FRET NOT THYSELF BECAUSE OF EVILDOERS

By: Gary L. Rodgers

Psalms 37

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In today’s world we are bombarded with evil all around us and for the child of God it is important that we don’t lose sight of God’s promises that He will set things right. In Psalm 37 we find the hope of God when we are told to fret not.

How many of us have heard the expression “Don’t sweat the small stuff!” or “Don’t let things get you down!”

How about “Be happy with what you got!” or “Don’t be envious of another man’s possessions!”

As we note immediately from Psalms 37 we find in the very first verse that David through the influence of God is telling us to “Fret not.”

According to the ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA –

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting some 40 million adults in the United States ages 18 and older which is said to be 18% of the U.S. population. And costing somewhere in excess of $42 Billion dollars a year in treatments. One third of the country’s total mental health bill.

No wonder someone coined the phrase and rightfully so that we make Jello nervous!

My favorite is the one that goes – “I’m about as nervous as a Baptist Preacher that can’t find his offering plates.” Being a Baptist, that is what I call being fearful and fretting.

You will note in reading Psalm 37 that it is not a prayer but rather a series of instruction as to how we the children of God are to react to our feelings of frustration over the wealth and seeming prosperity of the wicked. When you get all down in the mouth about the mountain of wealth that the wicked have and what little you have by comparison, Psalms 37, 49 and 73 are good Psalms to read to help ease those bouts of anxiety when life seems to have dealt you a bad hand so to speak.

Have you ever looked at these drug dealers and others involved in crime and say to yourself “It’s just not fair! It’s just not fair that I struggle so hard to get somewhere while these bunch of criminals seem to live a lavish lifestyle with no expression of worry and sorrow, with no sense of fear for tomorrow. It’s just not fair!”

I know that my children sometimes would have this look or question on their face as to why I would restrict them from participating in certain school activities and parties. And for them I am sure that it just didn’t seem fair. But I didn’t do it because I was against their having fun. I did it because I love them and I wanted them to learn early that not everything that may seem innocent on the surface was truly that way in reality. I wanted them to learn that just because the world seems to be going in a certain direction that it was also alright for us to follow along and participate as well. And I believe that Psalms 37 is the instruction of a loving father to us, His children that not everything is meant for us to have or to be involved in, that things are not always as they may now seem.

Read Psalms 37: 1 thru and up to verse 34, stopping there momentarily.

We are told at the very onset of this chapter to “Fret not” or to not be worried, or concerned with what the wicked have; nor are we to be envious or jealous of them. In due time they will be destroyed and the memory of them will wither away as suggested by the use of the words in verse 2. The truth of what is being said in this chapter can be realized in Revelation 18 where we read about the great whore Babylon (or the great perversion would be another way of saying that). Babylon is both a city and a world system, it will be a place of great commerce, it will be a place of world influence. It is thought by some that it will become the seat of world finance and market. But we are told that God will destroy Babylon along with the vast wealth of the wicked in one hour. All of these so called get rich quick criminals and the filthy perversions behind much of their wealth will be destroyed in one hour, and all of these syndicate leaders, and merchants, right down to the street hooker will lose all that they hoped to gain, and they will weep terribly over their losses. That’s why it is so important for us and our children to learn to be content with what God has given us.

You don’t need to be a multimillionaire to be happy. Our happiness is not in things but in the Lord God himself. Our happiness is eternal and much of it is still yet to come. Generally speaking there is nothing

wrong with being wealthy, but do you know that most people and Christians in particular would not be able to handle a large amount of wealth? Why do you suppose that is? Unfortunately most people would not feel as though they needed to pray as often as they did before. For a number of people their wealth would become so important to them that they would continually have it on their minds, and God would filter into their lives somewhere down the line. And then there are some that would have so much that they would begin to feel a power within themselves that would influence them into believing that they can take and do whatever they want, and not be fearful of any consequences.

I can think of two people that have been like that. In the secular world I believe that there is a certain popular young man that initially started out as a very respectful and fine young person. But the influence of his wealth and those that he hung around with gave him this false pride and feeling that he was invulnerable when it came to behaving himself and acting in a responsible and upright way. In his mind laws and rules did not apply to him. King David was another one I believe to have fallen into this false power and security when he looked upon and lusted after Bathsheba and summoned for her. And through this he planned and schemed his way into committing adultery with her and consequently murdered Uriah her husband. And as a result of that God sent Nathan the prophet to confront David about his sin; and we read about that in 2 Samuel chapter 12.

2 Samuel 12:1And the LORD sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor.

2The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds:

3But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter.

4And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him.

5And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die:

6And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.

7And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul;

8And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.

9Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.

10Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; (Let me ask you a question. Do we not believe that we have eternal security, that once saved we are always saved? Do we not believe that? Does this verse sound to you as some would suggest, that we can sin and get away with it because we believe in the security of the believer? Does it sound like David was getting away with it?

Do you think that my children felt that they could get away with virtually anything because I was their Dad, and that my relationship to them would never change no matter what?

Why would the sword not depart from David’s house? We find the answer to that question in the latter part of verse 10 which says.) “Because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.” (Sin has its price doesn’t it?)

11Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. (s-u-n meaning that God will do this in full view of all the land. It will not be hid away in darkness. It tells us in Numbers 32:23 “Be sure that your sin will find you out.”)

12For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.

Great riches can give us a false sense of security if we are not careful. So what are we to do? In verses 3,4, and 5 of our text we are told to “Trust in the Lord”, “Delight thyself in the Lord”, and to “Commit our ways unto him”. That’s the real secret to happiness. Not what the world has to offer, but what God will provide. We need to be content in the things that we have and not desiring of the things that are offensive and contrary to God’s will and precepts.

In verse 7 we are told to rest or be content in the Lord. When Solomon became King he didn’t ask for great wealth, instead he asked for wisdom and God not only gave him an extraordinary wisdom but He showered Solomon with untold wealth as well. But look at what all that wealth brought Solomon. We are told that he had hundreds of wives and Concubines and in 1 Kings 11 it clearly tells us that his wives were taken from the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. They were all taken from the nations that God told the children of Israel that they were not to intermarry with. And we find later on in that chapter that Solomon’s wives led him astray and that he turned his heart after other god’s.

Great wealth does not provide the security and happiness that comes with walking close to the Lord in all our ways and knowing that He shall direct our paths. (Proverbs 3:5&6) Solomon was a man with vast wisdom, and if he could not fare up under the influence of his many riches, how dare I be envious of all that the wicked have and think for a moment that I could do better? There are rich successful Christians in this world that have learned the secret of acknowledging God in all their ways, and trusting in His word as their means to becoming prosperous and of good success. (Joshua 1:8) But for many, vast riches would be their downfall.

No doubt that there are things that money just can’t buy. If you have ever led a soul to Christ then you know that there is a certain joy, and peace, and feeling of victory that you experience with that. Money can’t buy that kind of feeling of spiritual happiness. There is a certain joy, and peace, and victory that comes with witnessing specific steps that occur in the life of our children or a newly born child of God that money can’t buy, and the world can’t give it to you. So we need to “Rest in the Lord. And wait patiently for him:” as noted in verse 7 of our text.

We are told to cease from anger, and forsake wrath, and again we are told to fret not. “Fret not thyself in any wise to do evil” as noted in verse 8. Evildoers will be cut off and shall be no more, but the meek shall inherit the earth.

Doesn’t verse 12 speak well of the way that things are in our society today? The wicked plot against us, and they gnash upon us with their teeth. We are so hated by the world and this system of corruption, and greed, that the wicked scheme against us and take every opportunity to attack us and tear us down in any way that they can. But we were warned of this by Christ when He told us that the world would hate us, because the world had hated Him first. (John 15:18) Why else do they hate us? Because we are a reminder to them that there is a God who will someday judge the works of men. They hate seeing us happy in what little that we have, because they are not satisfied with all that they have gained through their greed and wicked ways. They crave more, and they have no true peace, they have no true joy. They just have things that will in time be destroyed by moth, and rust and corruption or decay, and thieves break through and steal. (Matthew 6:19 and 20) We are told in verse 16 of our text. “A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.”

The arms or strength of the wicked shall be broken or brought to naught as noted in verse 17. “But the Lord upholdeth (or carries us the righteous with His full support and power.) ”And our “inheritance shall be forever. And we shall be satisfied in the days of famine.” (verses 18 and 19)

I like what it says in verses 23 thru 25:

23The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.

24Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.

25I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

We have a body of flesh that can be tempted. And at times that flesh will bring us down. But we will not be utterly cast down because we have a loving Father that will reach out to us and lift us up when we are sinking in the rough seas of this world of sin. He did it for Peter and He will do it for us. Praise the Lord and amen!

And when those days come upon us we are to depart or forsake evil and do good by taking all of our cares and worries to the Lord. (verse 27 and 1 Peter 5:7) “For the Lord loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved forever.” (verse29 of our text)

As long as the law of our God is in our hearts we shall be able to stand firm in the day of trouble and we shall not be moved. (As suggested by the words in verse 31 and in Psalm 17:5 which reads: “Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.”)

IN CLOSING:

In verses 35 – 40 of our text we read:

35I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.

36Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.

37Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.

38But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.

39But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble.

40And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.

Fret not thyself because of evildoers my friend, because the Lord is our God and Savior for “he hath made us, and we are not ourselves; (or not our own) we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.” (Psalm 100:3)

“The Lord is on my side: I will not fear: what can man do unto me? (Psalms 118:6)

And all of God’s people said – Amen!

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