DON’T FRET PART 6
The fall of the wicked;
The blessing of the righteous.
This sermon series is also subtitled, “God’s answers to real life problems.”
Psalm 37:27-33 TNIV – 27 Turn from evil and do good; then you will dwell in the land forever. 28 For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. Wrongdoers will be completely destroyed ; the offspring of the wicked will perish. 29 The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever. 30 The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak what is just. 31 The law of their God is in their hearts; their feet do not slip. 32 The wicked lie in wait for the righteous, seeking their very lives; 33 but the LORD will not leave them in their power or let them be condemned when brought to trial.
This is a Psalm of David, written toward the end of his life. David shares with the readers of this Psalm some wisdom of someone advanced in years, who has walked with God. He shared with us throughout this Psalm some truths that he learned in life. Here he states that at times it seems that the wicked prosper in their wickedness, while the righteous sometimes endured hardship because of wickedness. And in this lesson he learned, he is teaching us not to fret because of the prosperity of the wicked.
It is so very easy to fret at the temporal prosperity of the wicked, is it not? Hopefully you have learned in this series that our faith is not in our temporal circumstances; but in our eternal faithful God.
This morning, let’s look at how our text contrasts the wicked and the righteous. By looking, we can be encouraged to not fret, but trust in God.
The fall of the wicked.
- The first thing I want us to notice from the text is that the wicked long to destroy the righteous.
Psalm 37:32 TNIV – The wicked lie in wait for the righteous, seeking their very lives.
Please don’t be angry at the wicked for this, they are taking after their father – the devil.
1 Peter 5:8 TNIV – Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
Satan is always watching and alert toward believers, not just to tempt them to fall, but to accuse them when they do fall.
His children are the same way. They are watching, lying in wait at some chance to see believers fall or accuse them of some failure. It is part of their character, and unless God does a work and changes their hearts, that is just they way they are going to act.
Notice what it says elsewhere in Psalms.
Psalms 10:8-9 TNIV – 8 They lie in wait near the villages; from ambush they murder the innocent. Their eyes watch in secret for their victims; 9 like a lion in cover they lie in wait. They lie in wait to catch the helpless; they catch the helpless and drag them off in their nets.
- The plans of the wicked will fail and they themselves will be destroyed.
Psalm 37:28b TNIV – Wrongdoers will be completely destroyed ; the offspring of the wicked will perish.
Many times they will be destroyed by their own plans and snares that they set up to trap the righteous.
Proverbs 18:7 TNIV – The mouths of fools are their undoing, and their lips are a snare to their very lives.
Proverbs 21:6 TNIV – A fortune made by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare.
The blessing of the righteous.
- Who are the righteous? The ones who have repented of their evil ways.
Psalms 37:27 TNIV – Turn from evil and do good; then you will dwell in the land forever.
The difference between the righteous and the wicked is God has put it into the heart of the righteous to turn from their wicked ways, turn to God and be saved by God’s amazing grace, not their works.
Ephesians 2:8-10 TNIV – 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
We do good works because of God’s grace; we don’t do good works, then receive God’s grace. We receive God’s grace while we are still sinners, then we are changed by the grace we received to do good works.
Notice in verse 27 of our text it says that if we do turn from evil and do good, we will dwell in the land forever. This is a promise of security. No matter the prosperity of the wicked and the suffering we may endure; these things cannot remove us from the care of the Lord.
- One blessing that the righteous receive is the love of the Lord.
Psalm 37:28a TNIV – For the LORD loves the just.
Now the NIV and the TNIV says something different than almost any other translation says. Most the others say: “The LORD loves justice”; or “The LORD loves judgment.” Well, which one is right here? Well, ultimately, arguments can be made for both renditions. In Hebrew word does mean, “Justice, or Judgment.” It can also mean, “Pronounced, favorable justice or judgment.” or, “a judgment that has been vocally pronounced in the person’s favor that is being judged.”
Think about this for a moment. We all deserve to be judged by God as “guilty.” We were born in sin, we lived in sin, and even after we became believers, we still struggle with sin. But God looks down and favorable gives us the verdict of “Innocent of all charges brought against them!” Why? All because of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 3:20-26 TNIV – 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. 21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
- The Lord will not forsake the righteous.
Psalm 37:28a TNIV – The LORD love the just will not forsake his faithful ones.
The Lord will not forsake us; Why? Because we are the work of His hands, and though we are imperfect and may at times fret over the apparent triumph of the wicked, God will not forsake the work He has started in us, but will keep working until What He has purposed for us is completed.
Philippians 1:6 TNIV – being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
- Out of the mouth of the righteous will come the Lord’s wisdom.
Psalm 37:30 TNIV – The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak what is just.
What are the wise words that the Psalmist is talking about here? Well, as God’s word becomes alive in our hearts through the fiery trials that we face, instead of being fretful, we begin to speak His truth. His Word that we have studied, and listened to proclaimed will become like fire shut up in our bones like it did for the Old Testament prophet, and we can’t help but proclaim God’s Word.
How does this happen?
- It happens because God writes His law in our hearts and keeps us from falling.
Psalm 37:31 TNIV – The law of their God is in their hearts; their feet do not slip.
Martin Luther had a saying, “Rest in the Lord; with patiently for Him…Keep still and He will mold thee to the right shape.”
God molds us by writing His law in our hearts, and taking out our heart of stone and giving us a heart of flesh, that He can mold and shape.
Ezekiel 11:19-20 TNIV – 19 I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. 20 Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.
- The Lord will not allow the wicked to overcome the righteous forever.
Psalm 37:33 TNIV – but the LORD will not leave them in their power or let them be condemned when brought to trial.
The wicked may prosper over the righteous for a brief moment, but it will soon fade away. God is at our right hand, defending our cause.
Psalm 109:31 TNIV – For he stands at the right hand of the needy, to save their lives from those who would condemn them.
- The righteous have a great inheritance awaiting us.
Psalm 37:29 TNIV – The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever.
Our inheritance is the same of Abraham’s: A city whose builder and maker is God. It will not fade away, it will not die. It is an eternal inheritance to the saint who perseveres to the end.
As we conclude this morning, I hope you now see the futility of fretting over the prosperity of the wicked over the righteous in this life. God is watching over us His children. He has given us a new heart to replace that cold, sinful heart of stone. He is writing His Law and Word in our hearts, so that out of our hearts will come His wisdom. He will not allow the temporal prosperity of wickedness to continue forever; and God is defending our cause.
Like the Apostle Paul, we can say, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”