This is the Sunday morning sermon for July 19th 2009.
DON’T FRET PART 3
Our hope is in the Lord in the midst of wickedness.
This sermon series is also subtitled, “God’s answers to real life problems.”
Psalm 37:10-17 TNIV – 10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. 11 But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity. 12 The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them; 13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming. 14 The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright. 15 But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken. 16 Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked; 17 for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous.
As a believer in Jesus Christ, there are many things in this world that on the surface can cause me to fret. It gets depressing watching the news, there are many people in the world that don’t like believers and they are not afraid to voice this dislike; I don’t like pain, sickness or suffering either for me, friends, church family and of course my immediate family; finances can sometimes be a burden as well.
So there are a lot of things that I and we as believers can fret about if we focus on those things.
However, in Psalm 37 the theme is “Do not fret.” It says this two different times in the chapter. Both times, it is an imperative statement, which means, it is a command of God to His children not to fret.
This chapter deals a lot with the contrast of the wicked and the righteous (in our case, believers in Christ Jesus).
In this morning’s message, we are going to look at the wicked and the righteous and discover some truths concerning what the Lord says in Psalm 37. Prepare your hearts to receive from the Lord this morning.
Truths concerning the wicked.
o The wicked scheme against believers in Christ.
Psalm 37:12 TNIV – The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them.
The Hebrew word for Plot means, “to scheme, to plan, to lie in wait, to purpose, to devise.” I don’t think that this necessarily means that all sinners plot against Christians, although all sinners are wicked. But I feel that these are a select few. These are those who want to see the believer fall; they have an agenda; they are very vocal in their opposition to the church and the Gospel.
More than likely, these are those who have been injured by the church or a Christian in the past sometime, and they are holding a grudge. How do we know they are holding a grudge? Well, v. 12 says, “they gnash their teeth at them.” This is an expression from the Hebrew that describes bitter anger. Bitter anger comes when you have been offended.
So if someone is opposing you and your faith rather vehemently, more than likely they have been possibly injured by you sometime in the past, or maybe by some other believer.
Let’s look at another truth.
o The wicked seek out vengeance and try to injure.
Psalm 37:14 TNIV – The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright.
The bitter feelings of the wicked and their plotting lead to action – they want to hurt and damage believers. In our day, a verbal attack can be just as vicious as a physical attack. You often can be accused of something, and even if there is no truth and no evidence to the accusations, people will believe because it is our nature to believe the worst of people.
But there is good news, we as believers in Christ should not respond back in the same manner toward the wicked, because God is in control of the situation. Let’s look.
The Lord’s response to the plotting and attacks of the wicked.
Psalm 37:13 TNIV – but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming.
The Lord is not fearful or fretful over the plotting and the attacks of the wicked toward His children. In fact, He laughs at their plotting and attacks. This laughing in Hebrew is described as laughing in derision or disgust.
In Psalm 2, we see the Lord laughing in disgust in a similar fashion. In this Psalm, He laughs at the wicked and their plotting and attacks against His Anointed – ultimately this is referring to His Son, Jesus Christ.
Psalm 2:1-4 TNIV – 1 Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? 2 The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the LORD and against his anointed, saying, 3 “Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.” 4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.
And as you can see, the Lord laughs at the plotting and the violent action of the wicked against His children. Why? Well, He knows their day of judgment is coming.
For a few moments, let’s look at what the judgment of the wicked looks like from this text:
The judgment of the wicked.
o God breaks the power of the wicked.
Psalm 37:17a TNIV – for the power of the wicked will be broken.
How does God break the power of the wicked? I personally feel that there might be a clue in Psalm 10.
Psalm 10:15 TNIV – Break the arms of the wicked and the evildoers; call them to account for their wickedness that would not otherwise be found out.
He declares His judgment over the wicked, He breaks their power by making them pay for their evil.
What does this look like?
o The evil they intended injures them.
Psalm 10:15 TNIV – But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken.
Their words spoken to destroy the true believer in Christ will come back and harm them.
o Ultimately, if the wicked to not repent and turn to God, they will be destroyed.
Psalm 37:10 TNIV – A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found.
Psalm 37:9a TNIV – For those who are evil will be destroyed.
Truths concerning the righteous.
o We are sustained by the Lord Himself.
Psalm 37:17b TNIV – the LORD upholds the righteous.
The Lord holds us up; it is His strong arm that sustains us. And because of this fact, we have this next truth:
o The righteous humble themselves before the Lord and receive benefits.
Psalm 37:11 TNIV – But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity.
Jesus quotes this verse in Matthew 5:5. This verse is not talking about necessarily present outcomes, though I do believe the believer in Christ will enjoy Christ’s peace and Christ’s prosperous hand in the midst of persecution.
Ultimately this is dealing with future events, when Christ will come and all evil will be done away with. There will be no more sorrow, no more pain for those who have humbled themselves before the Lord and trusted in His mighty hand in the midst of evil.
I want to close this morning, with the future promise that we believers have that deal with the tribulations and struggles of the righteous. Allow me to read from John’s vision:
Revelation 17:9-17 TNIV – 9 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” 11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying: “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!” 13 Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?” 14 I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore, “they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. 16 ‘Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them,’ nor any scorching heat. 17 For the Lamb at the center before the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’ ”
This morning, lay claim to this promise. We may have to endure the persecution of wicked people for a moment; but our God in heaven scoffs at their attempt to destroy us. He is in control; unless they repent, their day of destruction is coming. Our day is coming as well. A day when there will be no more persecution, sickness, sorrow, and pain; a day when we will stand before our Good Shepherd – Jesus Christ – and God will wipe away every tear from our eyes.