Fret Not Yourself

They are like old friends. Verses that I haven’t read for probably a year. But they were implanted within me as a young believer and have been part of me ever since. While our formal interactions may not be frequent, every time we reconnect, we just pick up where we left off.

Trust in the LORD . . .
Delight yourself in the LORD . . .
Commit your way to the LORD . . .
Be still before the LORD . . .

(Psalm 37:3,4,5,7 ESV)

This morning, though, I’m struck by the fact that they are commands to obey within a command to obey. More specifically, exhortations in support of a dehortation (yeah, that’s really a word . . . an archaic word . . . but it’s a word). To do’s in support of a “not to do.”

Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! . . . fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.

(Psalm 37:1, 7b-8 ESV)

Fret not yourself. That’s what I’m chewing on this morning.

Literally, don’t grow hot. Don’t “glow warm” with vexation. Don’t get wound around the axle. Over what? The apparent, temporal, injustice of evildoers who seem to prosper in their way. How come? ‘Cause it tends only to evil.

No matter how righteous we think our wrath, or how appropriate our anger, we’re not really in the position to eliminate evil or avenge the ways of those who carry out evil devices. I’m not saying we don’t stand for what’s right, seek to address what’s wrong, and care about those impacted by the ways of wicked men. But David, led by the Spirit, says we’re not to be consumed with heartburn because of it. It tends only to evil.

Instead, trust in the LORD. Delight yourself in the One who loves justice (37:28). Commit your way to the One who has promised “a future for the man of peace” and to cut off the future of the wicked (37:37-38). And be still before the One who upholds the righteous (37:17) and has promised that “the meek shall inherit the land” (37:11).

Again, not saying we are not to care about injustice. No, we are to do justly and love mercy — but we are also to walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8). The LORD is the judge of all the earth. He will bring about justice in His time and in His way.

So, fret not yourself. But trust in the LORD. Delight yourself in the LORD. Commit your way to the LORD. Be still before the LORD.

Yes, LORD!

By Your grace. For Your glory.

Until next year, my friends . . .

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1 Response to Fret Not Yourself

  1. Cary says:

    It’s like breakfast, something to chew on each morning. To let the Lord handle the judgement of those who do evil. I must commit each day to ” be still before the LORD…”

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