Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Psalm 37- Sermon Notes

Psalm 37 A Psalm of David
Sermon Notes
Fret Not
March 15, 2015
Lynchburg, Virginia

         The Lord continually exhorts and encourages us to trust in Him. The sort of encouragement must come from the Lord because we tend to grow fearful and doubt. This is nothing new. Peter was a bold man and quick to seek Jesus. But he also could be distracted, take his eyes off of Jesus, growing fretful and fearful.
         We, too, walk after Jesus. Amidst the waves of the world, we boldly come to Him by peril of boat or sea. But the waves are distracting. The danger seems imminent. Our eyes of faith grow dim. Like Peter, though, if we call out to Jesus, He will save us. He will neither leave us nor forsake us.
         As we grow up in the faith, we should train ourselves to look upon Jesus with faith. Before we grow fretful, look to the Lord, believing what He has done for us, knowing that He will be faithful in the future as He has been in the past.
         It is immaturity and lack of discipline that keeps us from walking in bold faith. But the Lord would have us grow up and He has supplied us with His Spirit to combat the world, the flesh and the devil.
We, who are in Christ, truly have nothing to fear. And yet, we do fear and this fact reminds us that we have room to grow, that we have a need to be strengthened with might in the inner man.
This Psalm is an exhortation to faith. It teaches us that God is faithful, that He marks the wicked and the righteous and keeps track of them for cursing or for blessing.

Psalm 37:1   Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.  2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. 
Fret not because of evildoers. This is a good exhortation. We generally do a lot of fretting over evildoers. There are evil doers in the news regularly. They include politicians, various criminals, agenda driven media moguls, religious shysters, athletes and movie stars.
They are paraded before us as those who seem to have immunity from consequences. They do evil but continue to prosper. How long, O Lord, shall the wicked prosper?
We are not to envy their prosperity. Some Christians do envy such wicked men and fall because of it. They wish they could sin with impunity and their hearts grow far from God. But God tells us not to envy the wicked. The wicked will have a day of reckoning and their fall shall be great.
They shall be cut down like grass and wither like the green herb. This is to say that their days in the glory shall be short. In just a little while, there will be no reason to envy because their pride will be cut low.

3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.  4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.  5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.  6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. 7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. 
The Psalmist presents the contrast of the attitude of the righteous.
1. Trust in the Lord- The wicked trusts in himself and in his devices. But the righteous trusts in God. He submits God’s advancement of the wicked and his own humble state to God’s divine decree and Providence. He rests in God. Such a man will also rest in the land and rest in God’s provision. You shall dwell in the land and eat
2. Delight in the Lord- The wicked man delights in his own fulfilled desires. He fills up the flesh, either through sensual living, power, or wealth or all of the above. He measures his advancement by how much he has accomplished in his own strength. But his blessing, even if only temporary is also form the Lord. The wicked man will not admit that this is true.
But a godly man desire to please God. God Him will give such a man the desires of his heart. First, if he desires God, then God gives the righteous Himself. God’s Spirit abides with the righteous. The wicked cannot even comprehend this. They do desire peace and rest but they are never able to obtain what they desire.
But a good man knows that to have the Lord is to have all. Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all of these things shall be added unto you
Desire God first and the Lord will bless you with the bounty of the world. Desire the bounty of the world and even that which you have will be taken away from you. You lose God in the process and eventually, you lose everything.
3. Commit to the Lord- Commit and believe and He shall bring it to pass. What is the ‘it’ that the Lord will bring to pass? It is the way that you have committed unto Him. The wicked cut corners. They lie, cheat and steal, so that they can spend their increase on themselves. But the righteous do not do this. They commit their ways to the Lord. They will work to advance God’s good name and will not do so in a way that dishonors God’s name. God takes note of these things. And though the wicked prosper for a day, the same sun the grows the kingdom of the righteous, scorches the plans of the wicked.
4. Rest in the Lord- Don’t be agitated by wicked. Wait patiently. It is difficult for us to learn to wait patiently. As I have grown older, I have learned the great wisdom in waiting. Hasty judgments are almost always ill advised. Give it time. The Lord will work it out. Most problems, with family, or enemies, or struggles, are worked out by God without you having to work them out through machinations.
This rest in the Lord is not given to you merely AFTER you have seen God work. Of course, there is rest then. That sort of rest does not take faith. But the Psalmist is calling us to faith. Rest in God before you have rest. How can you do that? Because God is faithful and so you must grow up and learn this. Be at peace as you wait patiently for God to sort things out. Rest now, rejoice then.

8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.  9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.  10 For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.  11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. 
Be different than the wicked. Do not do evil even in the face of evil. Wait on the Lord’s inheritance. Do not grasp for your own advancement.
But the Lord does give an inheritance. And since the inheritance is from the Lord, it is vast.

12 The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.  13 The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.  14 The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation.  15 Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.  16 A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.  17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the LORD upholdeth the righteous.  18 The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever.  19 They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.  20 But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.
The reason we should trust and rest in the Lord is because He is taking everything into account. We get all agitated by the wicked thinking that the wicked man will get ahead, that he will thwart God’s people or even God, Himself. But we must not do this. We must learn to be more like God. We must take the long view, understanding that the Lord is merely waiting to act. God laughs at the devices of the wicked. Even when the wicked gnashes his teeth at the righteous, the Lord laughs. Why? Because He knows that He is going to fight the wicked man and the wicked shall certainly not prevail against Him.

21   The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.  22 For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.  23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.  24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand. 
A wicked man’s borrowing is theft. He does not intend to repay. His wicked ways shall be cut off by the Lord. But a righteous man will be  upheld by the Lord.
The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord. Note that a good man, walking in the ordered steps of the Lord, may still fall. He stumbles, he trips, he sins, he fails, but he is not forsake of God, he is not utterly cast down. He stumbles but the Lord holds him up. This is not a call to perfectionism, at all. It is a call to lean heavily on Jesus.

25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.  26 He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed. 
The wicked man borrows and does not intend repay. At some point, he uses up any good will that is extended towards him.
A righteous man lends without the expectation of repayment. He is generous. Such a man always finds those who will support him.
He is watched over by God but not only by God. Because he is generous, he and his seed find favor both with God and with men.
You reap what you sow.
Do the righteous beg? Are they starving? Pastor Tana Singaraja illustration. He was pleased to find it was true. Even in the midst of want of jobs and food, the brothers were provided for with both.

27 Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore.  28 For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved forever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.  29 The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever.  30 The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.  31 The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.  32 The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him.  33 The LORD will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged. 34 Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it. 
The righteous are concerned with the law of God. They are not flatterers seeking the approval of man. Thus, they have a standard and are content for God to keep track. They speak wisdom and seek justice. Such men inherit the land. They take dominion through God’s gracious providence.
The wicked watch this and also take note. They cannot inherit so they seek to usurp. They seek to harm the righteous and so receive their inheritance but it shall not be so. When the wicked act, their nature is revealed that they are not sons of the living God. Thus, they shall not inherit.
They shall be cut off.
But the righteous shall inherit. Wait on the Lord, keep His way. He will repay. He is the judge and will repay both the righteous and the wicked.

35 I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.  36 Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found. 
Though the wicked flourish for a time, they will not see the harvest.

37 Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace. 
Contrast this with the perfect man, the upright man. Though he see chaos and suffering for a time, in due time, he will receive the harvest of peace and rest.

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

         Glory Be to God!- This really is about the glory. Our chief end is to glorify God. When God exalts the lowly and humbles the proud, He glorifies Himself. This could not happen except by the hand of God.
         In a worldly system without God, the wicked would be exalted and none could stop them. But God marks them and brings judgment.
         The righteous understand this and know that God has acted. This is one reason why the righteous are called to live by faith. Our eyes see injustice victorious in the short term. But our faith calls us to believe that God also notices and will act in due time.
         At just the right time, Christ died for sinners. Thus, God will act, at just the right time. But we do not always have to ‘merely’ have faith. We see God act. But we do always have to have faith for the future. We know that God will be faithful, so our faith is made strong.

39 But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble.  40 And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.
         Who is he that trusts in the Lord? The same as shall be saved. The Lord is our strength in time of trouble.
         What sort of trouble? All sorts.

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