This Psalm contrasts the RIGHTEOUS and the WICKED and should be compared to Psalm 73. Both Psalms consider the age-old question, “Why do the righteous suffer in this life while the wicked seem to prosper?” There is a tendency for believers to envy the wicked because of their prosperity, but their so-called prosperity is fleeting and will end in eternal destruction.

Let’s read Psalm 37:1-2, “Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb” (NKJV). The word “fret” means “to burn, to get heated up.” As believers we should be angry at sin, for Ephesians 4:26 says, “Be angry.” But the rest of that verse says, “And sin not, let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” This means if we dwell on the wickedness of this world, we will eventually “burn with anger.” So the Psalmist is basically saying, “Keep cool and don’t allow evildoers to bring you down.” We are also exhorted not to be “envious” of them. In Psalm 73:3 Asaph wrote, “For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” This is a trap that Satan sets for us that we easily fall into if we don’t have the right perspective. What is the right perspective? We must remember that their prosperity will be short-lived, for we saw that “they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.” Asaph eventually gained that perspective, for in Psalm 73:17-19 he writes, “Until I went into the sanctuary of God; Then I learned their end. Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction. Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors” (NKJV). The wicked may seem to “have it made,” but God will deal with them according to their sins; He will “cast them down to destruction.” Will anyone envy them at that time? No! So let’s not fall into Satan’s trap and envy them now.

We learn the POSITIVE remedies for not “fretting” or “envying” in verses 3-4. Verse 3 tells us, “TRUST in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land, and FEED on His faithfulness.” Instead of dwelling on the wicked all around us, we need to be focused on the Lord! We need to “TRUST in the LORD,” for He is in complete control; and we need to “FEED on His faithfulness,” knowing that everything He does is for our good.” Verse 4 goes on to say, “DELIGHT yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” The word “delight” has the thought of “the sweet satisfaction of one who feeds delicately upon dainties.” If our hearts are truly taken up with the beauty of the Lord and the rich blessings that He lavishes upon us, we will experience “sweet satisfaction.” And if we are satisfied, we won’t be “fretting” against the wicked OR “envying” them if they prosper.

In verse 5 we are exhorted to “Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and he shall bring it to pass.” The word “commit” here means “to roll off your burdens,” which reminds me of 1st Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon Him; for he careth for you.” Again, we may suffer much in this life and fear the unknown, but if we “roll off our burdens” unto the Lord, He will lift them from us and guide us into His will. Proverbs 3:6 speaks to this, “In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” Verse 6 adds, “He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.” He will make it plain to evil-doers, who may speak evil of us, that He is leading us “in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”

We will end this short meditation by quoting verses 7-8, which remind us once again not to “fret.” They read, “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 brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret—it only causes harm” (NKJV).  (194.9)  (DO)