37 Do not fret because of evildoers,
Be not envious toward wrongdoers.
2 For they will wither quickly like the grass
And fade like the green herb.3 Trust in the Lord and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart..
5 Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light
And your judgment as the noonday..7 Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.
8 Cease from anger and forsake wrath;
Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.
9 For evildoers will be cut off,
But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.
We all have a natural tendency to focus on what the other guy is doing, instead of what we ourselves should be doing. Jesus rebuked Peter for doing just that – and told Peter to focus on what he should be doing – following Jesus – and not to concern himself with Jesus’ plans for John .
This principle is especially applicable with respect to “evil doers” – we are typically worried and and a little envious that they are “getting away with it”. However, God says “I will deal with them – “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay” – instead you should watch out for what’s in your own heart”.
According to Psalm 37, we need to understand clearly that
- The evildoers’ lives are short and will fade away (Ps 37:2)
- They will ultimately receive the total judgement of being cut off from God and Heaven – forever (Ps 37:9)
Instead of focusing on the evildoer, we should turn toward a positive focus on what God wants us to do (Ps 37:3-4). This includes:
- Trusting in Him – that He will deal with them, and that He will reward you for seeking Him
- Doing good -this speaks for itself
- Dwelling in the land – stick to attending to your own business in living quiet, productive lives
- Cultivating faithfulness – our faithfulness is very important to God
- And the ultimate goal of delighting in Him – Who is the ultimate fulfillment of our deepest longings
In the process God wants us to (Psalm 37:7-8)
- Rest in His ability and intention to do the right thing
- Patiently wait on Him to do it at the right time – the time of His choosing, not the time of our choosing
- Not get angry about what the evil guys are doing
- Not attempt to execute justice on our own (forsake wrath) – but instead to leave it up to Him
Our fretting can be accompanied by envy – envying the doers of evil for getting away with it, and revealing some secret desires in our own hearts that we would like to do those same things (and get away with it) as well. Those secret desires can ultimately lead to wrongdoing on our own part.
So the conclusion is that we should stop fretting about what others are getting away with – if we continue to fret it can ultimately lead to our own evil doing, with the corresponding consequences.