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With New Testament Eyes: 54 - Eight Great Precepts

By Henry Mahan


      Psalm 37

      The author of this Psalm is David, the time of its writing is in his old age (v. 25), and the subject has to do with the prosperity of the wicked while the people of God suffer affliction and trial.

      This has troubled and perplexed many, as indicated in Psalm 73. This has a Psalm in which the Lord sweetly hushes the complaints of his people and calms their minds concerning his present dealings with them. Briefly, here are some of the questions raised and answered:

      vv. 1-2. Evil doers flourish and prosper like the green grass and the green herb, but they shall soon be cut down and wither like the grass (Isa. 40:6-8).

      vv. 12-13. The wicked hate believers and persecute them; yet the Lord laughs at their opposition (Psalm 2:4), for their day of judgment is coming (Deut. 32:35).

      vv. 14-15. The wicked take advantage of believers and draw their swords to hurt them, but their swords shall enter their own hearts.

      vv. 16-17. Believers seem to have so little, while great are the riches of wicked men; but their riches are temporary and shall fade, while our inheritance is forever.

      v. 20. The enemies of the Lord seem to get fatter and fatter, but it is the fat of 'lambs for the slaughter.' Who envies the pig or the turkey, which is well-fed while being prepared for the slaughter?

      vv. 35-37. The wicked on earth have great power and proudly flaunt that power and greatness like a great tree, but they shall soon pass away and no remembrance of them can be found.

      Mark the believer in Christ; his end is eternal peace.

      vv. 38-40. What is the bottom line? Where is all this settled?

      How are we to be comforted in our trials, while we watch the wicked prosper, flourish, and live in ease? Look at their destruction and final condemnation (Psalm 73:12-17), then look at the grace of God to believers in Christ!

      1. Grace is described--'The salvation of the righteous is of the Lord.'

      2. Grace is summarized--'The Lord is our strength and shall deliver us.'

      3. Grace is characterized--'They trust in him.' In the light of all that has been said, David lays down eight great precepts or directions for God's people.

      1. 'Fret not thyself because of evildoers' (v. 1). Do not burn with jealousy, envy, nor anger over the prosperity of wicked men: they have all now that they shall ever have. They spend their brief days upon earth in ease and riches, but they shall be soon cut down like the weeds. A sight of their terrible end ought to deliver us from envying them; and were it not for God's grace and our Lord's redemption, we would be one of them.

      2. 'Trust in the Lord' (v. 3). Faith in Christ will cure fretting. Our outward conduct depends on our inward attitude and confidence in our God. Trust not men nor riches; they will come to naught (Psalms 146:3-5). Trust in the Lord for pardon, protection, provision, and his wise providence. 'Thou shalt be fed all that is needed (Psalm 37:25; Matt. 6:30-33; Phil. 4:19).

      3. 'Delight thyself in the Lord' (v. 4). He who is commanded not to fret, he who is commanded to trust, is also exhorted to delight in the Lord. In giving up the world we have given up nothing. In Christ Jesus we have all spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3). Like Moses, we know that the reproach of Christ is greater riches than all the treasures of the world (Heb. 11:26). Therefore, we delight in our Lord, we rejoice in him, and we are glad to go into the house of the Lord. We delight in the law of the Lord (Psalm 1:2). We delight to do his will Psalm 40:8). His mercy and comfort delight our souls ( Psalm 94:19). We sit down under his shadow with great delight (Song of Sol. 2-3). 'Godliness with contentment is great gain.'

      4. 'Commit thy way unto the Lord' (v. 5). Cast away anxiety, worry, and fear. 'Cast your care upon him for he careth for you' (1 Peter 5:7). Roll the whole burden of life and eternity upon the Lord, like the farmer who plows the field, plants the seed, and leaves the harvest to the Lord; for what else can he do? Trust him, for he will bring it to pass.

      5. 'Rest in the Lord' (v. 7). When God completed the creation of the world, it is said that he rested. This is not a rest from weariness, but simply declaring that there was no more to do-- creation was finished! Our Lord Jesus entered into his rest having finished the work of redemption (Heb. 4:10). Let us strive to enter into his rest. Cease from fretting, laboring, and doubting and rest in him (Matt. 11:28-30). The more one learns of his sufficiency, the greater the rest!

      6. 'Cease from anger' (v. 8). Knowing the good providence of the Lord and his eternal purpose to accomplish our good (Rom. 8:28), we entertain no anger toward his ways. Knowing the ignorance and blindness of natural men and that God is the first cause of all things, we hold no anger nor hate for them (Gen. 50:19-20). Getting even or getting revenge against men is not for us but is in God's hands (Heb. 10:30). Anger does not work God's righteousness (James 1:19-20).

      7. 'Depart from evil' (v. 27). Here is a double precept: 'Depart from evil,' from the world, the flesh, and the devil, and 'do good.' Work the works of righteousness and honesty and adorn the gospel of the Lord Jesus with good works that men may glorify our Father in heaven.

      8. 'Wait on the Lord' (v. 34). He who truly trusts in the Lord and delights in the Lord will rest in the Lord and wait on God's time for all things. Do not bind God to a day or a way. Spurgeon said, 'Wait on the Lord in obedience as a servant, wait in hope as an heir, and wait in expectation as a believer.' 'He shall exalt thee to inherit the land.'

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See Also:
   Foreward & Acknowledgements
   1 - The Fall
   2 - Abel's Offering
   3 - The Ark Of Noah
   4 - Sarah and Hagar; Law and Grace
   5 - The Lord Will Provide
   6 - A Bride for the Heir
   7 - Bethel - The House of God
   8 - Peniel - The Face of God
   9 - Joseph Opens the Storehouses
   10 - Joseph and His Brothers
   11 - Shiloh
   12 - The Passover
   13 - The Manna
   14 - Water from the rock
   15 - The Blood Before the Lord
   16 - The Ram of Consecration
   17 - The Day of Atonement
   18 - Caleb - The Faithful Dog
   19 - The High Priest Intercedes
   20 - The Brazen Serpent
   21 - A Prophet Like Moses
   22 - The Cities of Refuge
   23 - Joshua
   24 - The Scarlet Line in the Window
   25 - The birth of Samson
   26 - The Kinsman Redeemer
   27 - The Song of Hannah
   28 - Give us a King
   29 - Saul's Great Sin
   30 - David and Mephibosheth
   31 - Why God Permitted David to Fall
   32 - Comfort from God's Covenant
   33 - I Will Not Offer to God that which Cost me Nothing
   34 - The Queen of Sheba Comes to Solomon
   35 - Three Examples of Faith
   36 - Where is the Lord God of Elijah?
   37 - Empty Vessels Filled
   38 - Naaman, the Leper
   39 - Open his Eyes that He may See
   40 - Four Lepers Teach us a Lesson
   41 - Nehushtan--A Piece of Brass
   42 - Bringing Back the Ark
   43 - Uzziah's Great Transgression
   44 - Four Things Learned in Trouble
   45 - How Can Man be Just With God?
   46 - Three Vital Questions
   47 - I Know that my Redeemer Liveth
   48 - Now Mine Eye Seeth Thee
   49 - The Psalm of Messiah the King
   50 - God's two great books
   51 - The Psalm of the Cross
   52 - The Lord is my Shepherd
   53 - True God - True Israel - True Redeemer
   54 - Eight Great Precepts
   55 - My Hope is in Thee
   56 - Many, O Lord, Are Thy Wonderful Works
   57 - A Song of Love
   58 - The Sinner's Prayer
   59 - My Rock and my Salvation
   60 - Our Lord's Sufferings for Our Sins
   61 - Mercy and Truth are Met Together
   62 - The Victory of the Messiah
   63 - Bless the Lord, O my Soul
   64 - Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say So
   65 - The King-Priest
   66 - The Chief Cornerstone
   67 - The Observer and the Observed
   68 - Praise the Lord O my Soul
   69 - Wisdom in Christ
   70 - The Conclusion of the Whole Matter
   71 - Remember Now Thy Creator
   72 - My Beloved is Mine and I am His
   73 - What is Thy Beloved more than Another Beloved?
   74 - The Lord Our Righteousness
   75 - The Believers Hope
   76 - From Nothing to Everything
   77 - Lost, Driven Away, Broken, Sick
   78 - Can These Bones Live?
   79 - Four Things God Taught Nebuchadnezzar
   80 - Thy God Will Deliver Thee
   81 - Hosea--Type of Christ
   82 - A Famine to be Feared
   83 - Salvation is of the Lord
   84 - A Fountain Opened for Mourners
   85 - The Messenger of the Covenant

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