the practical side of psalms

This morning I read Psalm 37. I always forget how much I just love, love this chapter. I mean, chock full, absolutely overflowing, with little tidbits of amazing wisdom. Practical wisdom. Eternal perspective. And just the encouragement a pilgrim needs to keep going.

I imagine that if my dad were to write a chapter of the Bible, Psalm 37 is sort of how it would come out:

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday.” (Of course, if my dad wrote this, there would be a selah halfway through — just enough of a pause to allow for a quick swipe of Blistex.)

Yeah, he could have written that passage. Practical and powerful. Single-minded. Those verses always take me by surprise: pithy, no-frills directives for how to live life.

How about this one?

“Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the wicked man who carries out wicked schemes. Cease from anger and forsake wrath; do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.”

And oh, the awesome theology! The answers to the questions that always seem to nag us. Should Christians be wealthy? Should Christians be healthy? Should Christians be successful? Should Christians’ prosperity put the wicked to shame?

…Well, yes. In the grand scheme of things, yes. When the last enemy is defeated, and the mortal have put on immortality, and God is having His last laugh (that’s in this chapter, too, by the way, if you ever have one of those days where you just need to know that God will laugh at the wicked. Laugh.) In that Day, there’s a guarantee that every Christian will be wealthy, healthy, and reigning with Christ. In actuality.

But for all of those times down here on planet Earth, when I start to wonder why we’re imprisoned and killed, poor and starving, serving as the low man on the totem pole, or whatever, it’s nice to read this:

“Better is the little of the righteous than the abundance of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked will be broken, but the Lord sustains the righteous.”

Nothing like a little perspective to make sense of theology and real life. Nothing like stepping back, away from Time, and realizing that the Lord holds all of this together, and He holds us — in suffering and trials, in sickness and in health, in plenty and in want — in His loving hands.

That is all the overcomer I need to be.

(Perhaps tomorrow I will continue on in this chapter. After all, we’re only halfway through, and right ahead is, “The steps of a man are established by the Lord…” How good is that to hear?)

1 Comment the practical side of psalms

  1. diane

    oh thank you! I needed that place to go today.
    It’s February. I was so grouchy yesterday. Some things aren’t
    working out the way I thought they should go….
    I need to shift my eyes to that perspective – He’s working on my righteousness. Thanks for sharing what your Dad shared with you!
    Nuts and bolts, inside reality, walking it out!


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