Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.
Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. 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 do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.
– Psalm 37:1-9
“Psalm 37 talks of the problem caused when godless people prosper. Many times things go well for them – financially, physically, militarily for nations – and their attitude toward those who love the Lord is one of mockery and disrespect. Conversely, those whose faith is in God can experience His provision in abundance, but they also may endure hardship and persecution. The tendency might be to be envious of those who are wicked and prospering.
“Don’t do that! Obeying God will reap many rewards. Trust in the Lord, delight in Him, commit your way to Him and rest in Him, and you will not falter in your walk with Him (Psalm 37:3-7). He alone can give you joy unending.”
– Presidential Prayer Team Devotion
Near the end of John 6, Peter replies to Jesus, speaking for the twelve, that they basically have nowhere else to go. They believed Jesus was the Son of God. Regardless of how the wicked prospered or how tough their lives were, Jesus was the answer.
Have you been there? I have, many times.
Does it do any good to look enviously upon those who have succeeded in this world? Absolutely not. It leads to trying to keep up with the Joneses. Then you end up in debt and further behind the Joneses. Where did that expression come from? I don’t know too many Joneses, and the ones that I have known weren’t the richest in town. Oh well.
Why do the wicked prosper? Job asks that question. King David, in Psalm 37, goes through countless arguments regarding how the wicked prosper, but we will have the last laugh.
I have written about Praying the Psalms in the past. Psalm 37 is an unusual Psalm to pray, but if you feel the least bit jealous over someone else’s success, it might be a good Psalm to read a few times.
Okay, I read it with a few people in mind recently and before I got half way through the first time, I realized that I don’t want any harm to fall upon the wicked. I want the wicked to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Psalm 37 is a good promise to us all that evil will not win in the end. Psalm 37 is a song of praise to God, but a warning that the evil-doers of the world will not prosper in the end. They can’t take it with them.
But Psalm 37, read with specific people in mind, becomes King David playing reverse psychology on the reader. Do you want the wicked to be punished or the wicked to love Jesus?
But to maintain that amount of love in your heart during the persecution is very hard. When the wounds start to heal, it becomes easier. During the abuse? Turning the other cheek is one thing. With practice, that becomes easier, but when the wicked don’t get the desired reaction from you, they turn up the heat. I have failed to stay calm in that situation. I will admit that I am a work in progress.
The wicked persecute us, but if they are no longer wicked, won’t they stop the persecution?
We can pray Psalm 37 in general, knowing that the wicked will not have the ultimate victory, but for each individual, we must pray for repentance, healing, and salvation.
To God be the Glory.