This is the sermon for Sunday morning, July 12th, 2009.
DON’T FRET PART 2
Commitment and Hope.
This sermon series is also subtitled, “God’s answers to real life problems.”
Right now, our nation and the world for that matter, are looking in so many places for answers to life’s problems. We live in very fearful and fret-filled times.
For the believer though, we are instructed by Scripture in so many places that we are to be courageous, not fearful, and not fret.
Believers in Jesus have answers to life’s problems – and one of the places that gives us some answers in found in Psalm 37. Now the answers that Psalm 37 gives are wise counsel in how to live our lives in a world of evil; it is not the easy believe-ism that many people want. But it is the encouragement to continue doing what God commands and follow Him.
Now let us read from our text and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to us this morning.
Psalm 37:5-9 TNIV – 5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: 6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. 7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. 8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. 9 For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.
Commitment brings trust in an untrustworthy world.
Psalm 37:5-6 TNIV – 5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: 6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.
Notice that the passage states not to trust God first, but to commit to Him first. Sometimes we want God to do things for us and then we state we will trust Him. God simply says, “Trust me – Period!” The amazing thing happens: when we commit to Him, we will begin to trust Him.
Now why is the Psalmist saying to commit to God and trust in Him? Well, the theme of Psalm 37 is the prosperity of the wicked and the oppression of the righteous. Looking at the surface of things: it doesn’t seem right that the wicked prosper. But our commitment is not to what we see, but to the God who is maker both of the wicked and the righteous – He is God over those who hate Him and His church and seemingly prosper in their wickedness; and He is God over the saint that is oppressed and struggling.
Notice what Proverbs says concerning the rich and the poor.
Proverbs 22:2 TNIV – Rich and poor have this in common: The LORD is the Maker of them all.
As we commit our way to God and trust Him in this untrustworthy world, verse 5 states, “He will do this”, or some translations say, “He will act.” Then verse 6 tells us what the act is:
Psalm 37:6 TNIV – He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.
Suffering is only temporary. If you commit your way to God and trust in Him in the midst of the horrible situation you may be in – You will be vindicated! You will be rewarded! And this vindication and reward will come like the dawning of the new day’s sun.
Church, your struggle is only temporary – there’s a new day of vindication and reward coming for the believer!
Be encouraged by these two Scriptures this morning.
Proverbs 16:3 TNIV – Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.
Psalm 55:22 TNIV – Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.
Let’s now move on to the next point.
Commitment and trust is shown in our waiting patiently before the Lord.
Psalm 37:7 TNIV – Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.
This verse starts off by stating that we should “be still before the Lord.” The Hebrew word for “be still” means, “to rest, to cease from striving, to quiet oneself, to sit.”
Sometimes we want vengeance, we want God to move in our behalf and move now. We want justice and want it immediately. But when we commit our way to the Lord and begin to trust Him, we know that God truly is in control and Sovereign. Since we know this truth, we can rest in Him.
The phrase, “Wait patiently” is rather interesting in Hebrew. It’s a rather unusual word. It can also mean, “To dance about, to twirl, to hope, to trust, to be wounded, to wait carefully.”
Very unusual words for this Hebrew word. Let’s just look at a few of these.
• Dance, and twirl. This tells me that the waiting is not to feel sorry for oneself, but in your waiting rejoice and worship the Lord. We find this in a New Testament story of the Apostle Paul. Paul and Silas had just cast an evil spirit out of a girl, and the crowd, manipulated by the men making a profit from this girls supposed psychic ability, gets angry. Paul and Silas are beaten and thrown into prison. Things were definitely not going their way. But notice that Paul and Silas were doing the very thing this passage states, and look at the result.
Acts 16:25-26 TNIV – 25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.
• Hope. This word means expectation. You are waiting patiently before the Lord because you are expecting Him to honor His Word.
• Wounded. This one we don’t like too much, do we. We don’t want to be wounded. But sometimes being wounded by the Lord is just what we need, so that we can turn to Him and He forgive and heal us.
Job 5:17-18 TNIV – 17 “Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. 18 For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal.
Proverbs 27:5-6 TNIV – 5 Better is open rebuke than hidden love. 6 Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.
Hebrews 12:5-7 TNIV – 5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as children? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his child.” 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?
Now verse 7 again states that we should not fret when wicked people succeed in their ways. You see, true commitment and trust in the Lord will teach us through His discipline not to fret.
Let’s now move on to the last portion of our text.
Commitment and trust in the Lord turns from anger and wrath.
Psalm 37:8-9 TNIV – 8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. 9 For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.
When we truly commit our way to the Lord and are learning to trust Him through the trying times of others wronging us, though we may get angry and want to lash out, we will turn from it.
One sign that we are fretting is actually found here in this verse – it leads to evil. We will begin to become like our persecutors: We will live in anger and become bitter, vengeful, and act in wrath toward them.
Though these thoughts and temptations are going to be there, we must commit our way to the Lord, trust Him, and rest in Him and allow whatever discipline He may be doing have its work in our lives.
Ultimately, evil will no longer triumph, but be destroyed, but those who hope in God will receive their reward.
Fellow believers in Christ – this world hates us. This should be an accepted truth. But let’s not respond back in hatred, but commit our way to the Lord and trust Him. Let’s rest in Him and allow Him to work out whatever He is working in us. This affliction we are enduring is only for a moment, but His reward is eternal.
Let me close with what Paul stated in one of his writings, it is appropriate to this message.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 TNIV – 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.