Tuesday, June 11, 2013
“Do not fret because of the wicked; do not be envious of wrongdoers, for they will soon fade like the grass, and wither like the green herb.
Trust in the Lord, and do good; so you will live in the land, and enjoy security. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will make your vindication shine like the light, and the justice of your cause like the noonday.
Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him; do not fret over those who prosper in their way, over those who carry out evil devices.
Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath. Do not fret—it leads only to evil. For the wicked shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.”
Have you ever been told to do this and not do that, and say this and not say that? Typically as children, we are instructed in this manner by parents, guardians, teachers, the elderly, etc. And even into our adulthood years, we are often still instructed in this fashion. If you look around, there are signs and people telling you what to do constantly! Do not run around the pool. Do not let your dog off the leash. Fasten your seatbelt. Do not litter. Wait to be seated. But these instructions are there for a reason. They are often there for care, well-being, and safety reasons.
The instructions in this wisdom psalm are there for a reason, too. Twice we are told not to fret, or become furious or angry. Twice we are told to trust in the Lord. And we are told to “be still” and “wait patiently.” Initially, without careful reading, these instructions come off as sitting idly and doing nothing. But when read more closely, we see that we are to “be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him.” The idea here is to stand in awe of God in the midst of God’s dominion, which is an implication of God being in control and us as God’s people doing something in the world. Otherwise, I don’t think there would be any reason to stand in awe, or “be still before the Lord.” And when we are told to “wait patiently for him” there is the implication that waiting equates to God doing. Thus, if God is doing, we are also called to do. This means trusting God and knowing that God is at work in the world. So, we are called to “do good” (v. 3a), “take delight in the Lord” (v. 4a), and “commit your way to the Lord” (v. 5a).
Think about what good you do, why and how you take delight in the Lord, and why and how you commit your way to the Lord. If there is to be any kind of response on our part to the brief prospering of the wicked, these three things are it according to the psalmist.
Prayer: Lord, we are still before you because we stand in awe of your works. We wait patiently because we know your works are ongoing. Your work in this world encourages us to do good for your glory. In your name we give thanks and praise, Amen.