We all face trouble in life and a lot of the trouble we face is either unexpected or, as in my case and perhaps yours, many times self inflected.
I wrote this on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 — the 50th anniversary of the “I have a dream” speech by Martin Luther King Jr. As I reflected on the Civil Rights movement, I thought about the plight of the African-Americans in the history of our nation. Even before the African slavery and struggle was the plight of the Native Americans all across the nation we now call America and claim belongs to all who wish to be free. There appears to be no time in history without injustice of some type happening to individuals, races or nations as a whole.
King David looked around his kingdom and saw political turmoil where power-hungry people were maneuvering across Judah and greedy, unscrupulous men and women who gained power, wealth and influence were oppressing the common people. These were the circumstances in which he wrote Psalm 37 in which David writes about making some conscious decisions toward his emotional and spiritual health.
In Psalm 37:1 David decides to not fret about those who do evil and also not to be envious of them. When I “fret” I usually am looking at how some else is getting blessed and then see my overwhelming troubles. When I fret about what someone else has or what I don’t have, I get my eyes off God who gives all. The second thing David decides to do is to trust in the Lord in verse three. Most of the time I have found that trusting in God is “all” I can do that will ever make a difference. David looks at the situation in his kingdom and it appears the bad guys are winning but he consciously decides to trust that God will bring justice and honor the faithful.
The third thing David decides he will do also is in verse three. He decides he will dwell in the land of the Lord and feed on his faithfulness. When I read this, I also thought of another Psalm of David’s, Psalm 23:2: “He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside still waters.” Also the last part of 23:6: “And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” David understood no matter how bad things looked, he needed to trust in the Lord, dwell and feed on his relationship with the Lord. The forth thing David decides is to delight in the Lord in verse four. To “delight” means to step away from our own strength and find strength in the Lord. When I delight in the Lord, it means that I am not to be strong in myself but allow God to be my strength. I have faced some things, and I am sure you have, also, that were very difficult to endure but God tells us that he desires to be our strength.
Then finally, in verse five, David decides to commit his way to the Lord. Commitment to anything in our world today is rare, but commitment of our life to God’s rulership will never be a mistake. David said I will not fret. I will trust in the Lord and I will dwell in his presence and feed on his unwavering faithfulness. He also delighted in his relationship with God and committed his will and way to the will and way of the Lord.
Sounds to me like godly wisdom when we find ourselves in the middle of trouble. God bless!
Tim Douglas is pastor at Ridgeview Church of God in Craig. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.