Psalm 37: Fret not Yourself Because of Evildoers

Peter Barnes: Psalm 37:1-11

(28 January 2018)


Calvin: ‘It is not easy to maintain peace of mind in this uncertain world, when we see evil men acquiring power and influence.’ This is a Psalm of David written in his old age – 37:25.

– it is almost an alphabetic Psalm (like Psalm 119). Alec Motyer suggested that Psalm 37 should be read in the one sitting.
1. Do not fret or fume.

– 37:1; ‘fret’ is apparently linked to the idea of burning or fuming. You may confess to a firm faith in Christ, but it is the unbeliever who gets promoted at work, the unbeliever who makes a million, who seems to have no troubles, who travels abroad for exotic holidays, whose family life seems to be a dream, who does not get cancer .

– 37:7-8. Fretting and anger – clamming up or blowing up – will raise your blood pressure, and will not do you any good. Basil of Caesarea:
It is a malady on the soul, a dark mist over the reason. It brings estrangement from God, forgetfulness of the ties of kindred, cause for strife, a full measure of disaster. It is a wicked demon coming to birth in our very souls, taking prize possession of our interior, like a shameless tenant, and barring entrance to the Holy Spirit.
2. Trust, be still and do good.
– 37:3-5. Trust – hence verse 5 was one of David Livingstone’s favourite verses.
– be still – 37:7; like Psalm 46:10.
– do good – read 37:3.
3. Look to the judgment.
Contrast 37:2, 9, 10 and 37:4-6, 9, 11. Matt.5:5. Augustine: ‘Peace will be your gold, peace will be your silver, peace will be your broad estates, peace your very life. Your God will be your peace.’
Paul Gerhardt’s hymn: No profit canst thou gain/ By self-consuming care;/ To Him commend thy cause, His ear/ Attends the softest prayer