and who has never suffered any to perish. What an easy way this is; and yet how hard do we find it to carry it out! It is to unload ourselves, and put our burden on our God. Oh, that we had the sanctified common-sense to make us fulfill this duty!

Psalms 37:6. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.

Leave your character with God; it is safe there. Men may throw mud at it, but it will never stick long on a true believer; it shall soon come off, and you shall be the more glorious for men’s slander.

Psalms 37:7-11. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way; because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

This is now a gospel blessing, for Christ pronounced it upon the mount among his other benedictions: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Somehow or other, the only persons who truly enjoy life, and get happiness out of this present vale of tears, are the meek spirits, the men who can say, — “Mine are the valleys, and the mountains mine; my father made them all.” Even the possessions of other men make these people glad. They are like the man we have heard of in China, who met a mandarin covered with jewels, and, bowing to him, said, “Thank you for those jewels.” Doing this many times, at last the mandarin asked the cause of his gratitude. “Well,” said the poor but wise man, “I thank you that you have those jewels, for I have as good a sight of them as you have; but I have not the trouble of wearing them, putting them on in the morning, taking them off at night, and having a watchman keeping guard over them when I am asleep. I thank you for them; they are as much use to me as they are to you.” This meek man can walk along the broad acres of a rich man’s farm, he can see his noble oaks and other forest trees, and he can say, “Thank God for them all! I have as much enjoyment from these as the rich man himself has, for they are mine to enjoy as truly as they are his.” “The meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace, “not in the abundance of wealth, but in the abundance of peace. To a meek man, peace is his wealth, and holy quietness and calm his true riches.

Psalms 37:12-18. The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth. The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming. The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation. Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken. A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the LORD upholdeth the righteous. The LORD knoweth the way of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever.

He knows their dark days, and he will be their light; he knows their sunny days, and he will be their shelter; he knows their last day, and he will be their confidence; he knows their resurrection-day, and he will be their glory: “Their inheritance shall be for ever.”

“Go, you that boast in all your stores,

And tell how bright they shine;

Your heaps of glittering dust are yours,

But my Redeemer’s mine.”


Verses 1-40

May the Spirit of God graciously apply this Psalm to our hearts, comforting us as no one else can! Is he not the Comforter, and what better cordial has he for our spirits than his own Word?

Psalms 37:1-2. Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.

Evil cannot last. It is a feeble plant, like the grass and weeds which the mower’s scythe soon cuts down, and leaves to wither in the blazing sunshine.

Psalms 37:3-4. Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

This is a most precious verse, its sweetness who can tell? Do not think first of the desires of thy heart, but think first of delighting thyself in thy God. If thou hast accepted him as thy Lord, he is thine; so delight in him, and then he will give thee the desires of thy heart.

Psalms 37:5. Commit thy way unto the LORD trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

Give it over into God’s hands, and then confide in him as completely as a little child confides in its mother. “He shall bring it to pass.” It is quite certain that you cannot “bring it to pass,” so you will be wise if you leave it with him who can do what you cannot.

Psalms 37:6. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.

Thou canst not make the light and the noonday; that is a work that is far beyond thy power; but thy God can give thee both light and noonday. He can clear thy character from any slander that may have befouled it, and he can crown thee with honour and glory in place of the contempt that is now cast upon thee.

Psalms 37:7. Rest in the LORD,-

That is the sweetest word of all: “Rest.” Go no further. Fret no more. Bear thy burdens no longer. Make this day a Sabbath to thy soul: “Rest in the Lord,”-And wait patiently for him:-Do not be in a hurry. The Lord has infinite leisure, so partake of it as far as thou canst: “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him:”-

Psalms 37:7-8. Fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger,-

You cannot do that unless you “rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him.” Angry passions fail upon the fire of fretfulness; therefore, “cease from anger,”-

Psalms 37:8-9. And forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evil doers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.

Their turn will come in due time. It comes last, but then it comes to last, for there is nothing to come after the last.

Psalms 37:10. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.

The house in which he lived, or the place that was called by his name, is often destroyed.

Psalms 37:11-12, But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. ‘The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.-

That has been the style of things from the beginning, and the old serpent’s seed will be like the old serpent, and he “was more subtle than any beast of the field.” “The wicked plotteth against the just,”-He plots against the Lord’s people, but--

Psalms 37:13-18. The Lord shall laugh at him,”For he seeth that his day is coming. The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation. Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken. A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the LORD upholdest the righteous. The LORD knoweth the day of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever.

He gives them an eternal portion by an everlasting covenant.

Psalms 37:19. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.

There is nothing that they can get, but God will give them what they cannot get themselves. He will ransack heaven and earth to find food for his people: “In the days of famine they shall be satisfied.”

Psalms 37:20-23. But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away. The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth. For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth, and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD:-Even his “steps”-the little movements of his life,-not only his “rest plans and his ambitious projects, but “the steps of a good man are ordered by Jehovah;”-

Psalms 37:23.And he delighteth in his way.

He loves to see him walk, even as parents delight to watch the first tottering steps of their little children, so that he, who “taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man,” taketh pleasure in the ways of his people.

Psalms 37:24. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down:-

For a while, it may seem as if he had been finally defeated; things may seem to go altogether wrong with him; but, “though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;”-

Psalms 37:24-25. For the LORD upholdeth him with his hand. I have been young and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

And we also can still speak of the faithfulness of Jehovah. He who took care of his people in David’s day has not changed since then. We have not seen the righteous forsaken.

Psalms 37:26. He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.

God has a special regard for the children of believers. Grace does not run in the blood, but it often runs side by side with it. The God of Abraham is the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and the God of Joseph, and the God of Manasseh and Ephraim.

Psalms 37:27-29. Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore. For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints;they are preserved for ever:but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever.

I have frequently remarked to you that, although the wolf is very strong and fierce, and the sheep is very weak and timid, yet there are more sheep in the world than there are wolves; and the day will come when the last wolf will be dead, and then the sheep shall cover the plains and feed upon the hills. Weak as the righteous often are, they “shall inherit the land” when the wicked shall have been out off from the earth.

Psalms 37:30. The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.

That which is down in the heart will come up into the mouth, and you may rest assured that men are fairly judged by the common current of their conversation.

Psalms 37:31-33. The law of his God is in his heart, none of his steps shall slide. The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him. The LORD will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged.

How dreadful it would be for the godly man if the Lord were to leave him in the hand of the wicked! You remember how David sought to avoid that calamity when he had to choose famine, pestilence, or the sword of his enemies. “Let me fall,” said he “into the hand of the Lord, for very great are his mercies; but let me not fall into the hand of man.” Let us thank God that, even if we should get into the hand of the ungodly, the Lord will not leave us there, nor condemn us when we are judged.

Psalms 37:34-37. Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it. I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found. Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.

There is no end to that man, for he is to endure world without end. In any sense in which there is an end to him, his end is everlasting peace

Psalms 37:38-39. But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off. But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble.

Have you not proved it so, dear brethren and sisters in Christ? I know that you have had times of trouble, but has not God been your strength in a very peculiar way in all such times?

Psalms 37:40. And the LORD shall help them,-

He is and he shall ever be their Helper: “The Lord shall help them,”-

Psalms 37:40. And deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.

That is the point,-not because of any merit of theirs, nor because of any skill of theirs, but “he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.” So, Lord, help us to trust in thee! Amen


Verses 17-40

Psalms 37:17. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the LORD upholdeth the righteous.

They must stand, therefore, for how shall he fall whom God upholds?

Psalms 37:18-19. The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.

These are bad times now. Everyone complains, and indeed there seems to be abundant cause, for distress is universal. But let us fall back on the promise. “In the days of famine they shall be satisfied.”

Psalms 37:20-23. But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away. The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth. For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off. The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.

There is a mutual delight, you see. If we delight in God, God delights in us. He delights in the conduct of his people. When they walk with him, he takes pleasure in every step that they take. What say you, brothers and sisters? Have you tried to live today so that God may take pleasure in you He cannot do it if we have lived carelessly, or fruitlessly, or selfishly. But when we live to him, then the Lord delights in our way.

Psalms 37:24. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.

Just going to fall, but in came the interposing hand. Grace catches us up when sin would throw us down.

Psalms 37:25. I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

It was so unusual a thing that David had never seen, it. I have several times seen the seed of the righteous begging bread, but in every case it has been because of their drunkenness or their laziness, or because of their own vice which they brought upon themselves. But, as a rule, takes care of the children of his children. He does not suffer them to want. They may be brought into great straits, but he will not permit them to come to beggary.

Psalms 37:26-29. He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed. Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore. For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are perserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever.

There is a grand time coming (oh! that God would hasten it!) when truth and righteousness shall rule the earth, and then shall the godly have their portion. At the present time: —

“Every prospect Pleases,

And only man is vile “;

But the day shall come when the vile person shall cease from off the earth, and the saints shall trove the kingdom.

Psalms 37:30. The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.

You may often judge a man by his mouth. The physician looks at the tongue to see how the man is; and so is a righteous man known by his mouth and his tongue, for he talks of judgment.

Psalms 37:31-40. The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide. The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him. The LORD will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged. Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut of, thou shalt see it. I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found. Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright. For the end of that man is peace. But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut of. But the salvation of the righeous is of the .LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble. And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Psalms 37:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/psalms-37.html. 2011.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, December 11th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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