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January 17, 2020

Please read today’s Scriptures and use the comment section on this page to share your insights from today’s reading. You can also just mention a verse that impacted you or post a question!

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Read (and Hear) the Bible in One Year
New American Standard Bible for 2020

Text: Genesis 48-50
Audio: Genesis 48-50

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Psalm 37 (ESV)

Of David.

Fret not yourself because of evildoers;
    be not envious of wrongdoers!
For they will soon fade like the grass
    and wither like the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
    dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself 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 act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
    and your justice as the noonday.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
    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.
For the evildoers shall be cut off,
    but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.

10 In just a little while, the wicked will be no more;
    though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.
11 But the meek shall inherit the land
    and delight themselves in abundant peace.

12 The wicked plots against the righteous
    and gnashes his teeth at him,
13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
    for he sees that his day is coming.

14 The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows
    to bring down the poor and needy,
    to slay those whose way is upright;
15 their sword shall enter their own heart,
    and their bows shall be broken.

16 Better is the little that the righteous has
    than the abundance of many wicked.
17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,
    but the Lord upholds the righteous.

18 The Lord knows the days of the blameless,
    and their heritage will remain forever;
19 they are not put to shame in evil times;
    in the days of famine they have abundance.

20 But the wicked will perish;
    the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures;
    they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.

21 The wicked borrows but does not pay back,
    but the righteous is generous and gives;
22 for those blessed by the Lord shall inherit the land,
    but those cursed by him shall be cut off.

23 The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
    when he delights in his way;
24 though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,
    for the Lord upholds his hand.

25 I have been young, and now am old,
    yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
    or his children begging for bread.
26 He is ever lending generously,
    and his children become a blessing.

27 Turn away from evil and do good;
    so shall you dwell forever.
28 For the Lord loves justice;
    he will not forsake his saints.
They are preserved forever,
    but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
29 The righteous shall inherit the land
    and dwell upon it forever.

30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom,
    and his tongue speaks justice.
31 The law of his God is in his heart;
    his steps do not slip.

32 The wicked watches for the righteous
    and seeks to put him to death.
33 The Lord will not abandon him to his power
    or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial.

34 Wait for the Lord and keep his way,
    and he will exalt you to inherit the land;
    you will look on when the wicked are cut off.

35 I have seen a wicked, ruthless man,
    spreading himself like a green laurel tree.
36 But he passed away, and behold, he was no more;
    though I sought him, he could not be found.

37 Mark the blameless and behold the upright,
    for there is a future for the man of peace.
38 But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed;
    the future of the wicked shall be cut off.

39 The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;
    he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.
40 The Lord helps them and delivers them;
    he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
    because they take refuge in him.


English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

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Next: Psalm 38

Back: Psalm 36

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This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. Fret not yourself because of evildoers;
        be not envious of wrongdoers! (Psalm 37:1) 

    Envious of Wrongdoers?

    In the opening verse of today's psalm, David makes the points that:

    1. Followers of God should not fret because of evildoers
    2. Followers of God should not be envious of wrongdoers
     
    As we have previously seen throughout the psalms thus far, David is not only a wanted man but has been hunted like a wild animal. He has written of his experiences both from the perspective of the danger he was in and the refuge he found in the Lord while in danger.

    The first point of not fretting because of evildoers makes sense as we can trust and rely on the Lord to be our refuge and strength in harms way. But why would David write that followers of God should not be envious of wrongdoers? What's to be envious of the wicked?

    Part of the answer is found in the verses of this psalm which focus on the temporary success and gains the wicked experience in this life while the godly often experience painful struggles and times of need. While the wicked steal and take advantage of people, God's people are generous (Psalm 37:21). 

    If we highly value financial success, we could become envious of those who have a lot of money (and all that comes with it). If evildoers have nice houses and cars, and go on vacations and live a life of luxury, we might feel like we got the short end of the stick if we struggle to make ends meet.

    This could produce envy in us.

    But if followers of God value God and His glory more than the things of this world, we will be content in all things. Our successes won't define us nor will our lack thereof because God's glory is our ultimate blessing whether or not we have a lot or we don't have enough!

    Lamentations 3:24 says, "'The LORD is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I will hope in him.'"

    Psalm 73:26 says, "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

    When Paul wrote to the Philippian church about rejoicing in the Lord at all times and the blessing of experiencing the peace that surpasses all understanding, the Holy Spirit inspired him to write, "Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:11-13). 

    Have you found genuine contentment in all things?

    Is God really your portion?

    Is He truly the strength of your heart?


    ~ Puritan Prayer ~

    "Grace to Light Our Lives" by Philip Doddridge

    "Lead us, O Lord, in the way everlasting. Make us resemble our great Master, more and more, as we show grace to others.

    Sanctify our hearts by your grace, that we may be as trees bearing good fruit, or like fountains of pure streams. That is the path to lay up good treasure—it is the way for holiness and compassion to spring forth in freedom, to refresh and give life to everyone around us.

    May your grace animate our souls, Lord. May nothing stand in the way of faithfulness even to death, or deprive us of the crown of life your grace has promised.

    Preserve us from that kind of guilt and ruin, God! Your kingdom has come to us, and its privileges. May we never abuse them and be cast down to hell, but may divine grace open our hearts to the gospel.

    May we receive all those who faithfully proclaim your word, and welcome them in the name of Jesus. Amen."

    (Excerpt taken from Piercing Heaven: Prayers of the Puritans)

  2. Reading Psalm 37, it is so easy for me to focus on the verses I've read and heard often in years past. They are the verses that promise good things to the righteous: blessings such as having the desires of my heart, or being protected and provided for, or having eternal life while the wicked perish.

    But this morning I worked to read carefully every word of Psalm 37, and this passage drew my attention several times: 

    "The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows
        to bring down the poor and needy,
        to slay those whose way is upright;
    their sword shall enter their own heart,
        and their bows shall be broken.

    Better is the little that the righteous has
        than the abundance of many wicked."

    I love the picture of the early church, where Christians "sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need." (Acts 4:46)

    Many people read just those verses think Christians should do that for everyone who comes to us with a financial need. But when we read the entire passage in Acts 2:42-47, as well as the rest of the New Testament, we see this is about the body of Christ.

    The people helping and being helped in the church were TOGETHER, and were part of the community and fellowship of believers. These weren't people in the general community who were coming to the church and asking for/receiving handouts. They were in daily relationship with the church and members of the body:

    "The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I have no need of you,' nor again the head to the feet, 'I have no need of you.' …But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it." 1 Corinthians 12:12, 21-27

    When we are living in community with those who know us and love us with God's love, as brothers and sisters in Christ, as part of the body of Christ, we are in a place of help for every need, not just an immediate financial need. There is opportunity not only for the sharing of resources, but giving of ourselves to one another in time, in serving and caring for one another, in helping each other, and especially in mutual discipleship and edification. When we are close to one another in relationship, we see the need and we act on it, and not just in provision of financial resources but of help in other ways as well. Because we are members of the same body, there is no room for selfishness and hoarding of resources, and what little we have is given in love, not only for the individual but for the body. 

    I’m so thankful for the many experiences I have had over the years as part of the body of Christ.

     

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