Psalm 37 - The Eternal Inheritance

INTRODUCTION: This Psalm combines instruction and encouragement for believers to consider how they can live in the righteousness provided to them by the LORD God. The judgment for those who follow evil ways, and the promises given to those who trust God are expressed in terms that could apply to a present time for the reader. However, careful consideration of the whole context indicates the period of unending peace is yet to come. Similar passages in the New Testament give further evidence of the Lord's timing in all matters. Those who have become children of God should seek ways to serve him with a pure heart because of his mercy and grace. The new heavens and earth will be the eternal inheritance for those made righteous in Christ, our Savior and Lord!

NOTE: bible verses are from the American KJV.


A - DO NOT WORRY ABOUT OR ENVY THOSE WHO REJECT GOD

Psalm 37 "1 Fret not yourself because of evildoers, neither be you envious against the workers of iniquity. 2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. 3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shall you dwell in the land, and truly you shall be fed. 4 Delight yourself also in the LORD: and he shall give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. 6 And he shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your judgment as the noonday."

COMMENTS: True children of the LORD should not worry or be agitated by the number of people all around who practice evil ways; and they should not at all envy the status or wealth those people may be enjoying. Many who honor God may have very little by material standards, but existence for all people in this physical world is truly brief compared with eternity. Therefore, it is far better to demonstrate trust in the Lord by doing those things that will honor his name. Take delight in the Lord for he has prepared an inheritance for his called ones, and that will fulfill the desires of your heart. Trust the Lord as you commit the pathway of your life to him, and he will complete his plan for you in righteousness that will shine like the noon day sun.

. Another Psalm confirms judgment to the wicked and reward for those who trust in him. Psalm 34 "21 Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate. 22 The LORD redeems the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate." Paul's first letter to Timothy contains similar counsel for believers in Christ. 1 Timothy 6 "6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 11 But you, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness."


B - THOSE WHO WAIT FOR THE LORD WILL INHERIT THE EARTH

Psalm 37 "7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not yourself because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass. 8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not yourself in any wise to do evil. 9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait on the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. 10 For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yes, you shall 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."

COMMENTS: The psalmist advised believers to develop a calm spirit while truly resting patiently in the Lord; and to guard against feelings of anger, annoyance, or hostility that could lead to evil words or actions. Remember that they who wait upon the Lord will inherit the earth while those who persist in evil will be completely cut off. There will be an abundance of peace for those who are willing to wait for a promise only fully realized in the time set by the Lord. In order to quiet our hearts about what a "little while" means for the Lord, we can consider two passages from the New Testament.

2 Peter 3 "8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12 Looking for and hastening to the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness."

Hebrews 10 "35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which has great recompense of reward. 36 For you have need of patience, that, after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise. 37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry."


C - PRESENT POSSESSIONS CAN'T COMPARE WITH ETERNAL INHERITANCE

Psalm 37 "12 The wicked plots against the just, and gnashes on him with his teeth. 13 The LORD shall laugh at him: for he sees 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 has is better than the riches of many wicked. 17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the LORD upholds the righteous. The LORD knows 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."

COMMENTS: It is far better to have little in this world as one who has been made righteous by the Lord, than to have abundant wealth and remain apart from the Lord. The Lord laughs at those who reject him and plot violence against those who turn to him in faith. The wicked will not escape final judgment, but the Lord upholds the righteous and their inheritance will be forever. All that the world has to offer an individual, apart from serving God, has no lasting value. Those who humbly place their trust in God for salvation of the soul can be confident he will bring it to pass regardless of any circumstances.

The Lord Jesus made it very clear that salvation of the soul is more valuable than all else, and it can never be purchased from God in any manner. Mark 8 "36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? 37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 Whoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."


D - THOSE WHO TRUST GOD SHOULD BE GENEROUS AND MERCIFUL

Psalm 37 "21 The wicked borrows, and pays not again: but the righteous shows mercy, and gives. 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 delights in his way. 24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholds him with his hand. 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 lends; and his seed is blessed. 27 Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for ever more. 28 For the LORD loves judgment, and forsakes not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off."

COMMENTS: Those who have been made righteous by the mercy of the Lord should in turn be merciful to share their resources with other people who have need. Looking ahead to inherit the earth by the blessing of the Lord makes it much easier not to hold on to material wealth in the present time. The Lord sets in order all the stages and passages of life for those who have placed their trust in him, and the Lord takes delight in doing so. Though there may be periods of great difficulty, the Lord will continue to lead his saints by his hand. The Lord will not forsake them as they avoid evil and seek to do good. They can be confident they will be preserved for ever more, while the wicked will be utterly cut off.

Jesus taught about the way of life for those who receive him as Lord, and look ahead to the Kingdom of Heaven, . Matthew 5 "1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came to him: 2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, 3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."


E - WAIT ON THE LORD AND KEEP HIS WAYS

Psalm 37 "29 The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever. 30 The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, and his tongue talks of judgment. 31 The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide. 32 The wicked watches the righteous, and seeks 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 you to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, you shall see it. 35 I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. 36 Yet he passed away, and, see, he was not: yes, I sought him, but he could not be found. 37 Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace. 38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off. 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."

COMMENTS: Throughout this Psalm there is the promise that the righteous shall inherit the earth or the land, (verses 9, 11, 22, 29,and 34). The psalmist states that the law of God is in the heart of the righteous, and though the wicked may persecute them because of words of wisdom and judgment, they will have a firm footing in the LORD. When the time comes for the wicked to be cut off all together, those who have waited on the LORD and kept his way, will be exalted to inherit the land in peace. Only the saints will be in that eternal place, there will be no unbelievers to be found among them. The salvation of the righteous is completely of the LORD, and he is their strength in the time of trouble. God will eternally deliver and separate the wicked unbelievers from the saints because they trust in him.

For centuries after the writing of Psalm 37 Israel continued to waver from there attempts to serve the LORD while in the land promised to Abraham for an inheritance. The book of Isaiah opens with a list of the series of kings who reigned during the period of his prophetic writing. Isaiah 1 "1 The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. 2 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD has spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. 3 The ox knows his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel does not know, my people does not consider. 4 Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel to anger, they are gone away backward." This next passage from Isaiah's very lengthy writing gives indication that there will be a dramatic change in God's creation of heaven and earth. Isaiah 60 "19 The sun shall be no more your light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light to you: but the LORD shall be to you an everlasting light, and your God your glory. 20 Your sun shall no more go down; neither shall your moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be your everlasting light, and the days of your mourning shall be ended. 21 Your people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified."

When the period of the kings in Israel and Judah ended, the LORD gave them over to captivity by their enemies, and allowed foreign occupation of their land. During that latter period the prophet Jeremiah gave advice about waiting on the LORD. Jeremiah 9 "23 Thus said the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: 24 But let him that glories glory in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD which exercise loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, said the LORD."

how marvelous it is to consider that the LORD continued to enhance the message of Psalm 37 with subsequent scripture over the centuries. After Christ Jesus came in the flesh and dwelt among men, there can be increased joy in reading Psalm 37 with the further clarity of God's plan for an eternal inheritance. The Apostle Paul helps us to wait for the LORD, knowing our natural body will be changed to a spiritual body as part of our inheritance in the LORD. 1 Corinthians 15 "45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46 However, that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47 The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 50 Now this I say, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality."

--- REFLECTIONS IN PRAYER ---

Lord, help me to truly keep the desires of my heart guided by a genuine delight in you, through trust of your full plan for my life with whatever that may include. I don't want to casually expect that I will always have genuine motives for my desires as I go through good times and bad. please give me the strength to avoid the continual distraction of temporal material pleasures, and do not allow me to have unnecessary fear about the evil that is around all who trust in your name. I want to rest in you, LORD, and wait patiently for the inheritance that will bring an abundance of everlasting peace. I want to show mercy to those around me who have needs, by sharing the blessings you bestow on me. Lord, I believe that the steps of a person you have made righteous, are ordered by you, and you delight in that way of life before you. Make me ever ready to do good by being merciful and generous, and lead me away from having evil thoughts or actions. Lord, I believe that you love judgment and will never forsake your saints; they are preserved forever: but all who remain wicked before you shall be cut off forever. I praise you my Savior because the salvation of the righteous is from yu, and for your glory. LORD, you are my strength in the time of trouble, and you shall help me, and save me forever because I have placed my trust in you alone. Hallelujah, amen!

Published 28 June 2017