by Mike Ratliff
34 Wait for the Lord and keep His way,
And He will exalt you to inherit the land;
When the wicked are cut off, you will see it. Psalms 37:34 (NASB)
I read a great deal. I also walk through each day “listening” to the message from God from my circumstances, interactions with people, and what I read both in the Bible and from whatever book God has me reading. When it comes time to sit down and put together a message I try to put all of what I have “heard” that day together as I ask God for guidance. I seek scripture that speaks of the “Headline” that God has given me throughout the day. I suppose this is the same thing as God laying a certain message on a preachers heart. In any case, all today I could not get past how God has blessed me and my wife. My joy has been extreme for several days after I taught in Church this last Sunday. I have been delighting in God and He has answered our prayers in ways I thought I could not imagine. Our faith is growing and we are both extremely amazed at how He has taken care of us despite the evil that is going on all around us in our country.
All day today I knew that this post would have something to do with the importance of our delighting in God for who He is, not just for the blessings, but primarily for how awesome it is to be known by Him and for us to know Him. I have been adopted by our Sovereign, Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Immutable God and He cares about me and takes personal care of me. Are you kidding? How is this possible? I deserve nothing but Hellfire, yet I am His adopted child with full inheritance rights as a son.
As I contemplated this I also contrasted this with those Christians who are paralyzed with fear and doubt because of a dismal outlook for our country. Also, there are those who are desperately trying to please God with their works. My joy remained, but my heart went out to all of them. O, if God’s people could have their bondage to their flesh broken and done away with! The spiritual blindness that goes with self-focused bondage to the flesh keeps them in the dark and ignorance of the incredible wealth of joy and peace awaiting those who become Spirit-led. We cannot earn God’s love because we already have it. The following study is from Psalm 37. I pray that all who read this will be blessed and drawn into the light of God.
1 Do not fret because of evildoers,
Be not envious toward wrongdoers.
2 For they will wither quickly like the grass
And fade like the green herb.
3 Trust in the Lord and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalms 37:1-4 (NASB)
God is calling all of His people to get their eyes, their focus if you will, off of the temporal and onto Him and the eternal. People who are not God’s people are the evildoers who are slaves to the world system and their flesh. They hate God and they do not understand our faith. Christians who are in bondage to their flesh are actually wearing self-forged chains that they took on in full cooperation with their flesh and pride. As they believed the lie that acts of the flesh would be more fulfilling than the joy of the Lord then acted by exposing their members to their sin nature, their chains of bondage were strengthened and their spiritual blindness deepened. What they are pursuing by their flesh is evil and will not last. It will fade like the grass. Some of those evildoers actively attack our faith and even attack those Christians who will not yield or compromise their faith.
Why would we want to partake of that which is bound for the fire? The Psalmist, King David, tells us in this passage that God’s people should not worry or fret over the evil people who attack them nor should they envy those evil people who seem to be glamorous, or rich, or dynamic, or popular. Instead we are to trust in the Lord and do good. This statement is often overlooked as we read this passage. The doing good is a many manifold set of acts by Spirit-led believers who delight in God, respond to everyone with joy and peace, and submit to everyone the Lord desires for us to submit to. This is doing good. Those who live like this will do good works and will stand out in the crowd that is populating this lost and dying world like a search light piercing the darkest dark imaginable. The more we walk in the spirit the more the desires of our hearts become molded unto Christlikeness. We desire what God desires. We love what He loves and hate what He hates. Will He not lavishly give good things to those who love Him and partake of His Son’s divine nature?
Several years ago, during my time of personal revival (January-August 2004), one weekend I drove my pickup all over the city doing some shopping with my wife. I drove so much that I needed gas. Later that afternoon, I had some more errands to run so I drove to a local gas station to fill up. I always pay at the pump when I can. I did that. When I finished fueling, the pump display told me that the printer had jammed and could not print me a receipt. I went inside and waited in line at the cash register. I was just standing there waiting my turn. When the person in front of me left I simply told the clerk that I needed a receipt for the pump I had used. She printed it out for me, handed it to me and I thanked her. Then the strangest thing happened. As I turned to walk out to my pickup I heard her say something that I did not understand. I stopped in my tracks, turned back to her and asked her pardon and asked her to repeat what she said. She said, “Have a blessed day.” I thanked her and left. I pondered this for awhile. I asked my pastor what he thought about it. He asked me if she was telling any others there that. She had not. He then told me that it was very obvious to him that God is very actively drawing people to Himself through those whom He has His hand on. He told me that God has His hand on me and that the woman behind the counter was responding to the joy she saw in me and the gentle kindness that went with it. I had to try really hard not to weep. Is this not the heart’s desire of those who know Jesus as Lord and Saviour? If we are truly walking through our days delighting in God won’t we also be reflecting Christ’s character to all with whom we interact? My brethren, this not something we can try to do or attempt on our own. I had no idea.
5 Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light
And your judgment as the noonday.
7 Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.
8 Cease from anger and forsake wrath;
Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.
9 For evildoers will be cut off,
But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land. Psalms 37:5-9 (NASB)
The Spirit-led believer is actively committing their ways to the Lord while trusting Him with their all. What happens when we draw near unto God? He draws near unto us. He changes us. He will cause us to begin to resemble our saviour in character and action. People will see it and notice it and be drawn to God by it. In return we are to be at peace with all around us. We are not to be constantly stirring things up. We are to be still and patiently wait for God to provide wisdom, discernment and provision. When we pray believing, He will answer. We are not to emulate those who are successful in the ways of the world. We are not to envy them or partake of their ways. When they say or do things that are intended to provoke us, we must not respond in kind. Instead, we are to simply turn the other cheek as we turn our hearts to the Lord. Vengeance is His, not ours. God’s Kingdom is coming. Our Lord is coming back. When He does, His reward is with Him. This is what His people should be awaiting by being alert and busy doing what He has commanded them to do.
10 Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more;
And you will look carefully for his place and he will not be there.
11 But the humble will inherit the land
And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.
12 The wicked plots against the righteous
And gnashes at him with his teeth.
13 The Lord laughs at him,
For He sees his day is coming. Psalms 37:10-13 (NASB)
Time is short folks. The days of rebellion are almost complete. When they are done, the Day of the Lord will come. It will be terrible for those who are not His, but those who do know Him and are known by Him, they are the meek who shall inherit the earth. They are the ones who delight themselves in God’s peace. The wicked hate God and all who are His. They want to do away with what they see as intolerable standards of Righteousness hanging over their lost and pitiful lives. They respond in such rage against the truth that it would be devastating except that our Omnipotent God simply laughs at them. All who are in Christ have nothing to fear from them. They may indeed persecute and even kill us, but the victory belongs to our Lord and no one can take away our inheritance.
14 The wicked have drawn the sword and bent their bow
To cast down the afflicted and the needy,
To slay those who are upright in conduct.
15 Their sword will enter their own heart,
And their bows will be broken.
16 Better is the little of the righteous
Than the abundance of many wicked.
17 For the arms of the wicked will be broken,
But the Lord sustains the righteous. Psalms 37:14-17 (NASB)
How can God’s people be destitute in what the world values and yet possess treasure that is more valuable than anything the world can offer? This treasure is eternal life and an abundant life in Christ by His Grace. The Lord upholds those who are His. He is the one upholding us. We are not upholding ourselves. What a blessing! To be fulfilled in and of Grace is to be full of Joy and Peace. The Joy of the Lord is our strength and without it we can do nothing. With it we can do works that Jesus said would be even greater than what He accomplished in His earthly ministry. We have an opportunity here and now my brethren. We are living in a wonderful time in which the Lord is placing His hand on those who desire only His glory to be used by Him to draw untold numbers of His people from darkness to light. O, to be used by Him for His glory! I can’t think of a better blessing than to see the light come on in people’s hearts because we are obedient to speak the truth to those whom God draws to Himself.
18 The Lord knows the days of the blameless,
And their inheritance will be forever.
19 They will not be ashamed in the time of evil,
And in the days of famine they will have abundance.
20 But the wicked will perish;
And the enemies of the Lord will be like the glory of the pastures,
They vanish—like smoke they vanish away.
21 The wicked borrows and does not pay back,
But the righteous is gracious and gives.
22 For those blessed by Him will inherit the land,
But those cursed by Him will be cut off. Psalms 37:18-22 (NASB)
Most of us will not ever be well known in the world, but God knows those who are His. He has promised a great eternal inheritance to them. We must seek wisdom from God and respond in it by not being temporally focused. That is what the lost and dying world is doing. We must be eternally focused because that is where our inheritance is. To do this, we must become Spirit-led.
23 The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.
24 When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong,
Because the Lord is the One who holds his hand.
25 I have been young and now I am old,
Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
Or his descendants begging bread.
26 All day long he is gracious and lends,
And his descendants are a blessing. Psalms 37:23-26 (NASB)
When we are Spirit-led we delight in God and His ways. The Spirit-led are not spiritually blind. God’s values are apparent to their hearts because there is no callous layer over their hearts. They see the way the Lord directs for them and go thereby. The Spirit-led will still sin and even struggle with obedience at times, but they will not fall away for the Lord upholds their hands. God’s patience with His children is truly amazing. We must never believe the lie that we have sinned too much to seek His face and repentance.
27 Depart from evil and do good,
So you will abide forever.
28 For the Lord loves justice
And does not forsake His godly ones;
They are preserved forever,
But the descendants of the wicked will be cut off.
29 The righteous will inherit the land
And dwell in it forever.
30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom,
And his tongue speaks justice.
31 The law of his God is in his heart;
His steps do not slip. Psalms 37:27-31 (NASB)
God’s people are the regenerate. They are new creations who can obey God. We are called to live lives of repentance. Even as we struggle with sin the promise of our perseverance (v28) is a blessing in itself. Those who are truly regenerate will be drawn into this life of repentance, while those who are not genuine will not. This is the fruit that we should look for in our hearts to see if we are in Christ or not. Do we love sin or do we hate it?
32 The wicked spies upon the righteous
And seeks to kill him.
33 The Lord will not leave him in his hand
Or let him be condemned when he is judged.
34 Wait for the Lord and keep His way,
And He will exalt you to inherit the land;
When the wicked are cut off, you will see it.
35 I have seen a wicked, violent man
Spreading himself like a luxuriant tree in its native soil.
36 Then he passed away, and lo, he was no more;
I sought for him, but he could not be found.
37 Mark the blameless man, and behold the upright;
For the man of peace will have a posterity.
38 But transgressors will be altogether destroyed;
The posterity of the wicked will be cut off.
39 But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;
He is their strength in time of trouble.
40 The Lord helps them and delivers them;
He delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
Because they take refuge in Him. Psalms 37:32-40 (NASB)
This Christian life is one of faith. This faith is a gift from God. Those who have it are His children. God will not lose one of His children. He delivers them from the hands of the wicked. God promises to deliver His children from the wicked. Does this also include deliverance from that horrible religious fanatic who lives in our hearts who draws us into all sorts of fleshly pursuits? I think God wants His children to learn to walk according to the Spirit. He wants us to be Spirit-filled. When we are, didn’t we become this way by seeking refuge in Him, drawing near unto Him, worshiping Him, praying to Him, reading His word, obeying Him, and submitting to everyone He desires for us to submit to?
There is not one thing in the world that God’s children need fear. That includes other people, other religions, governments, mobs, apostates, heretics, false prophets, NOTHING and NO ONE! Why? God will not forsake His Saints. Amen!
Soli Deo Gloria!