Keep It Cool

Up until this morning, I would have said it was one of my favorite psalms. But a light goes on as I hover over David’s song and I realize that it’s more like a psalm that contains some of my favorite verses.

Trust in the Lord and do what is good;
dwell in the land and live securely.
Take delight in the Lord,
and He will give you your heart’s desires.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in Him, and He will act . . .
Be silent before the Lord 
and wait expectantly for Him . . .
Wait for the Lord and keep His way,
and He will exalt you to inherit the land.

(Psalm 37:3-5, 7a, 34a CSB)

Trust, delight, commit, be silent, and wait. A set of verses that have been familiar since they were first brought before me in a sermon I heard decades ago as a young man. Favorite verses. Yet, as I realize this morning, most often plucked out of context and applied as needed (especially the “delight yourself” one).

So what turned the light on this morning? Again, a rendering of the original unique to the CSB. A thrice-repeated command that I think I have usually overlooked in the past. Whereas previously I might have skimmed past “fret”, this morning I’m arrested by “agitated.”

Do not be agitated by evildoers
do not envy those who do wrong. . .
do not be agitated by one
who prospers in his way . . .
Refrain from anger and give up your rage:
do not be agitated — it can only bring harm.

(Psalm 37:1, 7b, 8 CSB)

Agitated. Seems more intense than “fret”, the rendering in the ESV, NASB, NIV, and NKJV. Literally, “don’t get yourself all heated up.” Don’t “glow”, don’t “burn”, don’t be vexed unto anger. Or, perhaps putting it another way, do the opposite, keep it cool.

A command to obey. Repeated three times — that’s like shouting in Scripture. So obey it. Don’t be agitated. Keep it cool.

The context? That’s what makes the difference between favorite verses and a most helpful psalm, the context. And the context is instruction on how to respond to an injustice. Not the sort of injustice that finds you getting the short end of the stick, but the kind of injustice when someone pokes you in the eye with the stick. You’ve been wronged with a grievous wrong. Slandered with reckless slander. Disgraced at large with disinformation. So, what are you gonna do?

Well, start first with what you’re not gonna do. Do not be agitated. Do not fret. Do not get all worked up and, if you do, don’t stay all worked up. And how are you not gonna do that? Keep it cool. And just how you supposed to do that? Cue my favorite verses.

Trust in the Lord. Delight yourself in the Lord. Commit your way to the Lord. Be silent (or still) before the Lord. Wait for the Lord. These, it seems to me, are the “to do’s” when you’ve been wronged. Your focus rather than brooding over the injustice. Your conscious actions instead of thinking you can somehow bring about justice.

Keeping it cool happens when I trust, delight, commit, be still and wait for the One who ensures justice to bring about justice. In His time, even when it’s not fast enough for me. And, in His way, even if that way involves the pouring out of grace and love where grace and love aren’t deserved. (Thank God, for grace and love being poured out on those who don’t deserve it . . . of whom I am chief).

Hmm . . . Do not be agitated. Perhaps easier said than done. But I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Php. 4:13). Yes?

Keep it cool.

By His grace. For His glory.

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1 Response to Keep It Cool

  1. Cary says:

    I’ve been there, and have been praying for you.

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